CLARION — Junior 138-pounder Jake Lancaster was the lone Curwensville Area High School wrestler to survive the quarterfinals of the District 9 Class AA Championships Friday afternoon.
He won‘t be alone on the Tippin Gym mats Saturday morning, though, as six of his teammates bounced back with wins in the second round of consolations to earn return trips, too.
Advancing to the consolation quarterfinals with two wins in three bouts were Sam Bressler at 126 pounds, Tyler Mays at 132, Hunter Lancaster at 152, upstart Dakota Royer at 160, Jake Stiles at 170 and Ben Junod at 182.
Jake Lancaster (18-9), seeded fifth despite being a returning champ, breezed into the semifinals by taking down Prince Brooks of Clarion three times in a 7-2 victory and then cradling No. 4 seed Justin Westerburg of Kane for a 44-second fall.
He will be facing the most daunting challenge possible in the 9:30 session.
Two-time titlist and 2013 PIAA silver medalist Brock Zacherl (32-2) of Brookville is the No. 1 seed. And he is ranked No. 1 in the state by Off the Mat.
Squaring off in the bottom half of the bracket will be No. 2 Adam Shunk (21-7) of Smethport and No. 6 Brian Fries (25-8) of Sheffield.
Fries slipped past No. 3 Luke Gallo of Redbank Valley to join Jake Lancaster among the seven semifinalists who knocked off higher seeds.
The unseeded Bressler (12-4) came within 12 seconds of dropping two seeds into the consolations at a weight that had 13 entries with winning records.
After upending No. 5 seed Hunter Freer of Coudersport 8-2 with an ankle-pick takedown and near fall in the first period and a breakaway and another takedown in the second period, the Golden Tide junior took down No. 4 Paul Etchepare of Cameron County twice for a 4-2 lead and chose the neutral position for the third period.
Etchepare (25-2), who blanked Bressler 6-0 in the Brockway Big Dog Tournament finals in late December, was able to engineer a late takedown to send the match into overtime, which he ended with another takedown with 12 seconds showing on the clock.
Bressler shook off the tough defeat and remained in the hunt for a second trip to the Northwest Regional Tournament with a 16-1 technical fall against Coudersport’s Andrew Fry. He needed only 3:33 to rack up four takedowns and four near falls.
The Golden Tide coaching staff had to be as happy, if not more so, with Royer. The unseeded senior has taken his lumps through a rugged season but persevered to double his win total by outlasting No. 8 seed Evan Redding of Keystone in a wild 13-11 match that was decided by his second-period counter for a takedown and near fall and flattening Port Allegany’s Matt Main at 1:17 of his consy match. His loss was by fall to Coudersport’s Kyle Bova (27-0), a two-time district king and returning PIAA runner-up.
A trio of No. 7-seeded Curwensville matmen were sidetracked by No. 2 seeds in the quarters and then responded with dominating victories.
Mays (17-12) came back from a 14-0 loss to Brockway’s Mason Lindenmuth to build a 12-1 lead against Sheffield’s Kyle Holden before pinning him at 4:17, Hunter Lancaster (12-12) just missed decking Kane’s Joey Newton twice in a 10-4 decision after being pinned by Port Allegany’s Mac Tanner and Stiles (12-16) rebounded from being a fall victim of Brockway’s Anthony Benson to log a pin of his own in just 43 seconds against Coudersport’s Cameron Kockler.
All three had convincing wins in the preliminaries, Mays shutting out Redbank Valley’s Austin Schreckengost 7-0, Lancaster stacking Ridgway’s Brandon Castro at 1:23 with a double arm bar and Stiles pinning Cameron County’s Tucker Britton at 2:44.
No. 5 seed Junod (13-15) opened by pinning Clarion’s Will Staub at 3:50 for his sixth consecutive win and his ninth in his last 10 matches and was in a tight 3-1 match with Brookville’s Noah Cieleski when the No. 4 seed worked a tilt to register a pin at 4:51.
Junod responded by putting on a takedown clinic – 11 in all – against Sheffield’s Cody Anderson for a 26-10 technical fall in 4:43.
The season ended for four Golden Tide wrestlers.
Jeff Harvey (106), Jordan Peters (145), Remington McGarry (220) and Seth Connors (285) were 0-2.
Heavily-favored Brookville leads the team title chase with 11 semifinalists.
Redbank Valley and Kane follow with eight and seven, respectively.
The biggest upset of the six-hour session came at 126 as No. 7 seed Jack Glasl of Brockway took down No. 2 Tanner Altobelli of Redbank Valley in overtime for a 3-1 win.
No. 3 seeds were knocked off at 126, 182 and 185.
Consolation finals for both Class AA and AAA will begin at for 5 p.m., and the gold medal matches will follow the Parade of Champions that is scheduled for 6:30.
The top four Class AA finishers will advance to the Northwest Region Tournament at Sharon High School next weekend.
Complete brackets can be found here courtesy of Bob Imhof and the Ridgway Wrestling site: