Wrestler tests himself with offseason competition


Saturday, July 22, 2023, TRIB-LIVE

Landon Funk isn’t opposed to any way to keep himself connected with wrestling. What the Fox Chapel junior found this offseason was a unique dual meet competition to be involved with.

Funk, along with teammates Alex Kaufman and Michael Worsen, competed in the Dark Horse Classic, a dual-style match at Washington & Jefferson College.

The event was organized by Wrestling Buddha, a Twitter account dedicated to promoting WPIAL wrestlers.

“We had been communicating because he does rankings during the season,” Funk said. “We had texted and he said to come down to W&J and wrestle and perform in front of college coaches.”

Once Funk confirmed the event was happening, he was able to convince a few of his Fox Chapel teammates to join him.

“I was the first one to hear about it,” Funk said. “The dude was looking for more competition and more matches. I talked to the other guys on my team that wanted to do it.”

Since the event wasn’t a standard event, participants were allowed to work out a catch weight to wrestle at. Funk was paired up with South Fayette’s Brock Dennison. The pair texted and agreed at a weight of 117 pounds.

“We didn’t want to kill ourselves during the offseason with a weight cut,” Funk said. “We went back and forth and ended up settling on a number in the middle.”

Funk’s match with Dennison ended up being one of four contests that needed overtime to settle things. There were 20 folkstyle matches contested running in weight from 115 to 180 pounds.

Funk needed to rally to beat Dennison, who finished last season 30-11 and pinned 14 opponents. In the second period, Funk got caught on his back and fell behind.

He needed a key reversal in the third period to force overtime. A takedown in overtime allowed Funk to grab a win.

“I enjoyed the event,” Funk said. “I can see where I’m stand now.”

Funk was part of Team Buddha, which won the meet, 46-26. Kase Chopp from Butler was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the event.

Funk is coming off a season where he went 31-10 and pinned nine opponents. He placed fourth in the section tournament at 107 pounds but didn’t place at WPIALs.

“I’ve been staying focused in many different ways,” Funk said. “I’ve been staying close to my high school coaches. I’ve been trying to build from every position I can think of in practice.”