Vikings send 4 wrestlers into regional semifinals
WEST LAWN – Northern Lebanon's successful wrestling season kept on going through the opening day of the PIAA Class 2A Southeastern Regional at Wilson High School on Friday night.
Of the nine Vikings who qualified for regionals, four advanced into Saturday's semifinals. Perhaps just as importantly, the other five remained alive to wrestle back for state berths.
Kyler Anspach's advancement into the semifinals came about in a surprising way. Though the brackets will show only that he had two pins, a fall in 3:20 over Collen Malone of Lower Moreland in the first round and a pin in 2:59 over Elijah Bundro of Wilson Area in the quarters, it was how that second pin came about that was interesting.
Anspach (40-13) had an early lead on Bundro (31-2), the District 11 champion, after a reversal and three nearfall points put him up 5-2. But Bundro started to gain momentum with a reversal at the end of the first and another at the beginning of the second. A couple back points had him up 8-5, and Anspach never escaped.
He didn't have to. Anspach positioned himself so Bundro's shoulders fell flat to the mat, and Anspach got the fall from a defensive position.
“I felt it coming,” Anspach said of the seconds before he was able to turn the decision around in his bout. “I was just pressuring into him.”
Trevor Leonard also had a dramatic quarterfinal win at 132. Trailing Kristian Courtney of Faith Christian 7-0 after two periods, Leonard (41-12) scored his first point when Courtney (35-7), the District 1 champ, was penalized for stalling. After Leonard turned a reversal, Courtney was called for three more stalling points to make it 7-6. Then Leonard finally got Courtney tilted for back points and likely was going to earn a comeback win by decision, but instead earned a pin with seven seconds left in the bout.
“We he got the first five points, I knew I had screwed up,” Leonard said. “At the start of the second period, I started to get myself angry, and that was when I started coming back.”
Leonard won by a 16-0 tech fall over Colin Rex of Northwestern Lehigh in the first round.
Zach Kelly (40-8) and Luke Funck (44-3) also earned their way into the semifinals, though with less drama than Anspach and Leonard.
Kelly had a first-round bye, the privilege of having won the 138-pound weight class at the District 3 meet. Then he pinned Dillon Kintzel (27-12) of Pine Grove in 55 seconds in the quarterfinals.
Funck, who also had a bye earned with his district gold medal, won his 182 quarterfinal almost as quickly as Kelly, pinning Carson Rittenbaugh (36-7) of Pine Grove in 1:09.
All the semifinalists have already qualified for states. Those in the consolation brackets can still grab one of the six state berths, but would need at least two wins Saturday to make it.
Kyle Sonnen lost his opening match in 285 to Trey Polak of Saucon Valley via a pin at 3:55. However, he will still be in the second round of consolations that open Saturday's action due to a consolation opening round bye.
Luis Negreiros won his first round match in the 160 bracket with a pin at 5:14 against Shane Carter of Church Farm, but lost 10-1 to Brian Shermeyer of Delone Catholic in the quarterfinals to drop into the consolation bracket.
At 220, Hunter Wallace opened with a pin in just 42 seconds against Justin Reed of Faith Christian. In the quarterfinals, he was defeated by Benjamin Nosal of Catasaqua 7-4.
Colin Leonard will be in the 120 consolations, having won his first round match with an 18-2 tech fall against Kevin Case of Springfield, but losing 11-4 to to Josh Jones of Saucon Valley in the quarterfinals.
Also in the 120 consolation bracket is the only Lebanon County wrestler not wearing a Northern Lebanon singlet: Elco's Alex Puglio. He fell in the first round via pin to Baily Wehr of Northwestern Lehigh in 3:44, but got a pin of his own in 2:29 against Joe Alecia of Bishop McDevitt (Philadelphia) in the first consolation round.