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3 Northern Lebanon wrestlers reach District 3 2A finals

HERSHEY – Northern Lebanon had a good start to the District 3 Class 2A wrestling championships Friday night before any Viking even wrestled.

Their head coach, Rusty Wallace, was honored with the District 3 Class 2A Coach of the Year award after leading the Vikings to the state finals in the team tournament.

Then Trevor Leonard, Zach Kelly and Luke Funck continued Northern Lebanon's success at Giant Center by winning semifinal contests. Five other Vikings also assured themselves of trips to the PIAA Southeast Regionals next week.

Leonard won his semifinal in the 132-pound weight class with a pin in 40 seconds against Trenton Harder of Bermudian Springs. He earned the fall after Harder got an early advantage and put Leonard on the mat, but Leonard quickly reversed for a pin and his 39th win of the year.

“I wanted to be aggressive before we was,” Leonard said. “He attacked me, obviously, but I got out of it. At first I thought I'd have to bail out. But then I got to where I could tip him over.”

Funck had a pin in his 182 semi as well, taking down Hamburg's Reese Mason in 47 seconds. On a restart, Funck made a quick dive for a takedown and a quick fall.

Kelly's win took more time but was nearly as dominant; he defeated Schuylkill Valley's Jack Bennett at 138 by a 13-3 score. Though he never got the fall, Kelly got stronger as the match went on, earning seven nearfall points in the third period.

“You expect to make it to finals every tournament you go to,” Kelly said after his 38th win of the season. “It doesn't always work out, but you always give yourself that extra incentive.”

In Saturday morning's finals, back at Giant Center, Leonard will face Gabe Miller of Pequea Valley, Funck will take on Devin Evans of Susquehanna Twp., and Kelly will battle against Devin Martin of Middletown.

Three other Vikings lost semifinal matches, though all of them had already qualified for the regionals with quarterfinal wins earlier in the day.

Both Kyler Anspach and Colin Leonard, at 106 and 120 respectively, lost rematches in the semis. Anspach lost 14-5 to Nate Smith of Bishop McDevitt, having lost to him 16-3 in the state team semifinals two weeks ago. Leonard dropped a 9-4 decision to Bronson Garber of Upper Dauphin, having lost to him 7-5 in the District 3 team tourney third-place match.

But Anspach and Leonard also shared success in the consolation semifinals later in the evening. Anspach beat Korey Smith of Bermudian Springs 11-4, and Leonard downed Eli Tuckey of Biglerville 10-1. Both will wrestle in third place matches on Friday.

The other semifinalist for Northern Lebanon was Kyle Sonnen. He was pinned in 4:30 by Michael Hubble of Brandywine Heights. Hubble held a 7-0 lead at the time. In the consolation semifinals he was pinned again by Bryce Perkins of Delone Catholic in 3:45. Sonnen will be in the fifth place match.

Hunter Wallace and Ethan Herb also qualified for the regionals for Northern Lebanon, doing it the hard way by starting the Friday evening session in the consolation bracket.

Wallace defeated Joe Coblentz of Pequea Vallley 8-3 in the first consolation match, then beat Dorian Steele of Bermudian Springs 13-5 in the consolation semifinals to earn a spot in the third-place match.

Herb picked up a forfeit win in his first consolation match. Tyler Fisher of Kutztown beat Herb 9-3 in the consolation semifinal to put Herb into the fifth-place match.

After losses in the earlier consolation rounds, Brandon Breidegan (113), Luis Negrerios (160) and Maxx Emborsky (195) of Northern Lebanon, Alex Puglio (120) of Elco and Hayden Funck (126) of Annville-Cleona will be in seventh-place matches Saturday morning, but are out of the running for advancement to regionals.