DuBOIS — The Brookville wrestling team heads into this weekend’s District 9 Class AA Team Championships looking to capture its sixth straight title and another trip to the PIAA Team Championships in Hershey.
Brookville, which owns a record nine D-9 Class AA team titles in the event’s 20-year history, headlines a five-team field as the top seed. The Raiders’ opponent is still unknown, as they await the winner of quarterfinal contest between fourth-seeded Brockway (10-4) and fifth-seeded Johnsonburg (11-7).
That match was originally scheduled for this evening at Brockway. However, with school canceled due to inclement weather, the match has been pushed back to Friday at 4 p.m. at Brockway — prior to the Rovers’ boys basketball game against Bradford.
Brockway, fresh off a huge 39-32 win vs. DuBois Tuesday, beat Johnsonburg, 53-20, in Johnsonburg back on Dec. 18. Friday’s winner moves into Saturday’s semifinals against Brookville at 12:15 p.m. at DuBois Area High School.
Brookville beat Brockway, 51-18, in last year’s finals with the Rovers also earning a trip to states with that runner-up finish when District 9 still had two qualifiers. That finals appearance was Brockway’s first since it won back-to-back titles in 2002-03. The Rovers were the state runner-up in 2003.
The other semifinal pits second-seeded Redbank Valley (16-1) against third-seeded Port Allegany (12-1) at the same time Saturday on an adjacent mat.
The semifinal winners are scheduled to meet in the finals at approximately 2:45 p.m., with the champion being the lone team to move on to states in Hershey this year.
Brookville (14-2) enters the weekend as the favorite on paper, having already beaten three of other four teams in the field this season.
The Raiders pulled out a tight 33-28 win at Redbank Valley on Jan 3 on a night where a pin by 220-pounder Tanner LaBenne (vs. Kobe Bonnano) loomed large in the outcome. Brookville also knocked off Brockway at home, 38-22, on Jan. 10 and routed Johnsonburg, 51-11, at home on Jan. 22.
Brookville hasn’t lost to a District 9 foe on the mat since a 33-29 setback to Redbank Valley in the 2013 D-9 team finals. That also is the last time someone other than the Raiders won district duals.
The Raiders have won 62 straight on the mat against D-9 teams since that loss — although Brookville was forced to forfeit to Brockway when it was discovered the Raiders used an ineligible wrestler in a win against the Rovers at the 2015 Ultimate Duals.
Second-seeded Redbank Valley also owns wins against Brockway (35-28) and Johnsonburg (53-18), but hasn’t faced its semifinal opponent Port Allegany. Brookville and Port also haven’t met this year.
The third-seeded Gators knocked off Brockway (40-23) back in early December before the Rovers were at full strength and beat Johnsonburg (42-27) last Thursday.
Port Allegany’s lone loss was a one-point setback to West Scranton (38-37) at the Flynn Propane Duals in Towanda on Jan. 5.
The Gators are seeking their first district team title since 2006 when they beat Ridgway, 36-24, for their second straight crown. Port also lost in the finals three straight times to the Elkers (2008-10).
The District 9 champion advances to next week’s PIAA Championships, with its first match slated to be against the District 2 champ Thursday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. Win or lose, those teams will wrestle again on Friday, Feb. 8 in the double-elimination event.