SHARON – Curwensville Area High School junior Jake Keller saw his dream of a Northwest Region Class AA Tournament gold medal vanish in one of the big surprises of the opening session Friday at Sharon High School, but the 130-pounder still has a trip to the state tourney in his sights.
Keller, one of three District 9 champions who lost in the quarterfinals, was upset 10-6 by Port Allegany senior Chet Tanner.
What made the outcome a shocker was the fact that Keller had handled Tanner 16-1 for a technical fall in 5:20 at the Clearfield Duals on Jan. 22.
They were the top two seeds for last week’s district tourney, but Tanner was nipped 6-5 in the semifinals by Redbank Valley’s Ty Haines.
Keller then pinned Haines at 5:40 for his second title.
The revenge win was Tanner’s 37th in 40 bouts. His only other loss was 7-1 to Butler’s Jesse Spohn at the Clearfield Duals.
Keller, who pinned Spohn in 2:33 that day, did recover from only his second setback of the season to defeat Haines 10-4 in the consolation second round.
The Golden Tide standout, now 33-2, will have to win three more matches Saturday to claim the bronze medal in order to qualify for the PIAA Class AA Tournament in Hershey next week.
The first will be another rematch against D-9 fourth placer Brodie Zacherl (30-12) of Brookville. Keller shut out the Raider freshman 4-0 in the Jan. 27 dual meet and 14-0 in the district semifinals.
A victory would send him to the consy semis against either Reynolds junior Dylan D’Urso, a two-time PIAA semifinalist seeking his third region crown, or Cochranton junior Matt Bryer, another PIAA placewinner who beat Keller 7-4 in the Fred Bell Tournament semifinals at Grove City on Jan. 29.
D’Urso (40-5) and Bryer (36-3) meet in one semifinal while Tanner takes on District 10 runner-up Taylor Ellis (25-14) of Conneaut Lake in the other.
In this week’s Off The Mat state rankings by Mark Dugan, D’Urso was No. 5, Bryer No. 6 and Keller No. 9.
Brookville’s Trey Constable (112) and Logan Stout (215) were the other District 9 champs who lost in Friday night’s quarterfinals.
District 10, which had all of its titlists and runners-up advance, has 39 semifinalists, and District 9 has the other 17 along with 22 wrestlers in the consolation brackets.
District 8, represented for the first time, was shut out in the quarterfinals, but nine of the Pittsburgh City League’s No. 1 seeds and one runner-up did win their consolation matches.
Action gets under way Saturday morning at 9 o’clock with championship semifinals and consolation quarterfinals. Consolation semifinals will begin at approximately noon.
Evening session times are 4 o’clock for the consolation finals, 5:45 for the Parade of Champions and 6 o’clock for the first title bout.
Complete results courtesy www.crossfacewrestling.net: