CURWENSVILLE — District 9 champion Shae Bloom and third-placers Jake Lancaster and Ben Junod of Curwensville will see some familiar faces but will have to wade through some stiff opposition from District 10 wrestlers to attain success at the Northwest Region Class AA Tournament in Sharon High School Friday and Saturday.
Bloom, a 28-2 junior 138-pounder who earned two Northwest Region Class AAA gold medals for DuBois the last two years, has three-time PIAA Class AA placewinner Tyler Vath of Saegertown lurking in the other half of his bracket.
Vath (37-6, 161-24 career) won his fourth D-10 crown Monday night and is shooting for his fourth region title. He reigned at 106 in 2012, 120 in 2013 and 132 last year.
The Edinboro University recruit is No. 2 and Bloom is No. 4 in this week’s Off The Mat state rankings.
To set up a possible showdown, Bloom will have to beat Sharpsville freshman Cameron Prebble (25-12), the D-10 sixth-placer, in the quarterfinals and either D-10 runner-up Isaac Bengel (27-15) of Fort LeBoeuf or D-9 third-place Luke Gallo (27-11) of Redbank Valley in the semifinals.
Bengel, ranked No. 14, was pinned by Vath at 3:29 in the D-10 finals.
Lancaster, a senior 152-pounder, is making his second appearance at the regionals. He lost both bouts his sophomore season after winning the D-9 gold medal at 126.
Roadblocks in his half of the bracket are Reynolds sophomore Joel Leise (10-5), the D-10 runner-up, in the quarterfinals and, if victorious, probably Brookville senior Jimmy Miller (31-6), the D-9 champ. Miller is ranked No. 5.
The favorite in the bottom half is Reynolds’ No. 9-ranked sophomore Blake Reynolds (30-5). He made a first-period takedown stand up for a 3-1 win over Leise for the D-10 crown.
Junod, a 13-15 junior, couldn’t have hand-picked a tougher bracket for his region debut, for three returning champions battled for the D-10 title.
Franklin junior Dakota Geer (30-1) made the drop from 195 and posted a 6-0 shutout against Fort LeBoeuf senior and defending champ Garrette Reinwald (33-7) in the gold medal match. Reinwald handed Greenville junior Gage Gladysz (34-1) his first loss in a 2-1 overtime semifinal bout.
Geer is ranked No. 6, Reinwald is No. 10 and Gladysz, who placed third after moving up from 160, is No. 11.
Like his teammates, Junod received a bye into the quarterfinals, where he is paired against Reinwald. D-9 champ Michael Martino (22-3) of Brockway also is in the upper half of the bracket.
Vath is one of six returning champions.
The others are Ryan Carlson of Brockway, up from 106 to 113; Taylor Ortz of Brookville, up from 113 to 120; Jarrette Carter of Fort LeBoeuf, up from 120 to 132; Dylan Reynolds of Saegertown, up from 182 to 195, and Cole Rickert of Reynolds at 220.
Carlson and Rickert are district runners-up, while Carter placed third behind three-time D-10 champ Michael Bartolo of Reynolds.
Friday’s session begins at 5:30 with pigtail bouts, two per weight, on four mats, with quarterfinals to follow.
Saturday’s starting times are 9 a.m. for the consolation pigtails and championship semifinals, 11:30 for consolation quarterfinals, 3:30 p.m. for consolation finals and 5:30 for the championships.
The top four in each weight class will advance to the PIAA Class AA Tournament in Hershey’s Giant Center next week.