Brett and Melendez advance to regionals
A few months ago, Austin Brett wasn’t thinking about competing at the PIAA Class 2A Southeastern Regional tournament this weekend at Wilson West Lawn High School.
Instead, he was wondering when he would be wrestling again.
In the opening weeks of practice, Brett fractured his growth plate in his foot and there wasn’t an exact timetable for his return. It was an untimely break for the freshman, who cracked the Roughies’ lineup at 113 pounds.
But Brett battled through rehab and returned to the lineup in a dual match against Notre Dame Jan. 22.
From there, he has been a steady contributor for the Roughies. His determination and endurance paid dividends for Brett when he earned a spot in the Southeast Regional this weekend with his fourth-place finish at the PIAA District 11 Class 2A championships.
It was a feat large enough for words for the ninth-seeded grappler.
“It is just amazing,” said Brett. “I can’t imagine having this type of season. It’s a big uplifting experience for me considering where I was a few months ago. It really is hard to believe.”
Brett quickly disposed of eighth-seeded Randolph Steigerwalt of Tamaqua in the opening round with a pin in 1:51. He then suffered a fall when top-seeded Jonathan Consorti of Wilson decked him in 53 seconds.
However, Brett figured his day wasn’t done. He worked his way through the wrestlebacks and finished fourth in his bracket.
“When I got the top-seeded kid, I got caught early,” he said. “But I knew I could get it back. Being a freshman out there didn’t bother me. I had confidence in myself and my coaches knew I could do it.”
Brett won’t be alone on the trip to Berks County.
Senior Tyler Melendez will be joining him, as he finished third at 120. Melendez, the fourth seed, had a bye in the opening round, then recorded a major decision, 15-0, over Noah Venszi of Pine Grove. His day in the championship round ended when he was the victim of a fall from Notre Dame’s Richie Markulics in 3:19.
Junior 160-pounder Brad Panto and sophomore heavyweight Lavonte Bouie both finished sixth in their respective weight classes. The Roughies also received the team Coaches Association Sportsmanship Award from the district.