Franklin Regional wrestling team on the rise
HERSHEY — Franklin Regional wrestling coach Eric Mausser admitted his attention sometimes wandered over to what was transpiring in the PIAA Class AAA wrestling team championship Saturday during his team's third-place match at Giant Center.
The match between Canon-McMillan and Central Dauphin was thrilling, with the Big Macs winning their second consecutive state title with a 34-31 victory.
You can understand why it was tough to stay focused. Mausser, however, kept his team focused on their match.
“There was a lot of excitement during the match, and we were waiting to see if (Cody) Wiercioch and (Colton) Peppelman were going to meet,” Mausser said after his team finished third by defeating Easton, 29-26.
Earlier Saturday, Franklin Regional avenged a Jan. 28 loss to Eric McDowell, winning, 29-25.
“That's the mat we want to be on next year,” said Mausser, pointing to where the championship match was contested. “We came up short against a very good Central Dauphin squad, but we proved we're as good as anyone in the state.”
Franklin Regional defeated Jersey Shore and Owen J. Roberts to reach Friday's semifinals.
“This was good experience for the team,” Mausser said. “First time being down here and taking third place, that's pretty good. We're only graduating a couple wrestlers, and we'll have a solid nucleus returning.”
The Panthers return 12 starters next year, including 2012 PIAA qualifiers Michael Kemerer (126), Tyler Smith (132), Josh Maruca (138) and Josh Maruca (145).
The Panthers received contributions from two solid backups.
Seniors Luke Fleck (285 pounds) and Connor Medlang (120) were big reasons the Panthers brought home a bronze trophy. Fleck's overtime win against McDowell decided the match, and his pin against Easton allowed Andrew Marshall to seal the victory.
“Since the playoffs started, Andrew has been in a slump,” Mausser said. “It was nice to see him break it with the win that decided the match.”
Marshall defeated Kasin Corallo, 7-1, in the 106-pound finale.
“It was nice to get out there and help my team,” Fleck said. “It was disappointing losing at the WPIALs and in the semis here, but we came back and did what we had to do to finish third.”
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.