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Matt Fisk Earns All-America Honors



Four members of Team Python, the local freestyle wrestling club, competed at the Freestyle Nationals at Fargo, ND, for Team Pennsylvania. Pictured, from left, are Matt Fisk, Coach Walt Fisk, Mark Armstrong and Matt Lee. Absent from the photo is Tyler Leljedal.



Wyalusing Valley wrestling standout Matt Fisk earned All-America honors with his third-place finish in the Junior Freestyle 119-pound tournament at the USA Wrestling and Asics-Vaughn Junior National Championships at Fargo, ND, during the last week of July.

Three other members of Team Python Freestyle Wrestling Club, a local club coached by Walt Fisk and Josh Fisk, competed at the tournament held at the University of North Dakota's Fargodome.

Matt Lee and Mark Armstrong, a pair of WVHS wrestlers, came within one match of earning All-America status in the Junior Freestyle division at 112 and 130 pounds, respectively. Towanda's Tyler Leljedal competed in the Cadet Freestyle division at 130 pounds.

The four wrestlers qualified for and represented Team Pennsylvania in the tournament. There were 1,230 wrestlers registered for the three-day tournament.

Team Pennsylvania won the Junior Freestyle title with 16 All-Americans.

Walt Fisk was one of Team Pennsylvania coaches. Other coaches included Mike Rogers from Lock Haven University and John Hughes from Penn State.

Fisk, who was competing in his fourth national tournament, rolled through his first seven matches before losing to Chenango Forks, NY, standout Troy Nickerson, 12-2.

Fisk's points in the semifinal were the only ones allowed by Nickerson, who defeated Bloomsburg's Jeff Schell, 11-0, to win the tournament title. Nickerson was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler in both freestyle and Greco-Roman divisions.

Fisk opened the tournament with an 11-0 technical fall over Utah's Justin Griffiths. He reached the semifinals with additional victories over Connecticut's Andrew Jackson (36-second fall); Colorado's Michael Martinez (12-0 technical fall); Kansas' Tim Elliott (12-1 technical fall); Idaho's Shawn Jones (6-4 decision); Maryland's Vincent Cina (10-0 technical fall); Minnesota's Seth Fludeen (11-0 technical fall) and Illinois' Conor Beebe (11-0 technical fall).

He bounced back to close out the tournament with a 10-0 technical fall over Virginia's Nathaniel Barbee and a 6-4 decision over Arizona's Nick Gallick.

This is the third year that Fisk has medaled at nationals. In 2002, he was second in Cadet division. In 2003, he was fifth in the Junior division.

Lee, making his first appearance at the tourney, finished the tournament with a 4-2 record.

He defeated North Carolina's Gabriel Lockett, 11-0; Georgia's Jerun Tillery, 15-4; California's Flip Novochkov, 12-9 and Virginia's Matt Rosen, 11-0.

He lost to West Virginia's Anthony Easter, 15-5, in his second match, and ended the tournament with an 11-0 loss to Illinois' Nick Fanthorpe, who finished seventh, overall.

Armstrong, in his second national tournament, finished with a 5-2 record.

After a 12-2 opening-round loss to Iowa's Mitch Mueller, who eventually finished third, overall, Armstrong scored five straight wins.

The victories were over Wyoming's Ricky Turner, 15-5; Tennessee's Pete Miller, 14-4; Florida's Seve Hewitt, 4:11 fall; Maryland's Doug West, 3:52 fall and Ohio's Albert Madsen, 12-7.

He finished the tournament with an 11-0 loss to Missouri's Zach Bailey, who won the weight class with an undefeated record.

Leljedal, in his second national tournament, finished with an 0-2 record in the Cadet.

He lost to Iowa's Luke Sattern, 11-4, and to Tennessee's Kelly Felix, 7-5. Sattern went on to finish seventh, overall.

The four wrestlers were able to attend the tournament with the help of local donations.

"Many individuals and businesses sponsored the wrestlers," said team spokesperson Kathy Fisk. "These donations made possible the opportunity to compete and represent Pennsylvania at the national level, as well as to be seen by college recruiters and coaches. The wrestlers are grateful for their support."

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