BRISTOL TWP. – Two-time District 1 champ and regional medalist Gunnar Fuss has been to states twice in his first two seasons on the varsity wrestling mat. While the junior 132-pounder for Harry S Truman came up empty his first two trips to Hershey, Tigers head coach Jesse Dunn says Gunnar is gunning for Keystone State gold this time around.
“We’re aiming high,” admitted Dunn. “In his mind, he’s aiming for thee medal.
“I say over and over, ‘he’s fully capable of it.’
“He had some good matches; he knocked off some pretty good guys in the postseason last year.
“He’s going for it this year.”
Dunn says there’s no state-wide favorite to win this season at 132 pounds.
Last year as a 126-pound sophomore, Fuss decisioned three-time state qualifier and Central Dauphin senior Jake Cherry before suffering a tech-fall loss to eventual PIAA runner-up Spencer Lee (Franklin Regional) and 4th-place finisher Jakob Campbell (Boyertown). Austin DeSanto (Exeter) won the 126-pound belt with a 6-5 win over Lee.
Lee, Campbell and DeSanto all graduated in June.
“There’s really no clear favorite to win this year,” said Dunn. “Last year, you had Spencer Lee and Austin DeSanto and they were almost expected to win.
“This year, he’s gunning for the title.”
Fuss is off to a fast 9-0 start including a win by fall over Pennsbury senior Antonio Martoccio in a dual meet between the teams Wednesday, Dec. 20 at the Falcons’ Nest. Martoccio is a three-time District 1 medalist who went to states as a freshman and qualified for regionals last year in the 126-pound division.
“We’ve always had good matchups with Antonio,” stated Dunn. “He had good matchups with Dylan Nuttal when he was around for us.
“That was another match we were hoping for so it was good; we were glad we got it.”
Fuss kicked off his season at the Brian Bealer Memorial Duals Dec. 9 at Boyertown with an 8-6 triumph over Bethlehem Liberty junior Michael Torres, a District 11 qualifier last year at 132 pounds. From there, he posted four straight pins, all in the first period to wrap up the tournament at 5-0.
He went 3-0 in the Morris Knolls Tournament including a major decision win over Tommy Fierro (South Plainfield, N.J.) and a 3-1 triumph over Charlie Cunningham, a senior at Seton Hall Prep, which won the MKT. The Morris Knolls runner-up at 132 pounds after falling to Fuss, Cunningham was a state qualifier in the Garden State last season and Fierro reached the Round of 12 Prep Nationals two years ago as a 106-pound freshman for St. Benedict’s.
Truman sophomore Frank Regalis continues to impress for the Tigers in the 182-pound weight class. Wednesday night (Dec. 20), he turned the tables when he pinned Pennsbury senior Max Schummer in 3:30 to go to 8-1 on the season. The Falcon wrestler pinned Regalis last year at SOLs to end Frank’s first season on the mat.
In his last trip to the postseason, Regalis worked his way down to 170 pounds after wrestling at 182 during the regular season. Dunn doesn’t think the drop down suited his wrestler.
“I just don’t think he was used to or comfortable at that weight class,” said Dunn.
“This year, Frank is doing real well for us.
“He’s been feeling good where he’s wrestling at right now. I’m excited for his chances in the postseason.”
Junior Joe Goldey is also off to a solid start. Goldey took third at SOLs his first two times out but has yet to place in districts.
Still, he won 20 matches last year as a 138-pounder including a solid 7-0 decision win over Neshaminy senior Austin Saba in a third-place SOL matchup. Now a senior, Saba has won over 40 bouts for the Skins.
Facing Pennsbury senior Jack Karel, Goldey pinned his opponent in 3:15 to push his way to 7-2 on the season. Big Joe kicked off his season by going 4-1 in the Bealer Duals then took third place in the MKT after a 7-5 decision over Seton Hall Prep freshman Jack Wilt.
“He’s been doing great and he’s definitely a key player for us,” said Dunn, of Goldey.
“He just came up a little bit short in the postseason, so far. If I had to pick a wild card for us, to have a deep postseason run, it would be those two – (Joe) Goldey and (Frank) Regalis.”
A regional qualifier last year at 182 pounds, senior Alex Litz is back for his final campaign on the mat. He is 6-3 thus far wrestling mostly at 195 pounds.
Against Pennsbury, Dunn bumped Litz up the ladder in order to face Falcons 220-pounder Davis Lee. While Litz blanked Lee in a dual meet between the schools last season, Lee got off to a quick start this time around.
Trailing 8-3 at the beginning of the second period and 12-6 at the beginning of the third, Litz forced Lee to withstand a furious comeback bid in the final seconds before the Pennsbury wrestler walked off with a 15-13 decision that put his team up, 21-12.
“Both guys really went at it,” said Dunn. “That’s what makes the dual meets fun – when you have better guys match up and they wrestle hard for six minutes.”
Together with a forfeit win at 126 pounds, Lee’s win helped the Falcons fly off with a 43-36 triumph.
Truman had outpaced Pennsbury in two previous dual meets.
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