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Blue Raider wrestlers fall short of qualifying for state tournament

Posted 3/8/17

Middletown wrestlers Devin Martin and Ryan Berstler competed in the Southeast Region AA Championships at Wilson High School in Reading on March 3-4 but failed to advance to states.

Martin is a …

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Blue Raider wrestlers fall short of qualifying for state tournament

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Middletown wrestlers Devin Martin and Ryan Berstler competed in the Southeast Region AA Championships at Wilson High School in Reading on March 3-4 but failed to advance to states.

Martin is a junior who wrestled in the 138-pound class. Berstler is a sophomore who wrestled at 113 pounds.

“Every day I am able to see their commitment to the sport and their team, and their strong work ethic in the practice room, so I was not surprised by the success,” head wrestling coach Daniel Riggs told the Press & Journal via email about Martin and Berstler. “I hope they are able to build upon their success from this season and reach the state tournament next year, and hopefully place.”

Riggs said his squad fell short of the team goal of making it to team districts, but he still considers the season a success because they improved in the win column (from 4-11 last year to 10-6 overall record this year).

In the regionals, Martin lost 10-8 to Mario Gordon from Notre Dame-Green Pond but then won his next consolation match 13-6 against Max Schultz from Faith Christian Academy.

He fell short of placing after a 4-3 loss to Angelo Mahaffey from Saucon Valley.

Berstler lost 3-2 to Richie Markulics from Notre Dame-Green Pond.

He then lost to Newport’s Dorian Gonzalez to end his run toward reaching states.

Along with having six wrestlers qualify for the district tournament, Riggs said his top memory of the season was the team’s first home wrestling meet at the new high school, on its new competition mat, against East Pennsboro.

“We wanted to establish a positive and competitive atmosphere in our new gymnasium. We were down 31-0, but the team dug deep and battled to the very end, and we were able to come back and win. You could see us come together as a team,” Riggs said.

He said the program has a bright future, with only three of the 18 wrestlers on the roster graduating.

“All six district qualifiers are also returning. I think the taste of success we experienced this year will motivate the veterans and the new team members to step it up next season,” Riggs said.

With Martin and Berstler, the other four Blue Raiders who wrestled in the District 3 AA Championship tournament were junior Tariq Potter, sophomore Nathan Brady, and freshmen Luke Fegley and Joey Spear.

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