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Fugazzotto takes third at tourney

The Northwestern Lehigh wrestling team competed at the Coal Cracker Invitational last week at Lehighton High School One Tigers made the podium while several others won matches at the two-day event last Sunday at Lehighton’s Elementary Center.

Northwestern’s Luke Fugazzotto claimed third place at 174 pounds. After a 4-3 loss to Brian Heard of Abington Heights in the semifinals, the Tiger sophomore bounced back with two impressive wins to claim third and earn a bit of redemption after not placing at the event last season.

“I’m pretty happy, but not too satisfied, though,” Fugazzotto said. “I was really trying to make it to the finals, but my semifinal match didn’t really go my way. I didn’t wrestle my best.

“It’s definitely way better than last year. I avenged a couple losses from last year, and honestly, third place as a sophomore, it’s not bad. But I was aiming to do better.”

Fugazzotto, who was seeded second at 174 pounds, showed his resolve in the consolation round with an 11-2 win over Gettysburg’s Jaxon Townsend to reach the third-place match. Townsend ended Fugazzotto’s tournament last year with a 13-9 victory.

“He did a good job coming back,” said Tiger head coach Joe Killar. “He dealt with the semifinal loss well and he came back with two pretty convincing wins. I was happy for him. He didn’t let the semifinals bother him too much. He does a really good job with his composure.”

Fugazzotto (28-2) finished his tournament with a bang, posting a 10-5 win over Wilson West Lawn’s Blaise Eidle to secure third.

The sophomore led his semifinal bout with Heard 2-1 after the first period.

“I got a nice reattack, but overall I just couldn’t get out from him on bottom,” said Fugazzotto. “It’s just something I need to work on.”

But Fugazzotto, a state qualifier a season ago, has shown that he’s on the right track to not just make it back to Hershey, but finish with a medal this time.

“My overall goal is just to place at states,” said Fugazzotto. “There are just things I need to build on.”

Fugazzotto reached the semifinals with four first period pins, with two coming in under one minute. The time of each fall were 1:52, 0:40, 1:12 and 0:42. The sophomore now has 23 pins this season.

Northwestern wrestlers Trent Croll (133) and Noah Schlofer (215) both won three matches at the Coal Cracker.

Faith Christian Academy, the defending PIAA Class 2A team champions, claimed the title at the Coal Cracker with a whopping 319 points. Wilson West Lawn (204), Wyoming Seminary (187.5), Central Dauphin (186.5) and Gettysburg (172) rounded out the top five. Faith Christian had six individual champions and a total of 11 medalists.

Northwestern finished 28th in the team standings, while Colonial League foes Bangor (19th), Catasauqua (30th), Pen Argyl (31st), Palisades (36th), Palmerton (39th) and Salisbury (45th) also competed in the 53-team event.

Coal Cracker Invitational

Northwestern Results

107 - Aris Gabri-El

Carmen Malt (Berwick) pinned Gabri-El in 1:18

Brent Frederick (Western Wayne) pinned Gabri-El in 2:32

114 - Braydon Uricchio

Shai Sabag (Germantown Academy) pinned Uricchio in 1:40

Uricchio pinned Richi Kioske (Wyoming Valley West) in 1:35

Brock Schneiderwind (Palisades) pinned Uricchio in :33

121 - Noah Griffith

Leonardro Gonzalez (Executive Education Academy) pinned Griffith in 2:59

Griffith pinned Logan Gallo (Interboro) in 1:48

Zander Billings (Columbia Montour Vo-Tech) pinned Griffith in 3:38

127 - Kenny Kerekes

McKaden Speece (Wilson West Lawn) tech. fall Kerekes, 18-2

Kerekes pinned Christopher Cordero (Scranton) in 2:09

Matt Dailey (Wyoming Seminary) pinned Kerekes in :50

133 - Trect Croll

Croll pinned Anthony Lasso (Interboro) in 1:03

Croll pinned Kayden Skibber (Pocono Mountain East) in :41

Matthew Almedina (Mid Valley) tech. fall Croll, 18-3

Croll dec. Bryce Bodenberg (Blue Mountain), 4-1

Luke Evans (Abington Heights) pinned Croll in :12

139 - William Turner

Tyler Winters (Berwick) dec. Turner, 14-7

Turner major dec. Scott Rider (Pocono Mountain West), 12-1

Turner pinned Gavin Kareha (Abington Heights) in 1:24

Aidan McNulty (Bangor) pinned Turner in 1:57

172 - Luke Fugazzotto

Fugazzotto pinned Isaiah Straining (Central Dauphin) in 1:52

Fugazzotto pinned Cannon Auer (Mid Valley) in 140

Fugazzotto pinned Gran Young (Mid-West) in 1:12

Fugazzotto pinned Collin Neal (Boiling Springs) in :42

Brian Heard (Abington Heights) dec. Fugazzotto, 4-3

Fugazzotto major dec. Jaxon Townsend (Gettysburg), 11-2

Third-place match: Fugazzotto dec. Blaise Eidle (Wilson West Lawn), 10-5

215 - Noah Schlofer

Schlofer pinned Tiparth Soneja (Tamaqua) in :24

Schlofer pinned Kyle Cramphorn (Interboro) in 3:02

Schlofer pinned Liam Carroll (Berwick) in 2:55

Brandon Stiehler (Pocono Mountain West) pinned Schlofer in 5:19

John Boggs (St. Joe’s Prep) dec. Schlofer, 3-1

285 - Jackson Huber

Jack Peters (Selinsgrove) tech. fall Huber, 17-2

Jadon Wilkin (Pocono Mountain West) dec. Juber, 8-5

PRESS PHOTO BY RICH SMITH Luke Fugazzotto took third place at last weekend's Coal Cracker Invitational.