BETHLEHEM — For the most part, success was an elusive grail for the Lancaster-Lebanon League contingent Friday night at the PIAA Southeast Regional wrestling tournament.
Of the 13 L-L wrestlers who began the day at Bethlehem Freedom’s Joseph J. McIntyre Gymnasium — Elco’s Michael Torres was a late addition at 160 when Newport’s Nate Rode withdrew — only Northern Lebanon’s Brandon Breidegan finished the day unblemished at 132 pounds, earning him his first semifinal berth after three appearances.
He’ll renew his pursuit at 11 Saturday morning as the semifinals get underway.
“It feels pretty good,” Breidegan said. “(It’s) a major improvement over last year.”
Breidegan, who last year placed sixth at 120 for his only regional medal, missing a spot in the state tournament, began his day pinning Lucas Sangiuliano of Lehighton in 1:11.
That earned him a quarterfinal matchup with Grant Kauffman of Newport.
After a scoreless first period, Breidegan chose bottom, escaped and scored the only takedown of the match.
“I stayed busy on my feet,” he said.
He took that 3-0 lead into the third, where Kauffman chose to go neutral and had Breidegan in trouble near the edge off a single-leg shot.
Initially he attempted to run out of bounds. Kauffman pulled him back in.
“I probably did the wrong thing there, trying to run away,” he said. “I didn’t whizzer.”
Breidegan’s defense eventually delivered dividends as his momentum pulled both out of bounds and he went on to complete a 3-1 victory, yielding a stall point just before the final horn.
Six others were defeated in the quarterfinals.
Annville-Cleona’s Ethan Missimer pinned George Pultz of Pen Argyl in the 106-pound round of 16, but was defeated 6-2 by West Perry’s Deven Jackson in the quarterfinals.
Also at 106, Northern Lebanon’s Owen Lehman edged Tim Wynne of Springfield Township 4-3, then was pinned by Brandywine Heights’ Jaryn Hartranft.
Lancaster Catholic’s Eric Howe had a stirring comeback in the round of 16 at 113. Down 7-5, he took Connor Nicholas of Saucon Valley down into a fall in 5:45.
In the quarters, in a 4-4 match with Brandywine’s Dillon Reinert, he tried to roll through a cradle, got caught, and pinned, in 5:39.
Octorara’s Michael Trainor edged Nick Bratspis of Lower Moreland 3-2 at 145, but Boiling Springs’ Michael Duggan scored seven takedowns in an 11-5 quarterfinal victory.
Catholic’s Mason McClair scored takedowns in the second and third periods for a 5-1 win over Pope John Paul II’s Matt Delciotto at 160, but got reversed into a fall by Wilson Area’s Anthony Micci in his next round.
Octorara’s Paul Orner headlocked Lower Moreland’s Brian Megedus to a fall in the 285-pound round of 16. he was pinned by Northern Lehigh’s Joshua Schaffer in the second tiebreak when his roll try was blunted.
In addition to those six, Pequea Valley’s Liam McGinley (106) and Dustin Huber (152), Annville’s Matt Inman (113) and Northern Lebanon’s Levi Arms (195) remain alive in the consolations, which begin at 9:30 Saturday morning.