Golden Tide\’s Brothers One of Nine Returning Champs in D9-AA Mat Tourney

CURWENSVILLE – Three projected finalists and seven other wrestlers seeded sixth or higher have Curwensville Area High School coach Duane Wriglesworth II and his assistants looking forward to the 2009 District 9 Class AA Tournament at Clarion University this weekend.
\”Our expectations are high,\” he proclaimed. \”I think we should have a good tournament, just from the feedback that I\’ve been getting from the kids and watching them practice.\”
No. 1 seed Derek Brothers, one of nine returning champions, will seek the 119-pound crown after winning the gold medal at 112 last year as Curwensville\’s only placewinner. He lost in the finals at 103 two years ago.
Freshman 112-pounder Jake Keller and senior 145-pounder Jeff Thomas are second seeds, giving the Golden Tide three potential finalists.
The others would have to exceed their seeds in order to place.
Junior Brett Sutika is fourth at 135. Sophomores Greg Koptchak at 103 and Zack Dimmick 171 are fifth. And seniors Tyler Peters at 125, Jeff Smallwood at 130 and Nathan Russell at heavyweight and junior Wes McGarry at 140 are sixth.
Wriglesworth is counting on some of those seeds to surprise, especially the three seniors.
\”I think where they\’re sitting in the brackets gives them a better opportunity to get in the finals than if they would have gotten a higher seed,\” he said.
Wriglesworth anticipates a much better showing than last year when the Golden Tide, with seven seeds including four among the top four in their weight classes, wound up in an eighth-place tie with Keystone. None of Brothers\’ teammates even made it to the consolation finals.
Wriglesworth cited injuries prior to and during the tourney and some bad luck as factors in the Golden Tide\’s disappointing performance.
It\’s different this year.
\”Right now, we\’re healthy,\” Wriglesworth said. \”We\’ve had some very good practices. The morale is high. And the kids seem upbeat.\”
Curwensville does not have a full lineup as Russell vacated 215.
\”He made the decision to go up,\” Wriglesworth said. \”He thought he had a better shot at going to states at heavyweight than he did at 215. He talked with (heavyweight) Walter Koontz, and Walter was in agreement with that.\”
Curwensville\’s other entries are sophomore Kyle Kyler at 152, senior Justin Smith at 160 and junior Matt Schultz at 189.
Six of last year\’s champs return at the same weight, Smethport\’s Tim Hubbard (125) and Jon-Marc Burdick (140), Coudersport\’s Dirk Cowburn (152), Redbank Valley\’s Logan Shirey (171), Port Allegany\’s Dylan Major (215) and Ridgway\’s Joe Chittester (285). All are seeded No. 1 except Cowburn, a defending PIAA champion who is second to Johnsonburg\’s Josh Woodford because of a 1-0 loss in their Jan. 6 dual meet bout.
Redbank Valley\’s Tyler McCauley (103) has jumped to 119 and Ridgway\’s Garet Pisani (119) is moved up to 130.
Pisani, who is seeking his third district title, is a No. 1 seed. McCauley is seeded behind Brothers.
Nine of last year\’s runners-up are back, too.
They are Johnsonburg\’s Jesse Wolfe (103 in 2008) at 112 and Preston Mahoney (130), Redbank Valley\’s Trevor McCauley (112) at 125, Kasey Haines (135) at 145 and Shane Bowser at 285, Ridgway\’s Zac Zelcs (145) at 160 and Woodford at 152, Brockway\’s Jaron Licatovich at 140 and Kane\’s Ross Nicholson (189) at 215. Wolfe, Zelcs and Nicholson are top seeds.
In addition, eight bronze medalists return.
They are Keystone\’s Garrett McCleary (103) at 112 and Mike Switzer (152) at 160, Redbank Valley\’s Nick McCauley (119) at 135, Brockway\’s Trevor Hartless (130) at 135, Port Allegany\’s Adam Greenman (145) at 160, Cameron County\’s Mike Baker at 160, Ridgway\’s Jake Thompson at 215 and Clarion\’s Mark Divins at 285. Hartless is a No. 1 seed.
The other top seeds are Ridgway\’s Corey Bush at 103 and Brockway\’s Nathan Hartless at 145.
Defending champion Ridgway, with four top seeds, is the team to beat.
Curwensville figures to join Brockway, Redbank Valley, Johnsonburg, Smethport and Port Allegany in the hunt for a Top 5 finish.
Friday\’s marathon first session will begin at 3 p.m. with the preliminary round, followed by the quarterfinals and two consolation rounds.
Survivors will return Saturday morning for the championship semifinals and consolation quarterfinals starting at 10:30. The consolation semifinals will follow.
Action will resume at 5:30 p.m. with the consolation finals. Then, the District 9 Hall of Fame Inductions and the Parade of Champions will precede the championship matches.
Single session ticket prices are $5 for adults and $2 for students. Series tickets for all sessions are $15 for adults and $6 for students.
Champions, runners-up and third-place finishers will advance to the Northwest Region Tournament Sept. 27 and 28 at Sharon High School.

The link to see the brackets for the tournament courtest D9wrestling:

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