Western Wayne is sending five wrestlers to Northeast Regionals this weekend after finishing third as a team at districts.
As Dante Terenzio has stated since Day One of the 2103-14 season, the ultimate goal is getting as many wrestlers through to states as possible
This past weekend at the District 2 Meet in Wilkes Barre, Western Wayne lived up to its potential, sending 11 grapplers to the podium and advancing five to regionals ... just one step from a trip to Hershey.
In so doing, the Wildcats nearly captured yet another team title in the process, finishing third overall, only three points behind Class AA champ Lake Lehman.
“It's kind of bittersweet because we were so close to winning the whole thing, but overall I'm very pleased with how we did,” Coach Terenzio said.
Morgan Fuller and Austin Swoyer led the way.
Fuller continued his brilliant varsity career by winning a first-ever district title with a dominant performance in the 138-pound bracket.
Swoyer was every bit as impressive, steamrolling everyone in his path en route to the 195-pound crown.
In addition to these two champions, Western Wayne also sends George Mrsich (106), Brett Toth (120) and Cory Franc (152) to the Northeast Regional tourney.
This year's edition of the event will be hosted by Williamsport Area Friday and Saturday.
Fuller earned the #1 seed and a pair of byes at the district tournament.
Morgan then needed just :43 to pin Brandon Swift of Montrose in the semis.
Although Tyler Patronick of Wilkes Barre Meyers put up a valiant effort, Fuller pitched a 4-0 shutout to earn his gold medal.
“Morgan is absolutely the most consistent wrestler I've ever worked with,” Coach Terenzio said. “I think that he has an excellent shot at making it all the way to states.”
Swoyer simply brutalized each opponent he faced at the Kingston Armory this weekend.
Austin received an opening round bye, then clamped Nanticoke's Blake Balderamma (2:38) and Kaine Rimmer of Hanover Area (1:47) en route to the finals.
There, Swoyer shredded Lake Lehman's Phil Hettes, eventually forcing an injury default after piling up a double digit lead through two periods.
“Austin is hungry,” said Coach Terenzio. “He was very fired up going out there for the finals and just manhandled that kid.”
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the weekend was Mrsich's performance.
A freshman who entered the fray with a sub-.500 record, George battled his way to a 3-1 record and a bronze medal at 106.
Mrsich was only seeded fifth, but recorded three consecutive pins to book his trip to regionals.
“I'm very happy for him,” Coach Terenzio said.
“George is a great kid and now he's proven himself on the mat. Getting to regionals as a freshman is a huge accomplishment.”
Franc was a something of a revelation at 152.
Cory headed into districts with just a 9-21 record, but warranted a #3 seed due to all the prestige points he'd piled up by wrestling top-flight competition.
So, it wasn't exactly a shock to his mentor when Franc fought his way to a third place finish.
“It was awesome to see Cory wrestle this well on the big stage,” Coach Terenzio said. “He's faced some real studs and just gotten better and better as the season went on.”
Toth opened his quest for a district medal by pinning Daniel Semanek of Meyers in the first period. However, he then suffered a loss in the semis and was relegated to the consolation bracket.
Once there, though, Toth posted back-to-back wins to capture a bronze medal.
“Brett did a great job,” said Coach Terenzio. “He's peaking at the perfect time. Brett is still just a junior, so this experience will really help him next year during his senior season.”
Over & Out
Thanks to the hard work of six more wrestlers, the 'Cats very nearly overtook both Lake Lehman and Meyers to cop the crown.
The Black Knights piled up 161 points and the Mohawks copped 159.
Western Wayne finished with 158.
Fourth place medals were earned by Harrison Clookey (132), Josh Brown (145), Tanner Gillette (195) and Dakota Swoyer (220).
Ronnie Mrsich posted a pair of wins at 113 to wind up fifth, while Joe Tomasetti battled his way to sixth at 170.