Feb. 28—PALMER TWP. — While Seth Hunsinger didn't take home the gold medal, he did take one step up the podium.
The Hazleton Area senior battled to reach the 215-pound final and claim silver at the Class 3A Northeast Regional wrestling tournament Saturday at Charles Chrin Community Center of Palmer Twp.
He also punched his ticket to the East Super Regional.
"It feels pretty good," Hunsinger said. "Last year I lost in the quarters and wrestled all the way back and I made it to the finals this year and now I'm short again but I'm competing with these guys who are the top in the state as well as myself so I'm feeling pretty good."
After placing third at regionals last season, Hunsinger, the No. 6 seed, pinned La Salle's Dante Burns during the third period in the quarterfinals before surviving a back-and-forth battle against Nazareth's Chase Levey in the semifinals. Hunsinger fell behind two points in the first period, but tied the score at 6-6 before the end of the second period. He earned an escape to take a 7-6 lead before Levey got a takedown. Hunsinger reclaimed the lead with a reversal. Then, Levey escaped to tie the match before Hunsinger secured the 11-9 decision with one last takedown.
He lost to a familiar foe in the title bout, Delaware Valley's Jason Henderson, by a 9-4 decision. Ranked No. 4 in the state, Henderson also beat Hunsinger for the district title the past two seasons. Despite the loss, Hunsinger enjoys taking on the tough competition.
"They're getting me ready for the state level this year again," Hunsinger said.
He looks to make it back to the state tournament, where he lost his final match by one point last year. This time, there's an extra step with Saturday's East Super Regional at Quakertown High School. The good news for Hunsinger is he'll have some teammates coming with him.
Hazleton Area's Bryce Molinaro (189) earned bronze and Beck Hutchison (126) placed fourth to secure a spot at next week's tournament.
"It's awesome," Hunsinger said. "Last year, we had four advancing, now we have three advancing this year. My junior and senior year it's nice to have multiple guys coming with you so you can keep the crowd going and you get momentum with your boys."
Pittston Area's CJ Demark (152) and Jimmy Spindler (160) captured fourth place to earn spots at the East Super Regional.
Demark beat two opponents seeded higher than him, a 5-1 decision over Archbishop Wood's A.J. Minners, the No. 4 seed, in the quarterfinals and an injury default over No. 2 seed Central's Andriy Luchko in the consolation semifinals. He gained control of the match over Luchko before it was stopped in the third period because of injury.
"It feels pretty good because the last two years I didn't even place at districts and then this year I came into it and I was like this is the last year," Demark said. "I'm just going to leave it all on the mat and it's been working so far and I'm going to keep it going into next week."
Spindler, a District 2 champion, lost his opening match, but wrestled back to fourth place to advance to the East Super Regional.
"At districts, I had a high head and came here maybe a little too confident, lost my first match," Spindler said. "I went out, beat my second kid with the mentality that I'm going to take third and wrestle the hardest I could.
"The ultimate goal is just to keep going."
Crestwood's Trey Zabroski (138) avenged his district championship loss to Abington Heights' Sam Stevens with a 12-2 major decision in the consolation semifinals. The match also kept his postseason alive.