CURWENSVILLE – District 9 wrestling champions Steve Keller and Derek Brothers of Curwensville find themselves in brackets loaded with returnees for this weekend’s Northwest Region Class AA Wrestling Tournament at Sharon High School.
Both Golden Tide hopefuls are paired against the District 10 fourth-place finishers.
Keller (14-2), a sophomore 112-pounder who missed most of the regular season because of a broken leg, will get Ian Abplanalp (29-10) of Grove City.
Brothers (30-3), a senior 125-pounder seeking his third region crown and fourth trip to the state tourney, draws soph Matt Bryer (35-6) of Cochranton.
Brothers was region champ at 103 as a freshman and 112 the next year and then lost in the finals at 119 last year. He’s a two-time PIAA placewinner, eighth in 2007 and fifth in 2009.
Bryer, who placed fourth at 112 last year, was seeded first for the District 10 Section 2 tourney but was beaten 3-1 in the finals by soph Dylan D’Urso (35-6) of Reynolds.
D’Urso made the big jump from 103 to win his second D-10 title. He placed fourth at the states in 2009.
D-9 runner-up Tyler McCauley (33-6) of Redbank Valley, D-9 third placer Kyle Caggiano (24-13) of Ridgway and D-10 are the other 125-pounders with experience at the region level.
McCauley, a senior, placed fourth at 119 in 2009, while Elker soph Caggiano was 0-2 at 112.
Last week, Brothers beat Caggiano 7-1 in the semis and McCauley 1-0 in the finals.
Keller’s first opponent is one of five returnees, Abplanalp having bowed out 0-2 at 119 last year.
Two-time region champ and two-time PIAA placewinner Mason Beckman (42-0) is the wrestler to beat in the other half of the bracket. Beckman, a junior with three D-10 titles, was the state runner-up at 103 in 2008 and third at 112 last year.
Three matmen who competed in the 2009 tourney at 112 are up a weight. Brookville soph Brett Smith (24-8) and Saegertown junior Sean Byham (34-5) were 1-2 while Johnsonburg junior Jesse Wolfe (27-2) was 0-2.
Keller beat Wolfe 3-0 in last week’s D-9 finals after blanking Smith 4-0 in the semis.
The tourney brings together the top three placewinners from District 9 and the top five from District 10 for Friday’s 6 p.m. quarterfinals.
The top three finishers from Saturday’s two sessions will travel to Hershey next week for the PIAA Class AA Tournament in the Hershey Giant Center.
Action begins at 9:15 a.m. with the championship semifinals and first round of consolations, followed by the consolation semifinals at noon. The consolation finals are set for 4:15 p.m. and the championship matches at 6.
The complete AA bracket courtesy the District 9 wrestling website: http://www.leaguelineup.com/d9w/files/2010%20Northwest%20Regional%20Tournament%20Brackets.pdf