SHARON — The opening session of the 2019 Northwest Region Class AA Tournament turned into an evening to forget for the three Curwensville Area High School wrestlers in Sharon High School Friday.
District 9 145-pound champion Zach Holland, 126 runner-up Blake Passarelli and 160 fourth-placer Cole Bressler went down to defeat and will have to battle their way back through the consolation rounds in order to advance to the PIAA Class AA Championships at Hershey next week.
And to accomplish that goal, they’ll have to record three wins in the wrestlebacks, starting with the first round that gets under way Saturday morning at 9:30.
“It’s a tough road and a long day, win or go home for those three rounds,” Curwensville coach Dean Swatsworth said. “They have the ability to come back, but you’ve gotta leave it all out on the mat.”
As for the disappointing first two rounds, Swatsworth said, “We just didn’t wrestle well at all. We weren’t aggressive and didn’t score points.”
Holland (5-1) was nipped 7-6 in the quarterfinals by Girard senior Marshall Martinetz (29-9), who finished fourth in the District 10 Tournament.
The Golden Tide junior worked a quick takedown and later traded switches for reversals with Martinetz to go into the second period up 4-2.
Martinez came off the bottom for a reversal and pulled Holland to his back for a nearfall and a 7-4 advantage going to the third period.
Holland elected to go on the bottom but couldn’t get out, finally scoring a reversal with just two seconds left.
Passarelli (24-7) was unable to generate any offense against D-10 bronze medalist Will Burgess (28-4) of Union City and suffered a 3-0 setback in their quarterfinal duel.
“Blake got in on a deep shot, but the kid just stepped over and laced his leg for the takedown,” Swatsworth explained the key to his senior’s match.
Burgess escaped to start the second period, which ended with them on their feet, and then was able to ride out the final two minutes by lacing a leg and locking up a cradle.
Bressler (15-12) lost by technical fall to Luke Gaston (26-9) of Sharon in the preliminary round.
After a scoreless first period, the D-10 fifth-placer reversed and engineered three nearfalls to carry an 11-0 lead into the third period, when he ended it at the 4:53 mark with a takedown and nearfall after the Golden Tide senior chose to go neutral.
To begin what they hope will be the road back to the medal round, Passarelli will meet D-10 seventh-placer Michael Berger (21-17) of Mercer, Holland gets D-9 fourth-placer Dalton Bish (16-10) of Redbank Valley and Bressler is paired against D-10 fourth-placer Jason Bratt (28-6) of Harbor Creek.
D-10 dominated the semifinals with 44 winners, while D-9 has 14 still in the hunt for titles.
Only at 106, 152 and 182 did both the D-9 gold and silver medalists advance to the semifinals along with the champs at 120, 126, 132, 138, 160, 170 and 285.
Perennial D-10 powerhouse Reynolds already has turned the team race into a runaway with 94 points and 10 semifinalists, plus two wrestlers in the consolations.
Far back in second place is Greenville with 45 points and five semifinalists.
D-9 has three teams, Brockway, Brookville and Kane, tied for sixth with 25 points.
Saturday’s first session includes the championship semifinals and consolation quarterfinals to be contested at the same time, with the consolation semifinals to follow.
The afternoon session will get under way with third-place and fifth place matches at 3:30 and continue with the Parade of Champions at 5:15 preceding the championship finals.
Complete results courtesy Pa-wrestling.com can be found here.