DUBOIS, Pa. – The 2019-2020 District 9 Class 2A and District 4/I9 Class 3A Wrestling team championships are scheduled for this Saturday, Feb. 1 in DuBois, with the winning team in each classification advancing to the State Dual Meet Tournament in Hershey. (Feb. 7-9).
(Photo: The 2019 Brookville D9 Class 2A dual meet championship team. Brookville has won six straight District 9 Class 2A dual meet team titles)
Competition begins in Class 2A at 10:00 a.m. when Johnsonburg meets Curwensville in a quarterfinal match.
The winner of that match-up will take on Brookville in the semifinals at 12:30 p.m. The other semifinal, also at 12:30 p.m., pits Redbank Valley against Port Allegany. The finals are slated to commence at 3:00 p.m.
Clearfield vs. St. Marys kicks-off the Class 3A side of things at 11:15 a.m. in a quarterfinal.
Whoever wins that match squares off against Selinsgrove at 1:45 p.m. in one semifinal, with the other semifinal between DuBois and Williamsport occurring simultaneously. The Class 3A finals are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.
All rankings are from the Jan. 22 posting by PA Power Wrestling (PAPW), with no attempt made to account for any descent plans which may currently be in place or bumping that might situationally occur during each team’s match. Records are up-to-date as of Jan. 29 on PA-Wrestling.com.
CLASS 2A PREVIEW
1. Brookville Raiders (19-2)
Brookville comes into this weekend’s tournament looking to win a seventh consecutive district team championship knowing they’ve downed all the other Class 2A squads with the exception of Port Allegany (who they have yet to face), entered in the event.
According to Coach Dave Klepfer, the Raiders are close to being at full strength after battling injuries.
Brookville, the 11th-ranked dual meet team in the state, has a balanced line-up with very few holes.
The upper weights are led by Colby Whitehill, PAPW’s top-ranked heavyweight. He is joined by the state’s third-ranked 220-pounder, Nathan Taylor, and the 25th-ranked 182-pounder, Elliot Park. Nestled in between Park and Taylor is Bryce Rafferty, 10th in the NW Region at 195 pounds.
At the other end of the line-up sits PAPW’s 11th-ranked 120-pounder, Owen Reinsel. He is sandwiched by Cayden Walter, 12th in the state at 113 pounds, and Brayden Kunselman, 24th at 126 pounds. Logan Oakes has garnered regional recognition at 106 pounds being ranked eighth.
In the middleweights, Klepfer will be relying on a pair of Wyatts, Wyatt Kulick, ranked 10th in the region at 150 pounds, and Wyatt Griffin, ranked 13th in the region at 160 pounds. Jackson Zimmerman, the NW Region’s 11th ranked 170-pounder, will also play a prominent role in setting up the big boys.
“The district has some parity this year and we are excited for the opportunity to compete against some very good teams,” Klepfer said.
2. Redbank Valley (16-2)
The Bulldogs’ lineup features three state-ranked wrestlers and is dotted with regionally-recognized standouts throughout.
PAPW has Ethan Wiant (145 pounds) at seventh in the state, Aiden Gardner (195pounds) ninth, and Kobe Bonanno (285 pounds) 24th.
Five Redbank Valley grapplers, primarily light and middleweights, are ranked in the NW Region, including 106-pounder Cole Bish (sixth), 113-pounder Ridge Cook (eighth), 126-pounder Trenten Rupp (11th), 132-pounder Dalton Bish (12th), and 138-pounder Kris Shaffer (11th).
Redbank Valley has not faced its first-round opponent, Port Allegany, this season.
3. Port Allegany (9-2)
Last year’s District 9 runner-up returns to this season’s district team championship as PAPW’s 19th- ranked dual meet squad in the state.
No wonder Coach Brad Greenman is confident his team has the talent to compete with any team in the district.
The Gators are especially solid from the lightweights through the lower middleweights.
From 106 pounds to 145 pounds, Port Allegany features three state-ranked wrestlers: Chase Weimer (24th at 106 pounds), Bryent Johnson (fifth at 113 pounds), and Braedon Johnson (16th at 126 pounds).
Three other wrestlers in that seven-class span, 132-pounder Isaiah Caden (ninth in the NW), 138-pounder Eli Petruzzi (fourth in the NW), and 145-pounder Montgomery Tanner (10th in the NW), have garnered regional recognition.
The upper weights are anchored by Derek Kallenborn (11th in the NW Region at 195 pounds) and Justin Young (18th in the state at 220 pounds).
“This year should be a time when all the teams at team districts have the ability to compete so it should make for an exciting weekend,” Greenman said. “Of course, Brookville is at the top, but I think the other four teams have all taken a step in the right direction to challenge them.”
4. Johnsonburg Rams (15-4)
The Rams, ranked 22nd in the state by PAPW, wrestled well at last weekend’s Ultimate Warrior Tournament, finishing third as a team.
Coach Mike Votano reported his squad has been steadily improving over the course of the past few weeks, especially the younger grapplers at the lower weights where Wyatt Shaffer, 25th in the state at 106 pounds, is the standout.
The strength of Johnsonburg’s line-up might be in the middle through the lower upper weights.
In the eight classes from 132 pounds to 195 pounds, the Rams feature three state-ranked wrestlers and five that are regionally ranked.
Those with state rankings are 152-pounder Aiden Zimmerman (15th), 160-pounder Cole Casilio (11th), and 172-pounder Tyler Watts (23rd). Nolan Shaffer (10th at 132 pounds), Dalton Stahli (fifth at 138 pounds), Kaden Dennis (ninth at 145 pounds), Isaac Zimmerman (ninth at 170 pounds), and Cameron Marciniak (twelfth at 195 pounds) are ranked in the NW Region. Collecting bonus points will be critical if the Rams have any expectation of winning the duals.
“We believe we have the team to compete for the district title, but our kids will have to show up and perform at the highest levels to make up for the points we will be giving up to forfeits,” Votano said.
Johnsonburg beat its first-round opponent, Curwensville, 48-30 in mid-December.
5. Curwensville Golden Tide (9-8)
Despite the season’s grind, Coach Dean Swatworth relayed that his charges are still working hard to improve in the practice room.
One of their goals in so doing was to put together a season that met the program’s internal qualifications to wrestle at the district duals.
Now that they have achieved that goal, the Golden Tide will be relying on contributions from all involved, but most especially Jake Carfley (ninth in the NW Region at 106 pounds) and Jake McCracken (22nd in the state at 170 pounds).
Swatworth knows his team is somewhat of a long shot.
“At this point in our team’s development, it would be a tall task for us to win this tournament,” Swatworth said. “We are still a young team, and we are looking to gain some valuable competitive experience in this tournament. We would need to put it all together. Each match, all of our kids would need to perform to their potential or above.”
CLASS 3A PREVIEW
1. Selinsgrove Seals (9-2)-District 4
The Seals, last year’s runner-ups, are healthy and motivated according to Coach Seth Martin.
“We are ready to do our best in trying to win a district title,” Martin said.
Martin knows that will not necessarily be an easy task.
“We also are aware of the teams we face and how competitive they are,” Martin said. “While this tournament may not have many teams in it, all of the teams involved have a legitimate shot at winning on any given day.”
On paper, the strength of the Seals’ line-up appears to be the upper weights, which feature two wrestlers ranked in PAPW’s top 10, Nate Schon the No. 1 220-pounder in the state and Coy Bastian the No. 8 170-pounder.
Occupying a spot between Schon and Bastian is Ryan Aument, the fourth-ranked 195-pounder in the NW Region.
Notable amongst the Seals’ lightweights is Aiden Gaugler, ranked 21st in the state at 120 pounds.
Martin will be on the look-out for the best match-ups possible in his team’s duals, knowing this, and earning bonus points, are a must if the Seals are to make the trip to Hershey.
2.DuBois Beavers (7-1)-District 9
The DuBois line-up has two wrestlers considered to be among the best in the state, Ed Scott (first at 152 pounds) and Trenton Donahue (sixth at 132 pounds). Alex O’Harah also has a state ranking, 23rd at 285 pounds.
Three Beaver middleweights are regionally ranked in their classes, 138-pounder Chandler Ho (fourth), 145-pounder Austin Mitchell (fourth), and 160-pounder Gauge Gulvas (eighth). Garrett Starr, the third-ranked 182-pounder in the NW Region, serves as a strong gate into the upper weights.
3. Williamsport Millionaires (7-1)-District 4
In Coach Brian Nasdeo’s words, the Millionaires are “feeling pretty good and wrestling well” heading into the district duals.
Williamsport, the defending District 4/9 team champion, features the most PAPW state-ranked wrestlers of the five Class 3A squads.
On the lighter side is Cael Nasdeo, 24th at 106 pounds.
In the middle are Riley Bower, ninth at 138 pounds, and Will Marrone, 25th at 145 pounds.
Charles Crews, the 22nd-ranked 285-pounder, anchors the upper end of the line-up.
Bolstering the Millionaires in the lighter weight classes are 113-pounder Luke Segraves and 120-pounder Carter Weaver (ranked sixth in the NW Region).
Owen Mahon (152 pounds) will be counted on to support the middle of Williamsport’s line-up.
“We need to beat some wrestlers we aren’t supposed to beat,” Nasdeo said. “We also need to minimize giving up bonus points.”
Williamsport beat top-seeded Selinsgrove on Wednesday (Jan. 29), 42-33.
4. Clearfield Bison (8-5)-District 9
Clearfield’s roster includes a pair of PAPW state-ranked grapplers, Oliver Billotte is 12th at 220 pounds and Mark McGonigal 15th at 160 pounds.
Hayden Kavolick is ranked sixth in the NW Region at 170 pounds.
Other key contributors in the Bison line-up are 106-pounder Evan Davis, 120-pounder Nolan Barr, and 132-pounder Karson Kline.
Clearfield beat Saint Marys, its first-round opponent, 39-24 at the beginning of January.
5. St. Marys Flying Dutchmen (5-5)-District 9
St. Marys has been battling injuries all season but is entering the duals with what Coach Dominic Surra termed a “continual improvement mentality.”
The Dutchmen’s strength appears to be in the middle and upper weights.
Lane Dellaquilla (132 pounds) will be counted upon to get St. Marys going once things swing around to the middleweights.
After Dellaquilla, several regionally-ranked wrestlers populate the mid-portion of the line-up, including Gregory Tettis (eighth at 138 pounds), Tylor Herzing (third at 145 pounds) and Johnny Wittman (fourth at 152 pounds).
The Dutchmen are solid through the upper end, led by the state’s 24th-ranked 195-pounder, Jeremy Garthwaite. He is joined by a pair of NW Region standouts, Waylon Wehley (fifth at 182 pounds) and Alex Lukachunis (eighth at 220 pounds).
Surra will be taking things on a match-by-match basis this weekend.
“It is going to take a great team effort from our group to win,” Surra said.