Hawks win NE Regional title
Ryan Zeiner paced back and forth in the hallways of Memorial Gymnasium Saturday night after winning the 152-pound Northeast Regional title over Scranton’s Jacob Burgette 5-4.
A bystander walked by and offered, “Congrats champ.”
The word champion is something Zeiner always wanted for himself, but one that was never guaranteed. After leaving districts a year ago without placing, Zeiner is now heading to Hershey, as a regional champion.
Four Golden Hawks won titles Saturday evening, as Ryan Anderson (126), Mikey Labriola (170) and Niko Camacho (HWT) each struck gold, but Zeiner’s rise to champion is certainly the most telling one of the group.
“It’s still really just unbelievable to me,” said Zeiner. “I never thought I’d be out there. Last year, I really wasn’t good at all, didn’t even make it out of the first day of districts. It’s amazing that I’m here. I’ve always been one of the lesser talented guys in this program and it’s just awesome to finally win something.”
The Hawks performance over the weekend couldn’t have been much better, as Becahi advanced all 10 wrestlers to states to pull ahead of Nazareth in the team standings by a 202.5 to 184 margin for the regional team crown.
Anderson was also a newbie on top of regional podium, after he couldn’t wrestle in the postseason last year after failing to make weight at districts as a freshman. He certainly didn’t let his opportunity for a ticket to Hershey slip by him, as he knocked off Blue Mountain’s Josh Mason by a 3-0 score in the 126-pound final.
“This definitely feels better than last year,” said Anderson. “I even bumped up a weight class to make weight. I’m still getting used to wrestling at 126, but it let’s me eat more. Last week I just didn’t feel the same at districts. I don’t know what was wrong with me, but I definitely felt better this week.”
Labriola might have had a little scare in his 170-pound championship against Dallas’ Xavier Barber, despite winning by a 23-8 technical fall, as he was cautioned with two slams in the first period, one of which it appeared Barber flipped on his back on purpose. A third slam would have resulted in disqualification, but Labriola made sure he was cautious and patient en route to an easy victory.
Camacho won his 100th career match during his 3-1 victory over LaSalle’s Vincenzo Pelusi. Camacho needed overtime to score the winning takedown over Pelusi, giving him back-to-back gold medals in as many weeks heading to Hershey.
The other Hawks to place at regionals included: Kenny Herrmann (third at 113); Zach Glenn (third at 120); Jarred Papcsy (third at 132); Luca Frinzi (fourth at 138); Luke Carty (third at 145)and Jody Crouse (fourth at 195).
For Zeiner, one more week of wrestling is all that he could ask for.
“My goal is to place and take home a medal,” he said. “I drill with Mikey [Labriola] everyday and his intensity rubs off on me, so I definitely want to leave medal.”