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2 Middletown Area High School wrestlers advance to states

Posted 3/7/18

Middletown's Ryan Berstler and Luke Fegley will move on to the PIAA state championship tournament after another solid performance at the PIAA Southeast Regional Championship over the weekend. …

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2 Middletown Area High School wrestlers advance to states

Posted

Middletown's Ryan Berstler and Luke Fegley will move on to the PIAA state championship tournament after another solid performance at the PIAA Southeast Regional Championship over the weekend.

Berstler and Fegley will compete with the top 20 wrestlers in their weight class for a shot at the AA title.

“I want both Ryan and Luke to have some fun while they are out there competing,” said coach Dan Riggs. “This is their time to leave it on the mat and I want them to leave the arena with no regrets. No matter the outcome, I hope they use this as a learning experience for next year.”

The state tournament will be held at the Giant Center in Hershey on March 8-10.

The Blue Raiders have shown improvement in the postseason over the last few years.

“I feel the progress we are making as a team and individually is a testament to their hard work in the wrestling room and their commitment during the offseason. It definitely has been fun watching them grow and compete” Riggs said. “We want to continue in the direction the team is headed. I do not like to look too far ahead, but we are definitely excited that we are returning the majority of the lineup that went 12-4.”

The returning lineup will have two state qualifiers, four regional qualifiers and six district qualifiers.

“With the successes we experienced this year and narrowly missing team districts, I hope this gives the team the motivation to work hard during the offseason and that we are able to build off of the success of this current season,” Riggs said.

Regional tournament action at Wilson High School in Reading began at 106 pounds. Sophomore Luke Fegley got things rolling for the Blue Raiders with a first-period pin over Saadiq Williams of Belmont Charter. Fegley followed that up with a 9-1 major decision over Annville-Cleona’s Matthew Inman. That win earned him a semifinal matchup with Trinity standout Patrick DeMark, who would secure the win over Fegley before going on to win the regional championship.

Fegley dropped a gut-wrenching 1-0 decision to Williams Valley’s Mikey Myers before earning a fifth-place finish by defeating Matthew Inman in an 8-2 rematch.

Fegley will carry a 33-10 record into the state championship tournament.

Junior Ryan Berstler also got off to a fast start at 120 pounds with a pin over Gianni Scancella of Conwell-Egan in 2:50. After dropping a 6-3 decision to Richard Markulics of Notre Dame-Green Pond, Berstler responded with two quality wins.

Berstler soundly defeated Catasauqua senior Tyler Melendez by major decision 11-0 and earned another hard-fought 3-1 win over local Susquehanna Township rival, Kody Evans. Berstler came up just short in a 5-3 decision with Marckis Branford of Wilson Area, but responded with a scrappy 3-2 win over Joshua Tuckey of Biglerville to earn a fifth-place finish and a trip to Hershey.

Berstler will bring a 35-9 season record into the state tournament.

Middletown junior Nate Brady saw his terrific season come to a close. Brady added two more quality wins to his resume in tough regional competition. He pinned Jenon Upchurch in 3:04 and battled to a 4-2 decision over Harrison Bernhard of Northwestern Lehigh, bringing his season record to 26-11. Brady came within a heart-breaking one match of qualifying for the state tournament.

Senior Devin Martin also saw his season, and his Middletown wrestling career, come to a close this weekend as he faced a stacked 145-pound bracket. Martin earned his final win as a Blue Raider over Thomas Spirk of Saucon Valley, 8-7. Martin had a superb career on the mats, earning 84 wins over four years of high school wrestling. 

At 113 pounds, sophomore Zach Malay is just starting what promises to be a very good wrestling career with the Blue Raiders.

Malay, who competed up a weight from his natural weight class of 106, still managed to battle his way to a deep postseason run.

Malay earned a 5-2 decision over Andrew Park of Faith Christian Academy, before being knocked out of the regional competition. Malay captured 22 wins in his sophomore season.