TUNKHANNOCK — Western Wayne turned in another stellar performance this past weekend, battling to a third place finish at the Tunkhannock Kiwanis Tournament.
Led by gold medalist Lucas Karnick, the Wildcats piled up 153 points to finish in a dead heat with an up and coming Scranton squad.
"I really thought we had a legitimate shot at winning the whole thing this year," said Coach Dante Terenzio.
"So, third place is a little bit disappointing. But, the competition was very good and we had several kids who really stepped up. Overall I'm pretty pleased with the effort."
Pocono Mountain East emerged as the overall team champion with 206 points, while Wyalusing finished a close second at 191.
Atop the Dais
On a team packed with talented wrestlers, Karnick is quietly putting together an sparkling campaign.
A senior who also excels on the baseball diamond, Lucas dominated his weight class at Tunkhannock. He went 4-0 with three pins en route to the title.
"Lucas isn't the strongest kid in the world, but he's a very smart, very technical wrestler," Coach Terenzio said. "Lucas is very fast and quick on his feet, which is a big bonus at 160."
Karnick opened his gold medal quest with a first period pin of Valley View's Frank Swaha (1:46).
He followed that up with a lightning-quick clamp of Wyalusing's Jake Minturn in the quarters (:46), then punched his ticket to the title tilt by putting away Maurice Wood of Greater Nanticoke Area (3:34).
Karnick squared off with GAR's Jamaar Taylor in the gold medal match and came away with a grueling 5-3 decision. Lucas now sports a 9-2 record on the year.
Page 2 of 3 - In addition to Karnick, Western Wayne sent several other wrestlers to the dais to receive individual medals.
At the top of that list were Morgan Fuller (138), Manny Mirailh (145) and Conner Rosensweet (195).
Fuller entered the tourney as a #4 seed and faced one talented opponent after another in a brutal draw.
Morgan kicked things off with a pin of North Penn's Devin Remley (2:43). He then ran headlong into Josh Sayre of Lake Lehman, one of the region's top-ranked grapplers.
Fuller quickly went on the offensive and eventually emerged with a hard-fought 4-2 decision. His reward for this milestone win? A match-up with undefeated #1 seed Zach Edwards of Blue Ridge.
To his immense credit, Fuller never blinked and hammered out a signature 3-0 shutout of Edwards.
"Morgan is a very calm, well-balanced wrestler," said Coach Terenzio.
"One of the things I like best about him is how cool and calm he is on the mat. Morgan is very tough to score on and he just took it right to that kid."
Fuller fell in the finals, but still earned a silver medal and is now 9-2.
Mirailh continues to impress this year, winning bouts any way he can and, in so doing, earning high marks from teammates and opponents alike.
At the Kiwanis, Manny drew an opening round bye, then dealt Jordan Kloiber of Pocono Mountain East a 3-1 loss in the quarters.
Mirailh then faced a real challenge in Tunkhannock's undefeated freshman phenom, Dalton Ray, in the semifinals. This bout turned into one of the tourney's most entertaining and ended with Manny claiming a wild 14-11 decision.
"Getting into a shootout with Manny isn't usually a very good idea," said Coach Terenzio with a laugh. "He's going to win most of those because he's just so strong and quick on his feet."
Page 3 of 3 - In the finals, Mirailh suffered a heartbreaking 4-1 loss to Scranton's Kazim Bakhriyev in double OT. Neverthless, Manny upped his overall record to 8-2 and took home silver.
Rosensweet was favored to make another appearance in the finals at 195 and did not disappoint.
Conner drew an opening round bye, then needed just :43 to pin Coughlin's Jalel Monroe. He sealed the deal on his place in the gold medal match by clamping Tunkhannock's Andrew Muckin at the 2:08 mark.
Rosensweet then gave Valley View's Troy Uhrin all he could handle, but came out on the short end of a 7-5 decision in OT.
"I really expected that Conner was going to win the whole thing, but we're definitely pleased that he advanced to the first Kiwanis final of his high school career," said Coach Terenzio.
Top to Bottom
Beau Fuller didn't make it to the finals, but still left Tunkhannock with his head held high.
Western Wayne's senior 152-pounder went 4-1 for the weekend, earning a 3rd place finish by dealing Valley View's Michael Cipilewski a 3-2 loss in the consolation final.
Other Wildcats who also copped a spot on the medals stand included: Ron Mrsich (4th, 106); Austin Swoyer (5th, 220); Brett Toth 97th, 113); Brandon Hadden (7th, 170); Marod Dobrzyn (8th, 120).