Tourney Trail Begins in 9-AA Prelims for 10 Golden Tide Matmen
CURWENSVILLE — Ten of the 12 Curwensville Area High School wrestlers entered in the District 9 Class AA Championships will be in action during the preliminary round that gets under way at noon Friday in Clarion University’s Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium.
Half of them are seeds, No. 2 Jake Lancaster (19-10) paired against Cole Myers (7-6) of Johnsonburg at 126 pounds, No. 3 Tyler Mays (12-11) against Austin Curtis (3-19) of Keystone at 120, No. 5 Trey McKenzie (14-9) against John Welch (5-11) of Kane at 145, No. 5 Austin Pollick (11-11) against Sam Delhunty (11-14) of Ridgway at 182 and No. 7 Nate Wriglesworth (13-12) against Cody Anderson (4-16) of Sheffield at 170.
The other five Golden Tide matmen will be take on seeded opponents, Jason Koptchak (9-13) against No. 4 Dylan Baumgarner (17-4) of Port Allegany at 113, Brandon Sass (6-15) against No. 1 Karl Lightner (25-0) of Smethport at 132, Shawn Ebersole (2-8) against No. 3 Darren Brown (17-5) of Kane at 138, Dakota Royer (8-16) against No. 7 Steve Gregerson (16-12) of Sheffield at 152 and A.J. Bloom (3-8) against No. 5 Kaleb Tucker (15-14) of Cranberry at 285.
Win or lose, all will wrestle at least one more time during the marathon session that includes the championship quarterfinals and two rounds of consolations.
No. 4 seed Sam Bressler (18-9) and No. 6 seed Ricky Magnuson received byes into the quarterfinals.
Bressler will meet No. 5 Austin Woolcock (16-3) of Kane at 106 and Magnuson (8-5) will get the winner of the prelim between No. 3 Matt Baugher (14-2) of Cranberry and Nate Bonfardine (11-15) of Brookville at 220.
None of the Curwensville wrestlers are returning placewinners.
Three dozen of the 171 hopefuls from 16 teams have reached the medal rounds one or more times over the last three years, including 31 of the 33 placewinners who were underclassmen in 2012.
Three-time gold medalist Alex Gular (24-3) of Port Allegany heads the list of nine former champions. He reigned at 145 as a freshman, 152 as a sophomore and 170 as a junior and is back at that same weight.
Also defending titles they won last year are Willie Gruver (29-3) of Redbank Valley at 113, Brock Zacherl (25-4) of Brookville at 138 and Kyle Bova (30-0) of Coudersport at 152.
Evan Delong (20-1) of Kane has moved up to 160 from 145.
All are No. 1 seeds, as are Smethport’s Trent Neely (20-2) at 120 and Karl Lightner (25-0) at 132. Neely ruled at 103 in 2011 and Lightner won at 112 in 2010.
Two former champs are No. 2 seeds, Cody Blankenship (18-3) of Kane at 113 and Zach Vroman (23-4) of Brookville at 145.
Blankenship blanked Neely 4-0 in the Ultimate Tie-Breaker at 106 last year after losing to him 1-0 in the finals at 103 in 2011, while Vroman beat Delong 4-2 in overtime at 140 in 2011.
A pair of two-time runners-up are No. 1 seeds, Ty Haines (28-3) of Redbank Valley at 145 and Nick Budd (26-0) of Port Allegany at 285.
Other top seeds are Taylor Ortz (26-6) of Brookville at 106, Cole Clever (21-5) of Brookville at 126, Aaron Hook (27-2) of Redbank Valley at 182, Jake Wichert (27-1) of Oswayo Valley at 195 and Cal Haines (20-11) of Redbank Valley at 220.
District 9 Class AA Team Duals champion Redbank Valley has the most seeds with 13.
Brookville and Port Allegany each have 11, trailed by Smethport with 10, Curwensville, Brockway, Clarion and Kane with seven apiece, Cameron County, Keystone and Sheffield with six apiece, Coudersport with five and Cranberry, Johnsonburg, Oswayo Valley and Ridgway with four apiece.
Saturday’s starting times are 9:30 a.m. for the championship semifinals and consolation quarterfinals, approximately 12:30 p.m. for the consolation semifinals, 5:30 for the consolation finals and 6:30 for the Parade of Champions that will precede the championship matches.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for adults per session. Series tickets will be available Friday at $15 for adults and $6 for students.