CURWENSVILLE — Top seed Shae Bloom and fourth seed Jake Lancaster, both former champions, will lead the Curwensville Area High School wrestling team into the 2015 District 9 Class AA Tournament booked for Friday and Saturday in Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium on the Clarion University campus.
Bloom, a junior 138-pounder, will be seeking his third district gold medal as he reigned in Class AAA at 106 and 126 the last two years for DuBois.
Lancaster, a senior 152-pounder, is eyeing a return to the top of the winner’s stand after failing to place at 138 last year as a returning champion. He won the 126 title in 2013.
Bloom (25-2) has lost only to state-ranked John (Giovanni) Ciotti of General McLane (Class AAA) and Keith Batkowski of Montoursville (Class AA), both 3-2 decisions, at the Clearfield Duals.
He’s racked up 22 bonus-point wins with the lone regular decisions 3-1 over No. 2 seed Cole Clever of Brookville and 4-0 over No. 3 seed Paul Etchepare of Cameron County.
Lancaster (10-4) missed nine dual meets as well as the Fred Bell Tournament at Grove City because of an injury, with two of the losses by fall to No. 6 seed Cody McClintick of Brockway.
Bloom, who is No. 6 in this week’s Off The Mat state rankings, gets Chris Kennedy (5-9) of Johnsonburg in the preliminaries. His next opponent will be No. 8 seed Sam Lander (14-9) of Cranberry or Zach Dotterer (2-6) of Clarion.
Lancaster received a first-round bye and will meet either No. 5 seed Eli Knapp (12-8) of Port Allegany or Bradon Casto (0-7) of Ridgway in the quarterfinals.
Four Golden Tide matmen were accorded lower seeds by the head coaches Sunday.
Junior Hunter Lancaster at 160, sophomore Kaleb Witherite at 170 and junior Ben Junod at 182 were tabbed No. 7 and freshman Anthony Winebold at 106 filled the No. 8 slot.
In the preliminary round, Lancaster (11-14) will meet Ryder Howard (10-13) of Oswayo Valley, Witherite (18-12) goes against Justin Elder (8-5) of Smethport and Junod (10-14) takes on Duncan Catalano (7-11) of Cameron County.
The first bout for Winebold (9-14) will be in the quarterfinals against No. 1 seed Gavin Park (24-7) of Brookville.
Other pairings for Golden Tide entries pit junior Seth Woolcock (6-20) against No. 7 seed Travis Crate (17-7) of Cranberry at 113, soph Jeremy Gardner (4-19) against No. 2 seed Josh Hancock (23-4) of Cranberry at 120, soph Ethan Collins (1-17) against No. 5 seed Kyle Bryan (13-12) of Cranberry at 126, senior Sam Bressler (20-8) against No. 8 seed Zachery Huegel (15-13) of Cranberry at 145, senior Jake Stiles (7-11) against No. 7 seed Jacy Langley (22-7) of Cameron County at 195 and senior Seth Connors (5-11) against No. 2 seed Brylee Shumaker (29-3) of Redbank Valley at 285.
In addition to Bloom and Jake Lancaster, five other standouts will be out to claim additional gold medals.
Brookville 120-pounder Taylor Ortz (31-2) has his sights set on becoming a three-time champ after ruling at 106 and 113 the last two years.
Teammate Bryce Town (19-5) is defending his 220 title, while 2014 champ Ryan Carlson (23-3) of Brockway has moved up a weight to 113.
Brockway 170-pounder Anthony Benson (25-2) and Redbank Valley 220-pounder Cal Haines (23-8) won titles in 2013 but lost in the finals last February.
All are No. 1 seeds except Haines, who is No. 3 behind Town and Ethan Budd (25-0) of Port Allegany.
Rounding out the list of top seeds are Tanner Altobelli (26-6) of Redbank Valley at 126, Mason Lindenmuth (23-2) of Brockway at 132, James Duffy (26-1) of Smethport at 145, Keshon Truitt (25-4) of Redbank Valley at 160, Zach Stieglitz (25-3) of Keystone at 182, Zach Sintobin (22-6) of Clarion at 195 and Jack Karsten (26-1) of Cameron County at 285.
Brookville is the overwhelming favorite to cart off the team title with four No. 1 seeds, four No. 2 seeds, three No. 3 seeds and one No. 4 seed.
Redbank Valley can match Brookville‘s 12 seeds but has only two top seeds and three others in the top four.
Friday’s marathon session will get under way at 3 p.m. with the preliminaries, followed by the quarterfinals and two consolation rounds.
Saturday’s action starts at 10 a.m. with the semifinals on two mats and the consolation quarterfinals on a third mat. Consolation semifinals are set for noon.
The evening session includes the Class AA and Class AAA consolation finals at 5 p.m. and the District 9 Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductions prior to the Parade of Champions and then the championship matches for both classes on adjacent mats.
Gates open one hour prior to each season, with tickets $6 for adults and $3 for students. Series tickets can be purchased on Friday.
Click here for a complete set of brackets, courtesy Ridgway Wrestling.