CURWENSVILLE — Four Curwensville Area High School wrestlers will take to the mats for the first round while five hopefuls will bye into the quarterfinals during the opening session of the District 9 Class AA Tournament Friday in Clearfield Area High School’s Bison Gym.
The tourney, down from 17 teams to 13 this year, will get under way at 4:30 p.m. with two championship and two consolation rounds on the schedule.
Bradford and Cranberry have moved to Class AAA, the latter because of a co-op with Oil City, while Smethport is co-oping with Port Allegany and Keystone is co-oping with Clarion.
Pairings drawn by the head coaches Sunday for the preliminary round will pit Golden Tide junior Adam Straw (7-14) against No. 4 seed Dalton Stahli (12-3) of Johnsonburg at 138 pounds, sophomore Duane Brady (11-11) against No. 1 Cole Casilio (30-2) of Johnsonburg at 152, sophomore No. 7 Jake McCracken (12-8) against Dylan Hajzus (5-13) of Coudersport at 170 and junior Gage Roos (4-10) against No. 5 Dominic Cartwright (11-9) of Kane at 195.
In quarterfinal matches, freshman Jacob Carfley (14-7), the No. 7 seed, will meet No. 2 and defending champion Bryent Johnson (19-4) of Port Allegany at 106, senior No. 2 Blake Passarelli (19-4) will get No. 7 Sawyer Prince (9-14) of Oswayo Valley or Curtis Barner (5-15) of Kane at 126, junior No. 3 Zach Holland is pitted against No. 6 Jacob Dishon (10-10) of Sheffield at 145, senior No. 4 Cole Bressler will square off against either No. 5 Thomas Wilson (13-10) of Coudersport or Joe Donato (2-10) of Sheffield at 160 and senior No. 8 Alec McGarry will run into No. 1 Ty Stahli (22-6) of Kane at 220.
Passarelli is one of seven returning champions and one of a quartet of three-time placewinners.
He won the gold medal at 113 last year after placing third at that weight as a sophomore and second at 106 as a freshman.
However, the No. 1 seed at 126 belongs to Brockway junior Anthony Glasl (28-1). The Rover is seeking his third district crown, having ruled at 106 as a freshman and 120 last year.
Like Johnson at 106, Brockway 182-pounder Garrett McClintick (28-1) and Brookville heavyweight Colby Whitehill (29-0) are looking to repeat at the same weight.
Alec English (25-1) of Kane is up to 160 from 152, while Eric Johnson (25-6) of Brockway has made the jump from 170 to 195, the latter the only 2018 champion who wasn’t seeded No. 1.
Those two, McClintick and Whitehill rated top seeds, as did Owen Reinsel (27-3) of Brookville at 106, Ethan Wiant (28-6) of Redbank Valley at 132, Noah Blankenship (23-6) of Kane at 138, Isaac Smoker (23-4) of Port Allegany at 145, Elliot Park (20-10) of Brookville at 170.
Curwensville’s Holland, 2-0 after missing most of the season because of an injury, is a two-time placewinner, third at 132 last year and second at 106 in 2017.
In all, 33 placewinners are back from the 2018 tourney, including five silver medalists and eight bronze medalists.
The championship semifinals and consolation quarterfinals are set for Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and will be followed by the consy semis which will determine the third and fourth Northwest Region Tournament qualifiers at each weight.
The final session at 3:30 p.m. will begin with the District 9 Hall of Fame inductions.
A Parade of Champions will precede the championship and consolation finals on two mats.
Gates open one hour before the start of each session, with ticket prices $6 for adults and $3 for students. Series tickets will be available Friday.