KJ Fenstermacher couldn’t have picked a better place to make history.
The Northampton senior 132-pound wrestler won his 150th career match when he pinned Michael Torres of Liberty in 2 minutes, 38 seconds in Friday night’s quarterfinal at the District 11 3A tournament at Liberty’s Memorial Gym.
Fenstermacher, who transferred from Liberty to Northampton before his senior year, hasn’t lost his fondness for the “Cathedral of Wrestling.”
“I always have a good feeling wrestling in this gym,” said the Konkrete Kid senior, now 32-3 on the season. “This isn’t where I wrestle any more at home but to get my 150th win in this gym makes me happy.”
Fenstermacher, who will take on East Stroudsburg South freshman Steven Storm in Saturday’s semifinal round (10:30 a.m.), is one of five happy Konkrete Kids in the semis, along with junior Logan Ninos (113), sophomore Julian Chlebove (120), and seniors Dan Moran (138) and Cade Moisey (170). Northampton, with 13 wrestlers alive overall, stands fourth in the team standings at 99.5 points, just behind Liberty on 100.
Fenstermacher sees more numbers ahead. If he gets to 152, which he would by winning what would be his third D-11 championship Saturday night, he will tie his head coach Seth Lisa’s total. But there’s more.
“My goal is to set the all-time Northampton record (currently 157 by Konkrete Kid 2-time state champion (2003-4) Jon Oplinger),” Fenstermacher said.
To make sure he gets the opportunity to set the mark, Fenstermacher isn’t taking any chances.
“I am not shaving my mustache until I lose again,” he said. “And I was thinking of getting my hair cut this week, but last year I waited until the week before regionals to get it cut and I won the district an the regional so I decided to do the same thing as last year. I am superstitious about these kind of things.”
With a career record of 150-16, Fenstermacher’s superstitions seem to work out just fine.
The semifinal matchup with Storm is intriguing because he and Fenstermacher compete at the same wrestling club, Dark Knights.
“I’d rather not wrestle a friend like that but you just try and go out and win pn the mat and leave everything else behind,” Fenstermacher said. “I am friends with a lot of the guys, Michael Torres, I have been friends with all my life. We’re still friends after we wrestle.”
Speaking of wrestling friends, Fenstermacher and Moran staying at their weights for the postseason
meant no internal competition – which can be intense when those two meet.
“Danny’s a friend of mine too,” Fenstermacher said. “But the last time we wrestled off (Lisa) brought in a real referee to officiate, and he said, ‘I have never seen two kids ranked in the nation wrestling off like this’.”
It couldn’t happen in many places – one reason Fenstermacher continues to make history wrestling in the Lehigh Valley.
Brad Wilson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bradwsports. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.
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