HERSHEY – He already got one monkey off his back – that was simply winning a bout on the big stage of the PIAA Tournament after going 0-2 last year. Then he found himself only two wins away from completing the tri-fecta of a district, regional and state championship – but unfortunately, a great run by Northern Lebanon’s Luke Funck came to an end.
After winning his quarterfinal bout earlier in the day at 182, Funck dropped a 5-2 decision to South Park’s Greg Bulsak Friday night at Giant Center in the PIAA Class AA Tournament.
Funck certainly had his work cut out for him, facing the returning champion from 170, and who also brought in a 42-1 record into the bout. Funck did bring in a 40-1 record himself, however.
Funck fell behind early 2-0 after a reversal by Bulsak with 0:54 left in the first period. Then with 1:15 to go in the bout, Bulsak took a 5-0 lead to pull away, despite a late reversal by Funck.
“He took me down in a split second and I couldn’t move on the bottom,” Funck said. “I was called for stalling but I was trying to get up and I just couldn’t.”
Despite the tough loss, Funck will wrestle for third place at 182 Saturday, after coming back to beat Meyersdale’s Christian Hutzell by a 6-3 decision. Funck will face Franklin’s Dakota Geer for the right to claim third place, but again, Funck will be going up against a returning champion from last year. Geer had also been undefeated this season until losing in the 182 semi-finals and is now 40-1. Funck will carry a 41-2 record into Saturday’s third place matchup with Geer.
And Funck is certainly still hungry to climb the ladder and still get higher up on the podium.
“I was glad to get to this point, but the time to be happy is over,” Funck said. “It’s time to get third now.”
Funck also will make a little bit of history no matter where he finishes in the tournament, as he will become the first Lebanon County wrestler to medal in the PIAA Tournament since ELCO’s David Ziegler in 2007.
Funck earned his way to the semifinals after pulling off yet another pin, this time against Milton’s Gage Heller in 3:15 in the 182 quarterfinals. Funck preceded that victory with an 8-3 decision in Thursday’s first round at 182.
But regardless of what happens the rest of the tournament, Funck knows one thing he has to do in order to see his ultimate goal become a reality heading into his senior season next year.
“I just have to keep working hard all through summer,” Funck said. “I just have to keep doing it in the room and get back to where I was before but win it.”
Funck’s success was the only luck of the day for Lebanon County wrestling, as the remaining three wrestlers were eliminated in consolations Friday morning.
A-C’s Josh Renninger was eliminated after dropping a 4-0 decision to Justin McCoy of Chestnut Ridge. Renninger had earned his way into the third round with a 6-4 decision over Dustin Jamison of Brockway. Renninger jumped out to a 6-0 heading into the third round before a comeback attempt from Jamison fell just short.
“I just thought I could take him with my feet,” Renninger said. “Then I just could get out from under his legs. I couldn’t do anything. I shouldn’t have taken anything easy.”
NL’s Trevor Leonard and Quinn Blatt were eliminated in the second round of consolations. Leonard dropped a 6-4 decision to Jared McGill of Chestnut Ridge at 132, while Blatt was pinned by Reynold’s Joel Leise in 4:19 at 170. Leonard finishes an impressive freshman season with a 44-10 record, and Blatt finishes his Vikings’ career with a 41-11 record.
At Giant Center
182 – Luke Funck (NL) pins Gage Heller (Milton), 3:15.
182 – Greg Bulsak (South Park) dec. Luke Funck (NL), 5-2.
132 – Jared McGill (Chestnut Ridge) dec. Trevor Leonard (NL), 6-4.
138 – Josh Renninger (A-C) dec. Dustin Jamison (Brockway), 6-3.
170 – Joel Leise (Reynolds) pins Quinn Blatt (NL), 4:19.
138 – Justin McCoy (Chestnut Ridge) dec. Josh Renninger (A-C), 4-0.
182 – Luke Funck (NL) dec. Christian Hutzell (Meyersdale), 6-3.