Bracero no longer overlooked

In recent years, Pedro Bracero was always getting overlooked.
The Nanticoke senior was never in the same conversation with wrestlers in his weight class because it always consisted of standouts such as Coughlin’s Josh Popple (state runner-up), Lake-Lehman’s Shane Stark (state third-place), Crestwood’s Mike Mirra and Pittston Area’s Jason Laboranti (both state qualifiers) and Dallas’ Adam Goeringer (regional fourth).
But now, after taking lumps from those previously mentioned, Bracero finally thinks he is making a name for himself. And that started Friday, when he won the 195-pound championship at the Tunkhannock Kiwanis Tournament. He ran his season record to 6-0 with a pin in the finals over Cedar Crest’s Lukas Gerdes in 5:26 after locking him in a cradle.
“It finally feels great after being in everyone’s shadow like Stark, Popple, Mirra, Goeringer, it just feels great,” Bracero said. “I didn’t even expect (the cradle). I just saw it there and went for it and hoped for the best.”
Bracero has used the matches against the other standouts as a learning tool and motivation for this season. He did so with his first varsity tournament championship -- and first overall since junior high -- and the first gold medal for the Trojans at the Kiwanis since 1985.
“It feels fantastic. I feel like I’m a part of history right now,” the Trojan said.
Overall in the tournament, he picked up three falls, including one in the second round and the quarterfinals. In Friday morning’s semifinals, he picked up a 10-2 major decision over Warren County’s Jeffrey Budwash.
He’s still not in the clear as far as stiff competition goes, with a likely match up against another state qualifier next weekend at the Wyoming Valley Conference Tournament in Hazleton Area senior Chad Hoffman. But he knows the past matches could help him the next time around.
“I look forward to him,” Bracero said about a possible matchup with Hoffman. “I got to make sure I don’t wrestle with a hot head and wrestle to my ability.”

Wrestling capsule
Times Leader
Nanticoke (2A)

Coach: Joe Ebert, 7th year Last Year: 2-4 Division II; 14-5 overall

Key Losses: James McMoore, Kyle Koviack

Key Wrestlers: Josh Allabaugh, Sr.; Rich Badowski, Sr.; Josh Benscoter, Fr.; Giacomo Bova, So.; Pedro Bracero, Sr.; Joey Brady, Jr.; Mike Colatosti, Jr.; Drew DiRocco, Jr.; Anthony Edwards, So.; Kyle Gavrish, So.; Kyle Hamilton, Sr.; Jimmy Hauer, Sr.; Cory Irish, Fr.; Klayton Kasprzyk, Sr.; Dylan Keller, Sr.; Ronnie Kotz, Fr.; Thomas LAcomy, Jr.; Brian Maslowski, Sr.; Justin Phillips, Sr.; Zack Stavetski, So.; Maurice Wood, Jr.

Outlook: This is the season coach Joe Ebert, his staff and the team have been waiting for with a slew of grapplers back for another go around and plenty of depth. The Trojans only lost a few seniors from 2010-11 and could be a sleeper pick for the division championship.