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Five Middletown Area High School wrestlers will head to regionals

Posted 2/28/18

The Middletown Area High School wrestling team had another strong performance at the PIAA District III Championships at the Giant Center on Feb. 23-24, sending five of seven wrestlers to the PIAA …

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Five Middletown Area High School wrestlers will head to regionals

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The Middletown Area High School wrestling team had another strong performance at the PIAA District III Championships at the Giant Center on Feb. 23-24, sending five of seven wrestlers to the PIAA Southeast Regional Championship.

In the team standings, Middletown finished eighth place out of the 32 teams in District III AA competition.

The regional championship tournament will be held at Wilson High School on March 2-3, starting at 5:15 p.m. March 2.

The first day of district competition did not start well for the Raiders as promising sophomore 138-pounder Joey Spear was on the receiving end of an illegal slam that sent him to the hospital by ambulance. Although cleared by the medical staff of any serious injury to his neck, his tournament and hopes of advancing to regionals came to an abrupt end.

Junior Ryan Berstler kickstarted the Raider squad with an impressive third-place performance at 120 pounds. Berstler’s only loss of the tournament came at the hands of 2017 AA state runner-up Chase Shields of Bishop McDevitt.

Berstler faced a string of tough competitors and kept finding a way to come out on top. In the first round, Berstler was locked up in a 0-0 contest with Landon West of Bermudian Springs, going into overtime where he scored a quick takedown and the win. After dropping the match to Shields, Berstler squared off against Josh Tuckey of Biglerville, a match in which Berstler was able to score a hotly contested escape with 1 second on the clock to seize the win.

In the consolation finals match, Berstler held off a late flurry from Anthony Gust of Wyomissing to earn third place. Berstler will bring a 31-7 season record into the regionals.

Sophomore Luke Fegley had a good tournament, earning a fourth-place finish at 106 pounds. Fegley looked dominant against most of his district competition, pinning Xander Heim of Camp Hill in 1:17, Parker Davidson of Hamburg in 2:39 and Matthew Inman of Annville-Cleona in 3:27.

Fegley got redemption in a consolation semifinal, earning a 3-2 victory over Brandon Breidegan of Northern Lebanon, who defeated him in the sectional tournament a week prior.

Fegley's two losses in the tournament came at the hands of Bailey Gimbor of Brandywine Heights, by a 3-2 decision and a 4-2 overtime decision. He will carry a 30-8 record into the regional tournament, with five of those season losses coming from Gimbor.

Junior Nathan Brady navigated a tough 126-pound bracket to earn a fourth-place finish and punch his ticket to regionals. Brady started the tournament with two quality wins, defeating Klint Harpel of Brandywine Heights by a 6-2 decision and Eli Tuckey of Biglerville by a 4-1 decision.

In the semifinals, Brady faced off against Boiling Springs standout Collin Nester, who was hot off an upset victory over undefeated Bronson Garber of Upper Dauphin. Despite a gutsy performance, Brady could not fend off Nester’s attack and dropped a 7-1 decision.

In the consolation semis, Brady went on the attack, scoring four takedowns, to earn a 9-3 decision over Shane Strausser of Hamburg, before dropping the consolation finals to Bronson Garber. Brady is 24-9 heading into the regionals.

Senior Devin Martin wasted no time getting the action started in a loaded 145-pound bracket, scoring a 20-5 technical fall over Camp Hill’s Gus LaTorre. In his quarterfinal match, Martin came back from an early 2-0 deficit with a takedown and a series of near-falls to earn a 9-4 decision over Trenton Harder of Bermudian Springs.

Martin then found himself on the losing side of a semifinal showdown with undefeated (33-0) Gabe Miller of Pequea Valley. Martin dropped another 5-2 decision to Michael Capozzoli of Newport before sealing a fifth-place finish with a 5-2 rematch over Bermudian’s Trenton Harder. Martin will carry a 23-11 record into the regional tournament.

Sophomore Zach Malay continues a good postseason run for the Raiders at 113 pounds. Malay responded well after an initial loss to Devan Blose of Newport by earning two straight victories and guaranteeing himself a spot at regionals.

Malay showed his skill in the top position, scoring three near-falls in a 12-9 decision over Jake Sharadin of Kutztown. Malay showed improvement with a 6-5 decision in a rematch with Andrew Stafford of Boiling Springs, who had defeated him a week prior. Although Malay dropped his last two matches, he earned a sixth-place finish and looks ready to make a statement in the regional tournament.

Sophomore Quincy Reinnagel’s season came to an end Friday evening as he lost his first two matches in the 220-pound bracket. Reinnagel is one of several young upper weights who likely will make an impact for the Raider squad in the 2018-19 season.