CURWENSVILLE – Top seed Derek Brothers will lead Curwensville Area High School’s 11-wrestler contingent into the 2009 District 9 Class AA Tournament that gets under way Friday afternoon in Clarion University’s Tippin Gymnasium.
The senior 125-pounder is seeking his third consecutive title, having ruled at 112 in 2008 and 119 last year.
Brothers (27-3) received a bye for the preliminary round, which will begin at three o’clock, and will take on the winner of the match between eighth seed Will Hulings (14-7) of Kane and Caleb Hauss (12-16) of Cameron County in the quarterfinals that will immediately follow the prelims.
Two rounds of consolation bouts will complete the marathon first session.
The Golden Tide’s sixth-seeded sophomore 112-pounder Greg Koptchak (6-5) and seventh-seeded freshman 135-pounder Hunter McCracken (9-18) also will not step on to one of the three mats until the quarterfinals.
Koptchak, who placed fourth at 103 last year, is pitted against No. 3 seed Nick Schrecengost (17-9) of Redbank Valley, while McCracken will get No. 2 seed Quinton O’Rourke (25-4) of Johnsonburg. O’Rourke was fourth at 119 a year ago.
A trio of seeds are among the eight Curwensville matmen slated for preliminary matches.
Soph Jake Keller (10-2), who just missed a trip to the Northwest Region tourney with a 3-1 loss in the consy finals last year, is the No. 4 seed at 119, junior Kyle Kyler (11-14) is No. 7 at 152 and soph Jason Baker (4-4) is No. 8 at 140.
Keller will meet Dominic Galluzzi (4-12) of Cameron County for the right to test No. 5 seed Slade Horner (14-14) of Ridgway, Baker takes on Dylan Buffington (1-9) of Brookville with No. 1 seed Tanner Hannold (30-6) of Keystone awaiting the winner and Kyler goes against Mitch Minich (3-22) of Brookville with the winner to face either No. 2 seed D.J. Skraba (22-11) of Ridgway or Lee Foltz (14-16) of Clarion.
The luck of the draw didn’t favor two Golden Tide wrestlers, who are paired against No. 1 seeds right away.
Senior 145-pounder Wes McGarry (12-12) meets Alex Gunter (26-9) of Clarion and soph 160-pounder Alex Holland (10-14) gets two-time district and state champion Dirk Cowburn (38-1) of Coudersport.
Curwensville’s other pairings pit soph 130-pounder Alex Holt (5-11) against No. 7 seed Brandon Goodreau (17-14) of Port Allegany, soph 171-pounder Chad Desmett (5-16) against No. 5 seed Marcus Smerker (19-13) of Clarion and senior heavyweight Brian Zemba against No. 4 seed Aaron Burnside (18-9) or Cameron County.
Three Golden Tide matmen are unable to compete because of injuries. They are seniors Brett Sutika (140) and Jonathan Michaels (189) and freshman Jordan Russell (103).
In addition to Brothers and Cowburn, five more champs are among the 31 returning placewinners.
They are Clarion’s Mike Bauer (24-12) at 112, Brookville’s Brett Smith (20-7) at 119 and Ridgway’s three-time gold medalist Garet Pisani (28-2) at 135, Zack Zelcs (27-5) at 171 and two-time titlist Joe Chittester (31-0) at 285.
All are up a weight except Chittester.
And all are No. 1 seeds except Bauer, who is No. 4.
Rounding out the top seeds are Ridgway’s Corey Bush (28-3) at 103, Smethport’s Karl Lightner (23-3) at 112, Redbank Valley’s Trevor McCauley (34-2) at 130, Port Allegany’s Adam Greenman (29-6) at 152, Brookville’s Jacob Shields (5-0) at 189 and Brockway’s Joel Yahner (34-5) at 215.
McCauley, Shields and Yahner lost in the finals last year.
Chittester and Shields, who missed most of the season because of a wrist injury, own the only perfect records.
The once-beatens are Cowburn and two Johnsonburg hopefuls, second-seeded 119-pounder Jesse Wolfe (24-1) and third-seeded 130-pounder Max Zimmerman (29-1).
Cowburn’s only loss was 5-0 to Lewisburg’s Nathaniel Brown, who is 31-0 with 27 falls.
Wolfe’s lone setback was 4-2 to Port Allegany’s Chester Tanner (33-2), the third seed at 125.
Tanner is one of three seeds with more than 30 wins in Brothers’ bracket. Redbank Valley’s Tyler McCauley (31-5) is No. 2 and Keystone’s John Stiglitz (33-5) is No. 5.
Brothers shut out McCauley 3-0 in the 2009 finals.
District 9 Team Duals champion Ridgway (20-3 in dual meets) has all 14 wrestlers seeded, one more than Port Allegany (13-14).
Redbank Valley (7-2) is third with 10, followed by Brockway (7-4) with nine, Clarion (12-8) and Cameron County (9-15) with eight apiece, Johnsonburg (15-10) and Coudersport (5-11) with seven apiece, Curwensville (5-15), Smethport (6-5) and Brookville (1-15) with six apiece, Keystone (3-18) with five, Kane (2-12) with four, Cranberry (4-10) with three and Sheffield (2-20) and Oswayo Valley (1-21) with two apiece.
The complete AA bracket courtesy the District 9 Wrestling Website:
Ridgway, Port Allegany and Cameron County are the only teams with full lineups.
Saturday’s timetable shows the consolation quarterfinals at 10:30 a.m., the consolation semifinals at 12:30 p.m., the consolation finals at 5:30, the Parade of Champions at 6:30 and then the championship matches.
Admission will be $5 for adults and $2 for students per session.
District 9 champs, runners-up and third placers will advance to the Northwest Region Tournament March 5-6 at Sharon High School.