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Council Rock North an upstart on the wrestling mat

NEWTOWN – With two of its three fabulous freshmen making states, Council Rock North is moving on up in wrestling circles.

Just recently, lightweight Luke Lucerne finished a runner-up in the 106-pound division at the South East Region Class AAA Tournament held March 3 and 4 at Souderton Area High School. And middleweight Cam Robinson took third in the 132-pound weight class.

Both grapplers have amassed 34 wins apiece and are headed to states Thursday, March 9 through Saturday, March 11 at the Giant Center in Hershey. Lucerne and Robinson are joined by senior Aidan Burke, who took second at regionals in the tough 120-pound weight class that was won by Pennridge senior Matt Parker, this year’s District 1-AAA East Outstanding Wrestler.

“North is definitely an up and coming program, especially with the freshmen,” said Burke. “They’re really taking a leadership role.

“I’m going to be graduating so I’m going to teach them the way to success and they’re just going to take over.

“I think they’re going to take off and I think North’s future is really bright.”

Lucerne took a District 1 title belt this season while Robinson won runner-up honors, losing only to two-time state medal-winner Zack Trampe, of CR South, in the D-1 finale.

In order to advance in the postseason, Luke had to topple CR South sophomore Max Mendez, this year’s 106-pound champion at the Bethlehem Holiday Wrestling Classic. After Mendez won 2-1 at Escape The Rock, Lucerne turned the tables on the Golden Hawks wrestler when he pinned Max in a battle for the league title belt.

“He had a single and I just stepped over him,” explained Lucerne. “I just kind of got the momentum. I just kind of felt it; it’s one of those things, it’s either there or it’s not.”

The two met again in the District 1 East final and that time, Luke earned an 8-3 decision.

“I feel like my mindset is just a lot better these last two matches I’ve had with him,” explained Lucerne. “A lot of self-confidence.”

At regionals, Lucerne majored West Chester East sophomore Corey Celenza and Quakertown sophomore Josh Stahl before meeting Downingtown West junior Doug Zaph in the final. A wrestler who made states last year, Zaph blanked Lucerne 3-0 for the SE Region title belt.

When Robinson started the season by going 5-0 at the Brian Bealer Duals, head coach Tom Vivicqua must have known his 132-pounder was prepped for a solid season.

Robinson didn’t disappoint, taking third at the Comet Classic, fourth at the Manheim Holiday Tournament and eighth at Escape the Rock while going 4-0 with two techs and a pair of pins at the Rock Yard Duals.

In the postseason, it seemed the only thing standing in Cam’s way was Trampe. The Hawks wrestler, who earned SE Regional gold for a second consecutive season at 132 pounds, pinned Robinson in the Suburban One National League tournament and won by a 30-15 tech-fall in the district final.

At regionals, Robinson topped Lower Merion senior Julius Starkey by tech-fall before dropping a tough 9-4 decision to Downingtown West junior Nick Lilley.

To his credit, Robinson answered the bell with four straight wins at regionals including a close 3-2 decision win over Unionville senior Jake Taylor, a three time District One Central medalist.

Even Trampe had nice things to say about Robinson.

“I see good things ahead for him,” said Trampe. “He’ll be one of the top wrestlers in District One the next couple of years.

“He’s real good; he’s got a bright future.”

Classmate Sammy Hayes is another grappler for the Rock with much promise. Battling in the tough 126-pound class, Hayes went 4-1 at Brian Bealer, took seventh at the Comet Classic and was a runner-up at the Manheim Holiday Tournament.

While he went 3-1 at the Rock Yard Duals, Hayes failed to advance beyond the league meet after suffering two close decision losses in his first three bouts.

Nevertheless, Lucerne expects Sammy to bounce back from the experience.

“He was at 126 (pounds) and there are a lot of really tough kids there, a lot of really tough kids wrestling districts at (126),” said Lucerne. “Statewide, I think it’s the toughest weight class.”

“I think Sammy is going to come back stronger next year and I think he’s going to be a lot better because of it.”

After pinning Abington senior Matt Spross in his SONL opener, Hayes dropped back-to-back 1-point decisions to CR South sophomore Eric Woloshyn and Neshaminy sophomore Jackson Erb, a SE Region qualifier this season.

For his part, Burke entered the season with 91 wins but had a tough time reaching the century mark after suffering an early concussion, then spraining his ankle at Escape The Rock.

There was a moment when some thought Aidan might not make it back to the mat in time to compete in the postseason, much less reach the magic number.

But Burke dusted himself off and got win number 99 in the team’s last regular season dual meet at Truman then recorded his 100th win when he won by technical fall over Pennsbury junior Nick Visco in the opening round of leagues.

At SOLs, Burke finished a runner-up to CR South junior Ben Radner. At districts, he took third with a 2-0 win over Souderton junior Harrison Andrade and at regionals, he posted three straight wins including decision wins over Boyertown senior David Campbell and West Chester Henderson senior Jake Reid. Campbell is a three-time regional medalist and Campbell has twice won medals in the SE Region tourney.

As a team, Rock North has finished second, third and fourth, respectively, in SOLs, districts and regionals. Last year, the Indians took second, sixth and ninth in those tournaments.

TOP PHOTOCouncil Rock North freshman lightweight Luke Lucerne, right, finished a runner-up in the 106-pound division at the South East Region Class AAA Tournament held March 3 and 4 at Souderton Area High School and is headed to states March 9-11 at the Giant Center in Hershey. (Betsy Palmer – For 21st-Century Media)

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