HYDE — Given some of the happenings on, and off, the mat this season, Saturday is poised to be exciting day at the District 4/9 Class AAA Wrestling Championships at Clearfield Area High School.
Throw in the fact the tourney features 29 returning regional qualifiers, 15 of which hail from the Tri-County Area, and the Arthur J. Weiss Gymnasium should be rocking for the one-day event.
Six of those regional returnees are defending district champs, by the local trio of Clearfield senior Luke McGonigal and DuBois’ Kolby Ho (senior) and Dalton Woodrow (junior).
McGonigal, the lone undefeated wrestler in the area, is seeking to join an elite group of D-9 wrestlers to win four titles. The last Bison to achieve the feat was Christian Stone (2010-13).
Ho and Woodrow are both looking to join the select group of DuBois wrestlers to feature three district crowns on their resume. Ho won his first title as a freshman and his second a year. ago, finishing second in between.
DuBois sophomore Ed Scott, St. Marys junior Alec Bittler and Shikellamy senior Josh Krieger are all looking for district title No. 2 after winning their first a year ago. Bittler and Ho find themselves in the same bracket at 145 — the lone weight class this year featuring two returning champions.
Action gets under way Saturday at 9:30 a.m., with the finals and consolation finals set for 4:30 p.m. at Clearfield.
Here is a closer look at each weight class:
The 106-pound field looks to be a two-man race between DuBois freshman Chandler Ho (25-6) and Selinsgrove junior CJ Boyer (19-10), the first and second seeds, respectively. They are only two entrants with a winning record. Ho has pinned Boyer twice this season.
The other two local wrestlers in the field are split in the bracket. St. Marys freshman Marco Paropacic (1-3) opens against Boyer, while Clearfield freshman Angelo Maines (8-17) wrestles Shik sophomore Damian Wolfe (9-18), with the winner getting Ho in the semifinals.
The 113-pound field has become a wide open one with DuBois junior Trenton Donahue, a defending champ, not competing in the postseason.
Shikellamy junior Jared Zartman (13-13) is the top seed and will face ether St. Marys freshman Ed Messineo (5-14) or Selinsgrive freshman Carter Horton (7-6) in the semifinals. The bottom half of the draw features a semifinal bout between second-seeded Peyton Smay (10-12), a sophomore from Clearfield and Williamsport freshman Martin Bryant (11-15).
Four of the six competitors at 120 sport winning records, with Clearfield senior Matt Ryan (22-7) garnering the top seed. He has a bye into the semis where he will wrestle either DuBois sophomore Dayne Bauman (4-13) or Selinsgrove freshman Scott Kissinger (14-10).
St. Marys sophomore Tylor Herzing (22-9) is the second seed and appears headed for a semifinal showdown with Shik senior Frank Quinones (15-8), with the winer earning a spot in the finals.
DuBois’ Scott (27-2) headlines the field at 126, with Shik sophomore Cade Balestrini (28-3) being the second seed on the bottom half. The two didn’t meeet at the D-4/9 Duals.
Scott awaits the winner of quarterfinal bout pitting St. Marys sophomore Gregory Tettis (8-15) against Selinsgrove junior Walker Garden (10-14). As for Balestrini, he battles Clearfield junior Jude Pallo (15-13) in the semifinals.
DuBois’ Woodrow (26-6) will look to win his third district title as the top seed at 132 after winning crowns at 113 and 120 the past two years,respectively.
The Beaver has a bye into the semis, where he will face either Selinsgrove junior Shawn Matthews (17-10) or Shik freshman Drew Balestrini (13-11).
The area’s other two entrants — St. Marys senior Hayden Tettis (18-9) and Clearfield senior Quentin Edwards (11-16) — square off in the quarterfinals in the bottom half. The winner gets Williamsport senior Cam Dickey (20-12), the second seed.
Another wide open weight, 138 has just two entrants with a winning record, and sixth-seeded Izek Brooks of Williamsport is just 4-3.
St. Marys sophomore John Wittman (14-11) grabbed the top seed and awaits the winner of a quarterfinal bout between Clearfield sophomore Nate Barr (9-9) and Selinsgrove senior Drew Peterman (11-16). DuBois freshman Garrett Starr (14-14) is the No. 2 seed and faces Shik junior Doug Hallman (6-18) in the quarters.
Wittman owns a 3-0 win against Starr, while the Beaver pinned third-seeded Jake Skarbek (9-12) of Punxsutaweney.
Arguably the toughest bracket in the tournament, 145 features DuBois senior Kolby Ho (26-4) and St. Marys’ Bittler (23-3), who are not only the defending champs at 132 and 138 but also returning state qualifiers. The two haven’t met this year.
Ho will wrestle either Shik senior Bryce Burgess (16-12) or Selinsgrove junior Max Charles (10-16).
In the bottom half, Bittler faces Punxsy senior Zach May (3-16) in one quarterfinal, while third-seeded Anthony Robinson (21-12) of Williamsport faces Clearfield junior Cole Smay (1-5) in the other.
Shikellamy senior Noah Supsic (27-5) headlines the field at 152 as the top seed. The Brave has a bye into the semis where he will battle either St. Marys freshman Jeremy Garthwaite (13-17) or Punxsy senior Caleb Bender (8-9).
The other two area competitors — Clearfield junior Caleb Freeland (No. 2 seed, 16-9) and DuBois senior Austin Fairman (7-9) — are in the bottom half and will meet in the quarterfinals. Williamsport senior Alec Dickey (16-9) is the third seed.
All three area wrestlers at 160 are in the top half of the draw.
Clearfield senior Hunter Wright (22-9) earned the top seed and awaits the winner of a quarterfinal bout between St, Marys senior Tim Beimel (6-5) and DuBois sophomore Gauge Gulvas (4-7). Gulvas is an injury replacement for sophomore teammate Grant Barr (10-5), who was in the initial bracket as the No. 4 seed but will be unable to wrestle due to injury.
The bottom half of the draw features second-seeded Coy Bastian (22-8), a freshman from Selinsgrove, and Punxsy senior Stone Smith (14-5), the No. 3 seed.
The 170-pound class looks to be St. Marys senior Zac Becker’s to lose. The Dutchman, who earned the top seed with a 28-4 record, is the only competitor with more than 13 wins. He awaits the winner between Selinsgrove’s Hunter Corman (9-16) and Williamsport’s Chase Bower (4-12).
The bottom half has a matchupof area wrestlers, as DuBois sophomore Lance Henninger (No. 3, 13-13) takes on Clearfield sophomore Brett Zattoni (4-12). Punxsy freshman Garrett Eddy (13-7) is the second seed.
The bracket at 182 features top-seeded Josh Krieger (25-5), a senior from Shikellamy who is the lone returning D-4 wrestler to win a title last year. That crown came at 195.
A pair of freshman — St. Marys Sean Lathrop (7-16) and Selinsgrove’s Ryan Aument (7-14) — will battle each other in the quarterfinals for the right to face Krieger.
The area’s other competitor, DuBois junior Eric Schneider (No. 3, 12-15), is in the bottom half and has a quarterfinal matchup with Punxsy senior Hunter Perry (3-9). Schneider pinned Perry in 34 seconds in the teams’ dual meet. The winner gets Williamsport senior Nate Powley (No. 2, 18-10) in the semifinals.
Clearfield’s Luke McGonigal (27-0) has made the jump to 195 this year and will look to capture his fourth district title as the top seed in a field that features four wrestlers with 17 or more wins. McGonigal won his first title at 145 as a freshman before winning the last two at 170.
McGonigal will face either DuBois senior Izsak Kerner (No. 4, 17-13) or Punxsy senior Tristan Bair (7-9) in the semifinals.
In the bottom half, Selinsgrove junior Blaise Zeiders (23-11) is the second seed and is likely to face Shik junior Evan Bingaman (No. 3, 20-8) in the semis.
Another undefeated wrestler, Selinsgrove freshman Nate Schon (21-0) headlines the field at 220 as the top seed. The Seal has a bye into the semis, where he will face either Clearfield junior Avry Gisewhite (16-12) or Punxsy junior Jacob Schuckers (7-10).
The area’s other two entrants meet in the bottom half, with third-seeded Alex O’Harrah (16-10), a junior form DuBois, taking on St. Marys senior Mike Rusciolelli (7-10). O’Harrah beat the Dutchman, 9-1, earlier this year.
The winner of that bout should face Shik freshman Adam Young (21-8), the No. 2 seed, in the semiifinals.
The area has just one entrant at heavyweight, with DuBois senior Matt Starr (17-11) garnering the No. 3 seed. He will face Punxsy senior Alexander Neal (11-5), the second seed, in the semis in the bottom half of the draw. Neal didn’t wrestle in the teams’ dual meet late in the year.
Selinsgrove senior Adam Ritter (25-7) is the top seed a the weight but has split to very close matches with Starr this year. Ritter hit a late, big move to edge Starr, 6-5, in the district team semifinals, but the Beaver beat Ritter, 5-3, when the teams met in the regular season finale.