SHARON — Curwensville Area High School junior 138-pounder Shae Bloom began his quest for a Northwest Region Class AA Wrestling Tournament title with a solid major decision at Sharon High School Friday night.
The District 9 champion owned a 7-0 lead after one period en route to a 13-2 major decision against Sharpsville freshman Cameron Prebble, who placed sixth in District 10.
Bloom (29-2) followed the initial takedown with a cradle for two back points and then turned Prebble with a wing-and-half for a near fall.
The Golden Tide standout added three more takedowns, two in the second period and one in the third period, while surrendering only two escapes.
“He looked pretty sharp,” Curwensville coach Dean Swatsworth said.
Bloom will get D-9 bronze medalist Luke Gallo (28-12) of Redbank Valley in the semifinals, which are slated to begin after the 9 a.m. pigtail consolations Saturday.
The Bulldog senior recorded one of the session’s surprises with an 8-2 victory over Fort LeBoeuf junior Isaac Bengel, who was ranked No. 14 in the state by Off The Mat this week. Bengel was the D-10 runner-up
Bloom, who is ranked No. 4, major decisioned Gallo twice in January, 12-0 in their dual meet encounter and 12-0 at the Fred Bell Tournament.
In the other semi, No. 2-ranked Tyler Vath (38-6) of Saegertown will take on D-9 runner-up Adam Shunk (24-5) of Smethport. Vath is a four-time D-10 gold medalist seeking his fourth region belt.
Two Golden Tide wrestlers who lost in the quarterfinals will have to win two consolation bracket bouts in order to reach the medal round for a ticket to next week’s PIAA Class AA Tournament.
Senior 152-pounder Jake Lancaster (13-6) ran into a scoring machine in Reynolds sophomore Joel Leise (11-5). The D-10 runner-up posted a 19-4 technical fall.
“Jake didn’t go out like a fireball like we thought he would,” Swatsworth said. “He was a little hesitant.”
Leise wasn’t, engineering an early takedown and then trading reversals with Lancaster before earning back points.
He was ahead 13-4 going to the second period and then worked an escape, takedown and near fall to end it at 3:20.
Lancaster must get past Coudersport soph Gage Arnold (25-10) or Eisenhower junior Louis Head (24-6) in the consy quarterfinals and then the loser of the semifinal between D-10 champ Blake Reynolds (31-5), a Greenville soph, and D-9 runner-up Paul Zacherl (30-3), a Cranberry junior. The latter two placed fourth at districts.
Golden Tide junior 182-pounder Ben Junod (13-16), pinned in 2:57 by Fort LeBoeuf senior Garrette Reinwald (34-7), faces a much tougher path in the consolations.
Junod will have to defeat either D-9 champ Michael Martino (22-4) of Brockway or D-9 third-placer Alex Burkhart (17-12) of Clarion and then the winner of the semifinal between D-10 champ Dakota Geer (31-1) of Franklin or D-10 third-placer Gage Gladysz (35-1) of Greenville.
Geer is No. 6, Reinwald No. 10 and Gladysz No. 11 in the Off The Mat rankings. They are second, fifth and sixth in the PA Power Rankings.
All three were district champs last year, Geer at 195, Reinwald at 182 and Gladysz at 160.
Junod lost 4-0 and 4-2 to Martino this month and split with Burkhart, edging him 6-5 in the D-9 consy finals last week.
Martino was one of two D-9 titlists to fall in the quarterfinals. Clarion 195-pounder Zach Sintobin was the other.
D-9 has 23 semifinalists, including seven runners-up and four third-placers.
The consy finals are slate for 3:30 and the championship finals at 5:30.
The top four finishers will move on to the state tourney.
Complete results of the first day’s action can be found here, courtesy Escape Sports.