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Spear reaches 100 wins as 4 Blue Raider wrestlers advance to regionals

Posted 2/26/20

Middletown senior Joey Spear joined elite company this weekend, becoming only the 10th wrestler in Middletown history to win 100 varsity wrestling matches.

Spear earned No. 100 at the District 3 …

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Spear reaches 100 wins as 4 Blue Raider wrestlers advance to regionals

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Middletown senior Joey Spear joined elite company this weekend, becoming only the 10th wrestler in Middletown history to win 100 varsity wrestling matches.

Spear earned No. 100 at the District 3 AA championships, held at CD East High School on Friday and Saturday. Placing fourth at 145 pounds, he advanced to the PIAA Class AA Southeast Regional Tournament, along with fellow Blue Raider seniors Quincy Reinnagel who placed third at districts at 220 pounds, Luke Fegley (fourth at 132 pounds) and Arthur Dash (fifth at 195 pounds). 

The regionals will be held Friday and Saturday at Bethlehem Freedom High School.

As a four-year starter, Spear has amassed 102 career wins, with 61 of those coming by pin. 

Spear is a four-year District 3 qualifier. This will be his second appearance in the regionals. He has a season record of 33-7 and aims to collect a few more wins this weekend for a chance to compete in the PIAA state championship tournament in Hershey on March 5-7. 

“It feels fantastic to finally reach my goal of getting 100 wins,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and teammates throughout the years. They really helped me become a better wrestler and pushed me towards my goal. I want to thank all the Raider fans, friends and my family who have supported me.”

Coach Daniel Riggs added that “100 wins is a very challenging and difficult milestone to reach in the sport of wrestling.”

When speaking about the three wrestlers (Ryan Berstler, Fegley and Spear) who have reached this milestone during his tenure at Middletown, he relayed that “getting 100 wins is a true reflection of their commitment to the sport and their strong work ethic in the practice room.”

Two other Middletown seniors, Zach Malay and Damion Williams, each earned two hard-fought wins and eighth-place finishes at districts, but it was not enough to advance. Malay has been a key contributor to the Blue Raider’s success over the last four years. As a four-year starter and team captain, Malay has earned 65 career wins and helped lead the Blue Raider squad to four straight winning seasons.

“This year’s seniors are a special group,” Riggs said. “They are going to be missed and are going to be hard to replace. They have been through many ups and downs, but played a big role in making the program what it is today.”

When speaking about the unique character of this class, he said: “The commitment, work ethic, and leadership they showed in the wrestling room and classroom will definitely help them be successful at anything they do when they go off into the real world.”

Spear started out fast at the District 3 tournament, pinning Susquenita’s Louie Frisenda in just 41 seconds. Spear hit a roadblock in the quarterfinals, dropping a tough loss to Trinity standout Daniel Kosinski, who would end up giving Spear his two losses of the tournament. 

Spear looked impressive battling his way back through the consolation bracket, earning three straight wins by pin. Spear pinned ELCO’s Danny O’Neil in 2 minutes, 50 seconds, and Malcolm Gerlach of Hanover in just more than 4 minutes. Spear’s most impressive win came in the consolation semifinal match when he locked up a cradle and threw Newport’s two-time state qualifier Dorian Gonzalez to his back for the pin in just more than 2 minutes.

Reinnagel continued his brilliant senior season, starting with a 7-3 decision over Josh Trostle of West Perry. In the semifinal match, Reinnagel got caught on his back early by Bermudian Springs’ Savauri Shelton and was down 4-0 early in the first period. Reinnagel stayed on the offensive and forced multiple stalling calls on his opponent, but was unable to overcome the early deficit.

Reinnagel bounced back quickly with a dominating 18-4 performance over Steelton-Highspire’s Kyler-Raye William and secured third place by pinning Bronson Rineholt of Kennard Dale. Reinnagel is 30-7 on the season with 72 career wins, and he is looking strong to make a deep run into the regional and state championships.

Fegley had four quality wins. He started by pinning Newport’s Grant Kauffman late in the third period. In the quarterfinals, Fegley dropped a hard-fought 3-1 decision to East Penn standout Adam Jacob, who placed sixth in the 2019 PIAA state tournament.

Fegley rallied back through the consolation bracket, defeating Nick Geary of Brandywine Heights by a score of 4-2. Fegley followed that up with a gutsy 2-1 decision over Littlestown’s Ayden Dillon.

In the consolation semifinal round, Fegley overcame one of his sectional tournament losses, defeating Schuylkill Valley’s Gary Deyarmin by a score of 7-3. Fegley had to settle for fourth place after a 4-1 loss to Hamburg’s Kyle Vernon in the consolation finals match. Fegley will carry a 35-7 record into the regionals this weekend.

Dash began his district tournament with a 9-7 decision over Josh Martin of Boiling Springs. In the quarterfinals, Dash surrendered a close 3-1 decision to Susquenita’s Daniel Criley.

Dash responded with two straight major decision wins. First, Dash showed his power and speed with four takedowns in a 10-2 major decision over Bermudian’s Josh Keller. Dash was equally impressive as he put ELCO’s John Ball on his back twice en route to a 12-2 major decision.

In the consolation semis, Dash dropped a 4-1 decision to Zach Ruffner of Tulpehocken, but ended the tournament on a high note, pinning Camp Hill’s Paul Parise for fifth place. Dash is now 30-9 entering the regionals.