Funck, Northern Lebanon take regional titles
WEST LAWN – Northern Lebanon won the PIAA Class 2A Southeastern Regional wrestling team title with 125 points on Saturday, putting one champion and three runner ups on the medal stand along the way.
Luke Funck was the only one of the four Northern Lebanon wrestlers in the finals to win a gold medal. Funck, the District 3 champion in 182, defeated District 11 champion Jared Mooney of Palmerton 11-4.
Funck (46-3) scored the first takedown of the match one minute into the bout. Mooney (32-0) escaped soon after to get a point, but this would be the trend throughout the six minutes: Funck getting multiple points on takedowns, Mooney getting single points on escapes.
“[Mooney] tried to take away some of our bread and butter moves,” Northern Lebanon head coach Rusty Wallace said. “It was good to see [Funck] score in some other ways.”
With a 7-3 lead after two periods, Funck registered two more takedowns in the last period and showed no signs of slowing down.
His other two wins at the regional tournament were by pinfall.
“I'm always looking for falls, because that's the easiest way out of a match,” Funck said. “But if it's not there, I just look for takedowns.”
Funck did pin Mooney in last year's regional final.
“Last year, I wrestled the same kid in finals, so I knew what he was going to do,” Funck said. “It had its advantages and disadvantages. You know what he is going to do, but he knows that about you too.”
District 11 champion Sammy Hepler of Tri-Valley led throughout the 138 final against Zach Kelly.
Both wrestlers fought for position in the opening minute before Hepler (31-1) finally got on the scoreboard with a takedown with 55 seconds left in the first period. Hepler increased his lead with an escape and a takedown for a 5-0 advantage early in the second period. Kelly (41-9) would get on the scoreboard with three escapes but never recorded a takedown of his own.
Trevor Leonard put a scare into 132 favorite Gabe Miller of Pequea Valley before dropping an 11-5 decision in the finals.
Leonard (42-13) scored the first four points of the match, recording a takedown midway through the first and adding two near fall points soon after. Miller (40-0) scored on an escape late in the first, then got another escape with a takedown and near fall points to take a 6-4 lead after two periods.
The third period began with Leonard being allowed to escape by Miller, but Miller did not allow Leonard anything else over the last two minutes. He picked up a takedown and three near fall points to put the bout away.
Miller had also beaten Leonard 12-7 in the District 3 finals, and on three other occasions this season.
Nate Smith of Bishop McDevitt continued to be a difficult matchup for Kyler Anspach, as the Crusader freshman beat Anspach 16-4 in the 106 championship match. Smith had also beaten Anspach head-to-head in the PIAA team semifinals and the District 3 individual semifinals.
Smith (39-5) had six take downs, including one each in the late moments of each period. His take down with five seconds left in the first period, followed by two near fall points as the clock expired, put Anspach (41-14) down 8-2.
Colin Leonard and Hunter Wallace became the fifth and sixth Northern Lebanon wrestlers to qualify for states by winning consolations matches earlier in the day.
Leonard finished in fifth place in the 120 bracket with a 13-2 win over Isaiah Bryner of Newport in the fifth-place match.
Wallace took an injury default before his fifth place match in 220 began.
The PIAA Championships start on Thursday at Giant Center. The first Class 2A matches will be at 9 a.m.