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Want to count the number of Lebanon County residents who, over the years, have won a wrestling match at the state tournament?

Well let’s put it this way – you’ll need that second hand, but you won’t have to take off your socks or shoes.

On Thursday, Elco junior heavyweight Wes Bankus became a member of that exclusive club, and he did it in fine fashion. Bankus pinned Saul Wilkins, a junior out of Wilkes-Barre GAR with 11 seconds left in the first period, in the very first match he ever wrestled at the PIAA Championships at Hershey’s Giant Center.

Bankus started fast, registering a takedown of Wilkins in the bout’s opening ten seconds. Then in the middle of the first period, Bankus turned Wilkins to his back, setting up the eventual fall.

Unfortunately for Bankus, his postseason run reached a conclusion the following day. Bankus was edged 4-3 by Jake Beistel of Southmoreland in their Class AA quarterfinal bout, then was eliminated by Fairfield’s Brett Harris via a pin.

Through his performance, Bankus finished among the top 12 Class AA heavyweights in the state. A Lebanon County champion, Bankus finished fifth at the Class AA Southcentral regional tournament, third at the District Three championships and came in fourth at his sectional meet.

Bankus ended his campaign with a 44-15 mark.


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