Council Rock North wrestling can’t hold lead over CR South (PHOTO GALLERY)

Council Rock North freshman Sammy Hayes, top, pinned CR South junior Mike McKinney in the 126-pound bout in a recent battle for the Unity Cup won by the Golden Hawks on the Indians’ home court.  (John Gleeson – 21st-Century Media)

NEWTOWN — In their opening dual meet of the new campaign, Council Rock South’s wrestling team extended its Suburban One League (sol) win streak to 26 consecutive victories with a 47-30 triumph over sister school Council Rock North. To keep the impressive skein alive, however, the Golden Hawks needed to come back against a determined but relatively inexperienced foe.

North jumped out to a 21-0 lead behind freshman Luke Lucerne’s major decision, two pins by Aidan Burke and Sammy Hayes, and a technical fall by Cam Robinson. South rallied back with seniors Zack Trampe and Riley Palmer pinning their Indian opponents and Cary Palmer recording a technical fall.

North’s Dillon Sheehy then added three points to the Indian cause, taking an exciting 10-7 decision over Cole Flanagan in their 160 pound bout.

With the score 24-17, North’s 170-pound junior Nick Nucero stepped onto the mats. Despite three years of varsity experience, Nick still felt the tension. “My freshman year, I figured the nervousness would fade away and my coach told me, ‘it never will. It will be with you until the day you quit wrestling. You’re never going to get rid of that feeling. It’s just part of the process. You just have to get into the flow of the match and don’t let your emotions get the best of you.’”


Nick was uncertain what to expect from his Golden Hawk opponent. “I thought I was wrestling a different kid. I thought I was going to wrestle Eric Tsimberg, who I had wrestled at Apache. I felt I knew his style. I didn’t know anything about my new opponent (Phil Mignacca).”

Experience taught Nick the best approach was to be aggressive but still cautious. “I had that issue my freshman year of going hard too quickly so my coaches told me to be controlled. Go hard but don’t tire yourself out. So now I pace myself.”

Nick did not have pace himself very long. He moved in, took his opponent to the mat, and pinned him in 47 seconds. “Recently, I started working on doing more fakes. I was able to incorporate that well in the beginning. The fakes helped keep him from shooting on me. The fakes made him back off and I could then hit my outside trips.”

Despite the quick fall, Nick showed real class in praising his opponent. “It was a good match. He fought back. I haven’t won a match this season that hasn’t been a pin and he fought harder than the others.”

The win gave North a seemingly commanding 30-17 lead. Unfortunately for Indian fans, the Golden Hawks still had plenty of muscle left in their lineup. Five straight pins by Nick Korbich, Tyler Gettmann, Jon Weinstein, Joe Doyle and Max Mendez gave South a 47-30 victory.

In many ways, the meet’s outcome did not surprise Nick, who is one of only six upperclassmen in the Rock lineup. “Our weights from 106 to 170 (pounds) are really, really solid and the same for the heavyweight. Our 80, 95 and 220 wrestlers are semi-experienced, fairly new kids. One of them was wrestling his first match ever. They will get better. Coach said those are weights where we needed help and those guys have to step up.”

Ironically, some of the younger wrestlers are reinforcing the lessons taught by savvy vets such as Nick and Aidan Burke. “This year’s team is very interesting. A very large portion of this team is freshmen. They’re all very talented and they all pretty much embody what every wrestler on the team should be like.

“The reason they’re good is not because they’re wrestling gods. For instance, Luke Lucerne’s uncle told me ever since sixth grade, he’s been getting up at six o’clock and working to get better. All those kids do tons of things extra to get better.”

The work ethic parallels Nick’s own personal philosophy. “All the work we do before school pays off, all the drills and running. It gives us a mental edge. When you’re in the third period and you’re tired, you know you have a little extra gas in the tank. It’s all the same process that says hard work will yield success.”

Obviously, Nick has learned one of wrestling’s biggest lessons. “The appeal of wrestling is what it gives me as a person, not so much what it does for me as a sport. I know if I didn’t do a sport that was as competitive and tough and really didn’t test me I wouldn’t be the guy I am in and outside the classroom. It really regimented me and taught me a lot about myself and what I can be.”

The lessons will continue as Nick and his teammates prep themselves for the district duals and another shot at their crosstown rivals.

Council Rock South 47, Council Rock North 30

(Jan. 4 at CR North)

113: Luke Lucerne (CRN) maj. dec. Kyle Waterman, 9-1

120: Aidan Burke (CRN) pinned Collin Waterman, 0:16

126: Sam Hayes (CRN) pinned Mike McKinney, 3:11

132: Cam Robinson (CRN) tech. fall Adam Figueroa, 4:09 (15-0)

138: Zack Trampe (CRS) pinned Gianncarlo Flores, 3:13

145: Cary Palmer (CRS) tech. fall Matt Gallant, 5:05 (23-8)

152: Riley Palmer (CRS) pinned Jake Shalinsky, 3:01

160: Dillon Sheehy (CRN) dec. Cole Flanagan, 10-7

170: Nick Nucero (CRN) pinned Phil Mignacca, 0:47

182: Nik Korbich (CRS) pinned Connor Mooney-Moore, 0:18

195: Tyler Gettmann (CRS) pinned Tykee Jackson, 0:59

220: Jon Weinstein (CRS) pinned Robbie Kay, :30

285: Joe Doyle (CRS) pinned Alec Leyferman, 2:48

106: Max Mendez (CRS) pinned Lucas Keller, 2:29

RECORDS: CR South (1-0, 1-0 SOL National); CR North (4-3, 0-1)

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