WEST LAWN – Six Lebanon County wrestlers began day two of the PIAA Class AA Southeastern Regionals at Wilson High School in championship contention. But after a rough semifinal round, only one ended up having a shot at a regional championship.
That wrestler was Northern Lebanon’s Luke Funck at 182 pounds, and he took full advantage of the opportunity against Jarred Mooney of Palmerton.
Already up 4-1 in the second period, Funck finished the bout early with a pin of Mooney in 2:18.
“I just stayed with what I know and what I do best,” Funck said. “From neutral I was dominating and just did my moves on top and ended it with a pin.”
Funck stayed hot after winning the District 3 championship at 182 last week by a pin just 0:46 into that bout. Funck is looking to continue to ride that momentum into next week’s state tournament, where he hasn’t forgotten about last year’s outcome, when he was 0-2.
“Winning districts was a huge milestone for myself. Now, just winning regionals was icing on the cake,” he said. “I can’t wait for states. I’m ready to redeem myself like I’ve been saying all year.”
Despite having only one wrestler in the finals, four Lebanon County wrestlers did have the chance for a third-place finish, while three had a shot at a fifth-place finish.
Of the four wrestlers going for third place, only Annville-Cleona’s lone representative, Josh Renninger, was successful, winning his bout in the waning seconds. Down 1-0 with 14 seconds left, Renninger earned match-deciding takedown to get the 2-1 decision over Matt Schmall of Northern Lehigh.
“I just pushed the pace real hard to try and get that takedown and eventually got it,” Renninger said. “I wanted to wrestle with the same intensity.”
And as Renninger preps for states, his approach is quite simple.
“I've got to work harder,” he said.
Northern Lebanon had three wrestlers finish fourth. Trevor Leonard (132) was pinned by Tri-Valley’s Sammy Hepler in 4:28; at 160, Luis Negreiros also finished fourth after falling 5-2 to Saucon Valley’s Dylan Yonney, marking the second time Negreiros lost to Yonney in the tournament; and Quinn Blatt (170) was edged 6-5 by Bermudian Springs’ Noah Fleshman.
Of the three Vikings' wrestlers who had a chance for a fifth place finish, two of them earned it.
The first was NL’s Matt Vines at 220, with a 6-1 decision over Notre Dame Green Pond’s Julian Wismer. The other was NL’s George Thompson with a 10-6 decision over Ian Minnich of Williams Valley.
Rounding out the rest of the day for NL, Colin Leonard lost his fifth-place bout at 120 to Pequea Valley’s Tanner Ball, 7-5.
Despite only three wins on the day for the Vikings, they did finish third in the team standings with 115.5 points.
But no matter the results from Saturday, every Lebanon County wrestler who made it this far – the top 6 of their respective weight classes – are heading to Hershey next week for the state tournament, starting Thursday morning.
PIAA Class AA SE Regional
At Wilson HS
182 – Luke Funck (NL) p Jarred Mooney (Palmerton), 2:18.
For Third Place
132 – Sammy Hepler (Tri Valley) p Trevor Leonard (NL), 4:28; 138 – Josh Renninger (A-C) d Matt Schmall (No. Lehigh), 2-1; 160 – Dylan Yonney (Saucon Valley) d Luis Negreiros (NL), 5-2; 170 – Noah Fleshman (Bermudian Springs) d Quinn Blatt (NL), 6-5.
120 – Tanner Ball (Pequea Valley) d Colin Leonard (NL), 7-5; 220 – Matt Vines (NL) d Julian Wismer (Notre Dame Green Pond), 6-1; 285 – George Thompson (NL) d Ian Minnich (Williams Valley), 10-6.