CURWENSVIILLE — No. 1 seed Blake Passarelli and No. 2 Steven McClure, both two-time place winners, will lead Curwensville’s 10-wrestler contingent into Clearfield Area High School’s Bison Gym tomorrow afternoon for the first session of the 2017 District 9 Class AA Tournament.
Action will get under way at 4 p.m. with preliminary round matches on three mats, with the quarterfinals and two consolation rounds to follow.
Passarelli (23-4) returns at 113 pounds after wrestling at 120, and as high as 126, until the Golden Tide’s final dual meet. The junior was runner-up at 106 as a freshman and placed third last year.
McClure (25-2) is back at 285 and looking to make the final step to the top of the medal stand following a third-place finish at 220 in 2016 and losing 5-4 on the ultimate tiebreaker to Ridgway’s Colton McClain in the heavyweight title bout last February.
One of the Golden Tide senior’s losses was 3-0 to Brookville’s Colby Whitehill (28-3), who is the No. 1 seed.
The Golden Tide has one fifth seed in junior Mason Gasper (8-9) at 120 and three sixth seeds in sophomore Zach Holland (15-3) at 132, freshman Jake McCracken (18-10) at 152 and junior Cole Bressler (12-13) at 160.
Holland was a finalist at 106 a year ago, losing to Anthony Glasl of Brockway.
“We got some of our kids seeds where we’re hoping they finish higher than they are,” Curwensville coach Dean Swatsworth said. “The big thing is to get as many as we can through to regionals, whether they finish first or fourth, especially our younger kids. Getting through districts is something to build on for next year.
“We’re expecting our hammers to get through. Blake and Steven should be there. Zach is gonna have a tough road, but if he wrestles like he can, there’s no reason he can’s come through. And he‘s back 100 percent healthy. Is nice to see him back wrestling hard like he has been.”
Passarelli, Gasper and Bressler received byes for the prelims, while Holland drew Patrick Rounsville (3-14) of Oswayo Valley, McCracken gets Donovan Edmonds (12-12) of Keystone and McClure meets Trey Wright (7-14) of Cranberry.
Curwensville’s other four entries, all sophomores, are paired with seeded opponents, Ty Guelich (2-8) against No. 2 Hunter Martz (22-14) of Redbank Valley at 126, Caleb Stiles (2-7) against No. 2 David Kudrick (26-4) of Coudersport at 138, Adam Straw (12-10) against No. 5 Dustin Kudrick (25-2) at 145 and Nick Holbert (4-11) against No. 8 Cameron Boggess (17-8) of Clarion at 170.
In the quarterfinals, Passarelli will meet either No. 8 seed Ben Westerburg (10-6) of Kane or Chris Davis (11-16) of Coudersport, Gasper will take on No. 4 seed Nolan Shaffer (18-9) of Johnsonburg and Bressler will get the winner of the prelim between No. 3 seed Julian Smith (24-4) of Coudersport and Bryce Greco (5-9) of Brockway.
Glasl (28-3), the No. 1 seed at 120, is one of 10 returning champions, but at least two won’t repeat.
The loaded 145 class has three returning gold medalists. Dillon Keane (27-1) of Bradford is back at that weight but seeded behind Caleb Hetrick (26-5) of Brookville, who surprisingly dropped down from 152 where he’s been the last two years. Seeded third is Logan McClain (27-6) of Ridgway, who reigned at 138 in 2017.
The other six returning titlists are seeded No. 1, Bryce Barclay (26-4) of Ridgway up a weight at 132, Lukas McClain (27-4) of Ridgway up a weight at 138, Jacob Kallenborn (23-1) of Port Allegany back at 160, Isaac Wright (23-5) of Coudersport back at 170, two-time champ Xavier Molnar (26-7) of Brookville back at 195 and Tyler Cook (29-5) of Brookville back at 220.
Also rating top seeds are Bryent Johnson (17-1) of Smethport at 106, Steven Sorbin (24-8) of Brookville at 126, Alec English (28-2) of Kane at 152 and Garrett McClintick (26-5) of Brockway at 182.
Swatsworth is looking forward to an exciting two days, saying “They’re all tough classes, but 145 is best. Record-wise, the top six kids have 20 wins.
“Ultimately, it‘s going to come down to having to win at least one big match to advance.”
The top four finishers move on to the Northwest Region Tournament at Sharon next weekend.
On Saturday, wrestling begins at 10:30 a.m. with championship semifinals and consolation quarterfinals. Consy semifinals will complete the session.
The region qualifiers will return the Parade of Champions, which will be preceded by the District 9 Hall of Fame inductions at 3:30. Championship and consolation finals will follow on two mats.
Fans are reminded that doors will open one hour before the start of each session, with tickets $6 for adults and $3 for students. Series tickets can be purchased Friday, $18 for adults and $9 for students.