NL's Funck storms into state quarterfinals
Northern Lebanon's 182-pounder is the lone county wrestler still alive for a state gold medal after the first day of the state tourney
HERSHEY – The dream of wrestling for a state championship was on the minds of eight Lebanon County wrestlers Thursday morning. But after day one of Class AA wrestling at Giant Center, only one of those wrestlers still has the dream of sweet victory in Chocolatetown - Northern Lebanon’s Luke Funck.
After having a bye in the preliminary round at 182 pounds, Funck defeated Meyersdale’s Christian Hutzell 8-3 to move on to the quarterfinals Friday morning. He also redeemed himself after going 0-2 in last year’s PIAA Tournament.
“It’s certainly better than last year. It’s nice to win one, but I want to keep winning,” Funck said. “It does take some pressure off. I just have to keep rolling.”
Funck (40-1) also continued his hot streak, already with a district and regional championship under his belt. But he just wants to continue to prove himself.
“I’ve been confident I can do pretty well here,” Funck said. “I’m just ready to show it on the mat.”
Funck will look to continue his quest for a state championship against Milton’s Gage Heller (33-10) in the quarterfinals Friday.
While Funck is alive in the championship bracket, three Lebanon County wrestlers still have a chance to place in the tournament.
The Vikings’ Quinn Blatt and Trevor Leonard are two of those, after winning their preliminary matches before losing in the first round at 170 and 132, respectively.
Blatt dominated Chestnut Ridge’s Brandyn Beaver in a 16-6 major decision for his win, which puts him into the second round of the consolation bracket Friday.
“I was a little nervous and he took me down right away, but once I got my three points I just worked through what I do, and I came out on top nicely,” Blatt said. “I just have to work like I’m still in it.”
Blatt’s loss in the first round came at the hands of Towanda’s Dayton Wickwire in a 15-7 major decision. Next he’ll face Reynolds' Joel Leise in the second round of consolations.
Trevor Leonard started the day with a 4-2 win over Mount Pleasant’s Mike Novak, denying Novak a late comeback attempt in the bout after Leonard jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
“I just went to work when I was on top with the lead,” Leonard said. “I knew I just needed another point or two to get the win and got it.”
Leonard’s first-round loss came rather quickly in a 15-0 technical fall in 2:08 by Brookville’s Taylor Ortz, who remains undefeated this season. Leonard will next face Jared McGill of Chestnut Ridge in the second round of consolations.
Josh Renninger, Annville-Cleona’s lone representative, at 138, is the third Lebanon County wrestler still alive in consolations, after losing his first round bout in a 4-2 decision to Wyalusing’s Creighton Edsell, Renninger escaped with an 11-9 decision over Joe Swank of Berlin-Brothersvalley, after jumping out to a 7-1 lead early in the bout.
“I just tried to stay on my feet,” Renninger said. “I just have to keep battling and look for third place now.”
Renninger will next take on Brockway’s Dustin Jamison in the second round of consolations.
Wrestling begins Friday at 9 a.m. with the quarterfinals and second and third rounds of consolations. If Funck makes the semifinals at 182, those will be at 7:30 Friday night.
CLASS AAA: Lebanon County also had one representative in the Class AAA portion of states, Cedar Crest's Jarell Howard-Griffin faced a tough customer in the first round and dropped a 13-3 major decision at the hands of North Allegheny's Jake Woodley.
Woodley was dominant on his feet, scoring four takedowns. Howard-Griffin was able to muster a trio of escapes.
In the second round of consolations Friday afternoon, Howard-Griffin (25-4) will face Nick Bonomo of Quakertown.
At Giant Center
120 — Sam Sallot, Haborcreek, md Colin Leonard, Northern Lebanon, 15-5.
132 - Trevor Leonard, Northern Lebanon, d Mike Novak, Mount Pleasant, 4-2.
160 - Cody Jenkins, South Allegheny, d Luis Negreiros, Northern Lebanon, 3-2 TB2
170 - Quinn Blatt, Northern Lebanon, md Brandyn Beaver, Chestnut Ridge, 16-6.
220 - Rasaun Culberson, South Fayette, tf Matt Vines, Northern Lebanon, 16-1, 3:52
285 - Joe Kazalas, Keystone Oaks, p George Thompson, Northern Lebanon, 3:25
132 – Taylor Ortz (Brookville) tf Trevor Lenoard (NL), 15-0, 2:08.
138 – Creighton Edsell (Wyalusing) d Josh Renninger (Annville-Cleona), 4-2.
170 – Dayton Wickwire (Towanda) md Quinn Blatt (NL), 15-7.
182 – Luke Funck (NL) d Christian Hutzell (Meyersdale), 8-3.
120 – Tyler Griffiths (Southmoreland) d Colin Leonard (NL), 7-4.
138 – Josh Renninger (A-C) d Joe Swank (Berlin-Bros.), 11-9.
160 – Mac Tanner (Port Allegheny) d Luis Negreiros (NL), 5-4.
220 – Cole Rickert (Reynolds) d Matt Vines (NL), 7-4.
285 – Nick Winfield (So. Huntingdon) d George Thompson (NL), 7-4.