Norristown’s Fuentes carving a path of his own

LOWER GWYNEDD — If it’s really true that nice guys finish last, Norristown High’s Eric Fuentes might not have a win in his Eagles mat career.

In a sport where a certain amount of meanness is a requirement, a mean bone has yet to found in Fuentes’ body.

“He’s a great kid, probably the most well-liked kid in our room,’ said Norristown head coach Mark Harner. “I haven’t been able to find anything wrong with him.

“He has the perfect work ethic, he’s the first kid in the room every day, and he doesn’t need to be pushed.’

For his part, Fuentes, who will be center stage Saturday morning (9:00 start) when the PIAA Class AAA District One Central Wrestling Tournament gets underway at Wissahickon High School, appreciates the kind words from his coach, and doesn’t deny the “nice guy’ tag.

“I’m in the room a lot,’ he said, “and I do push myself, so I guess it’s true.

“That’s just how I know how to do it.’

The 113-pound weight class, in which Fuentes will compete, is not considered one of the tourney’s best. Still, the Eagles sophomore is aware that there are few guarantees in postseason wrestling.

“I think I have a pretty good draw,’ he said, “and I’m definitely going to try my best to get to the finals.

“I’m going to go after every kid I wrestle.’

For the time being, Harner has said Fuentes is lacking somewhat in both confidence and physical maturity, a couple of traits he’ll try and boost for the future.

“When you’re not confident, it slows you down,’ Harner said. “But it’s not like you have to push him into the room. The (confidence) will come.

“And technically, he’s right where he should be, but he’s still not as physically mature as he needs to be. So we’re going to spend a lot of time in the weight room in the off-season.’

Fuentes has no qualms about some serious iron pumping.

“I’m looking forward to that,’ he said. “I think I could put on a few pounds of muscle.’

As for this weekend, Fuentes, whose brother Zach’s resume included three state medals, a regional crown, two district titles and three sectional championships and who is now wrestling at Drexel, wouldn’t mind making a little noise of his own.

“I hear about (my brother) a lot,’ the younger Fuentes said. “We talk a lot, and he gives me advice. But when people hear the name ‘ Fuentes’ they think of Zach. I’d like to try and get my own name out there.’

Nicely, of course.

As for this weekend’s tourney, this is how one writer sees the finish:

106 – Kaliner-DiBattista-Reigel-Zapf

113 – Taylor-Fuentes-Strommer-Camacho

120 – Hankin-Edwards-Zimmerman-Memis

126 – Cummings-Gershwin-Medrow-Smith

132 – Wilson-Devlin-Palagruto-McDowell

138 – DiBattista-Lillis-Wundle-Bateman

145 – Stephens-LaCosta-Billings-Larson

152 – Meyer-Dellicompagni-Labus-Kovacs

160 – DeLaurentis-Elliott-McBride-Stillman

170 – Okoorian-Horne-Boyer-Brooke

182 – Hatzipaulides-MacNeill-Green-Orr

195 – McGuire-Walker-Johnson-Czajkowski

220 – McGinley-Samuel-Hoffman-Spriggs

285 – Hill-Anderson-Williams-Walls

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