Boyertown's Jakob Campbell wins first regional gold

by Dennis Weller, Reading Eagle

Posted on March 5, 2017

Article originally appeared here:

SOUDERTON - Some wrestlers from the Class 3A Southeast Regional who head to Hershey to compete in the PIAA Championships might be a little awestruck when they walk onto the mat at Giant Center for the first time.

But that certainly won't be the case for Boyertown's Jakob Campbell, who will be wrestling in the state championships for the fourth time after winning a gold medal Saturday night at Souderton High School.

Teammates Elijah Jones and Matt Wilde also won championships, as did Nick Duliakas from Owen J. Roberts. They're among 18 wrestlers from the Pioneer Athletic Conference who placed in the top five to earn a trip to Hershey.

"I've been there enough," said Campbell. "I won't be star-struck when I get there. "My dad brought my brother and I up there. We got to go and watch the superstars. It's still surreal every time I'm there."

Campbell won his first regional title -he finished second, third and second the last three years - with a 6-2 decision over Truman's Gunnar Fuss in the 126-pound final.

"I felt pretty confident," said Campbell. "I know he's a tough kid. I had a lot of respect for him. But I had a game plan and everything went perfectly. One more week.

"It's a relief (finally winning a regional championship). But I know all the work my coaches put me through and I think I deserve it."

On the other hand, Duliakas will make his first trip to the state championships.

"It feels awesome," he said. "To not even go last year and to go to Hershey is awesome."

He took charge of the 195-pound final with an early takedown and rode it to a 5-2 decision over Downingtown West's Cole Zapf.

"After that takedown, it was time to go," said Duliakas. "I thought he doesn't want it as much as I do and I took off. Take the points, bring it to him. Ride hard on top and not give him any opportunities to score."

Jones also recorded an early takedown in the 182-pound title match and slowly pulled away for an 8-2 win over Avon Grove's Kevin Edwards.

"This guy is a good wrestler," said Jones. "He has really tough throws. I wanted to stay in motion the entire time. I definitely was just trying to work him hard and wear him down. I take pride in my conditioning."

Jones said he thinks he has improved since losing two straight at states last year.

"Just my offense," he said. "I was a little more timid last year. I've been going after people more and trying to get them tired."

Wilde, who won 4-2 over Downingtown East's Lukas Richie in the 113-pound final, is also ready for another state shot.

"It's been a long season," he said. "Every week, I try to do my best and practice hard in the room and it paid off. I'm blessed and thankful for it and I'm ready to go to states. It's exciting wrestling in the Giant Center for sure, but the goal is to place and get a medal."

Boyertown was second in the team standings (92 points) behind Council Rock South (114.5). OJR finished third (87.5).

Before the match, Boyertown coach Pete Ventresca and assistants John Cooley and Tony Haley were inducted into the Southeast Region Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Other state qualifiers include Boyertown's Hunter Vogels, David Campbell and Chris Berry; OJR's Ryan Resnick, Luke Resnick, Daniel Mancini and Cole Meredith; and Pottsgrove's Ryan Finn.

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