ALTOONA — The Class AAA Northwest Regional Wrestling Tournament opens today with 27 area competitors looking to navigate their way through their respective weight classes in hopes of keeping alive their dreams of winning a state medal.
DuBois leads the local contingent with 10 regional qualifiers, while St. Marys and Clearfield are right behind the Beavers with nine and eight, respectively. That large group features two returning regional champs — DuBois’ Ed Scott and Clearfeld’s Luke McGonigal — and six returning state qualifiers.
Scott and McGonigal are among the eight returning regional champs overall. The others are Bald Eagle Area’s Garrett Rigg and Seth Koleno, Cathedral Prep’s Carter Starocci and Kawaun Deboe, Mifflin County’s Trent Hidlay and State College’s Cole Urbas.
McGonigal and Urbas are both in the 195-pound field, which is shaping up to be one the toughest in tourney.
Action gets under today at 5:30 p.m., with the finals and consolation finals slated for 6:15 p.m. Saturday.
Here is a closer look at each weight class:
The area has two freshmen competitors — DuBois’ Chandler Ho and St. Marys’ Marco Paropacic — in what appears to be a wide open 106-pound field.
The lone returning qualifier at the weight is General McLane junior Andrew Brest (D-10 1st, 25-3), who placed four at the weight a year ago. Brest is in the bottom half along with Paropacic (D-4/9 2nd, 3-4), who faces Philipsburg-Osceola’s Nicholas Bryan (D-6 3rd, 14-13) in the first round.
Ho (D4/9-1, 27-6) is in the top half at 106 and awaits the winner of a first-round bout between Meadville’s Vincen Rinella (D-10 2nd, 25-7) and Hollidaysburg’s Colin Smilnak (D-6 4th, 18-10). Altoona freshman Matt Sarbo (27-5), the D-6 champ also is in the top half.
Both area entrants at 113 landed in the top half of the bracket along with returning regional runner-up Christian Fisher (28-7) of Mifflin County. Fisher, the D-6 champ, awaits the winner between St. Marys’ freshman Eddie Messineo (D-4/9 3rd, 7-15) and Carrick senior Joseph Dang (D-8 2nd, 17-12).
Clearfield’s Peyton Smay (D-4/9 2nd, 11-13) wrestles McDowell’s Nathan Digello (D-10 4th, 18-9), with the winner potentially battloing Prep’s Ben Tirpak (17-11), the D-10 champ.
The bottom half features District 4/9 champ Jared Zartman (15-13) of Shikellamy, D-8 champ Trot Jacobson (24-10) of Allderdice and State College’s Clayton Leidy (22-8), the D-6 runner-up.
Clearfield and St. Marys also have wrestlers at 120, with the local duo landing on opposite sides of the draw.
Bison senior Matt Ryan (24-7), the D-4/9 champ, drew a very tough first-round bout against Bellefonte junior Cole Stewart (D-6 3rd, 25-7), who placed third at 106 a year ago. That duo is joined by Mifflin County’s Derek Burk (D-6 2nd, 20-14) as the only regional returnees in the bottom of the draw.
St. Marys sophomore Tylor Herzing (D-4/9-3rd, 24-10), who made regionals a year ago but was forced to pull out due to injury, is in the top half. He faces Westinghouse freshman Jakai Frazier (D-8 2nd, 4-5) in the first round, with the winner getting Prep freshman Paniro Johnson (21-6), the D-10 champ.
Philipsburg sophomore Chase Champman (25-6), the D-6 champ, also is in the top half of the bracket.
DuBois’ Scott (29-2), a sophomore, headlines the field at 126 and finds himself in the top part of the draw. The Beaver wrestles Mifflin County’s Joey Taptich (D-6 4th, 3-2) in the opening round.
St. Marys’ Gregory Tettis (D-4/9, 4th, 9-17) also is in the top and battles D-10 runner-up Hayden Butterfield (14-150 of McDowell in the opening round, The winner of that bout gets P-O freshman Hunter Weitosh (D-6 1st, 20-7) in the quarterfinals.
Clearfield’s Jude Pallo (D-4/9 3rd, 17-14) is in the bottom of the draw and has a first-round bout with Bellefonte’s Ryan Smith (20-11), the D-6 runner-up. District 10 champion Tyler McKinney (24-11) awaits the winner of that matchup.
Shikellamy’s Cade Balestrini (D-4/9 2nd, 29-4), the only other returning regional placewinner outside Scott, also is in the botto, of the draw.
The area has two competitors at 132 in DuBois’ Dalton Woodrow (28-6) and St. Marys’ Hayden Tettis (20-10), the D-4/9 champ and runner-up, respectively.
Woodrow, a regional runner-up last year, faces Warren’s Donovan Fiscus (D-10 4th, 8-17) in the first round in the top part of the bracket. The top half also features McDowell’s Jeffery Boyd (29-2), who placed third a year ago, and regional returnee Logan Wise (D-6 2nd, 25-13) of Mifflin County, the D-6 champ.
Tettis (D-4/9 2nd) is in the bottom half and wrestles Altoona’s Jordan Wagner (D-6 4th, 11-13) in the first round, with the winner getting D-8 champ Devontey Cunningham (14-6) of Carrick.
Central Mountain’s Seth Andrus (D-6 1st, 28-3) and Prep’s Andrew Stark (D-10 2d, 27-10), who placed fourth last year, also are in the bottom half.
The bracket at 138 is another that features wrestlers from Clearfield and St. Marys.
Dutchmen Johnny Wittman (D-9 3rd, 16-12) is in the bottom half and squares off against Hollidaysburg’s Nathan Swartz (D-6 2nd, 24-6). Swartz was a regional runner-up at 138 last year. McDowell senior Leno Ciotti (25-5), the D-10 champ who placed third at 132 a year ago, awaits the winner.
Up top, Clearfield’s Nathan Barr (D-4/9 4th) wrestles Prep’s Marques McClorin (D-10 2nd, 21-13) for the right to face returning regional champ Seth Koleno D-6 1st, 31-0) of Bald Eagle Area.
DuBois’ Kolby Ho (D-4.9 1st, 28-4) finds himself in the bottom half at 145 and faces a regional returnee in his first bout in Meadville’s Trent Tidball (D-10 3rd, 29-6). Ho was a runner-up at 132 last year.
The bottom also features Erie’s Devin Abbott (D-10 2nd, 23-2) and Central Mountain’s Logan Long (D-6 2nd, 26-7) — both of whom are regional returnees.
St. Marys’ Alec Bittler (D-4/9 2nd, 25-4), who placed third a year ago at 138, is in the top half of the bracket. He faces General McLane’s Brad Motter (D-10 4th, 18-15) is the first round, with D-10 champ Kishawn Higgins (24-9) a likely quarterfinal opponent. Rigg (D-6 1st, 30-30 also looms in the semifinals.
The area’s two competitors at 152 — Clearfield’s Caleb Freeland and DuBois’ Austin Fairman — landed on opposite sides of the bracket.
Freeland (D-4/9 2nd, 17-10) wrestles Central Mountain’s Alonzo Henry (D-6 4th, 6-10) in the bottom. The winner gets either Mifflin County freshman Trey Kibe (D-6 1st, 34-5) or Prep senior Albert Taylor (D-10 3rd, 28-10) in the quarterfinals.
Up top, Fairman (D-4/9 4th, 8-11) battles returnee Brett Mallory (23-10), the D-10 champ from General McLane. The top half also features BEA’s Gage McClenahan (D-6 2nd, 28-4), a runner-up at 145 last year, and D-4/9 champ Noah Supsic (29-5) of Shikellamy.
Both local wrestlers at 160 landed in the top half and face a tough go.
Clearfield’s Hunter Wright (D-4/9 2nd, 23-10) wrestles Bellefonte’s Ethan Rossman (D-6 4th, 17-13) in the first round, with the winner likely to get State College’s Ian Barr (D-6 1st, 17-6), who was third at 160 last year.
St. Marys’ Tim Beimel (D-4/9 3rd, 9-6) has a first-round bout against Obama Academy’s Ta’shown Taylor (D-8 2nd, 2-4). Retuning regional champ Carter Starocci (D-10 1st, 39-0) awaits the winner in the quarters.
The bottom half looks to be more wide open with a trio of returning qualifiers among the seven competitors.
The area has a pair of regional returnees in the field in 170 in St. Marys Zac Becker (D-4/9 1st, 30-4) and DuBois’ Lance Henninger (D-4/9 2nd, 15-14).
Becker finds himself in the top half and gets the winner between Central Mountain’s Tanner Weaver (D-6 2nd, 28-5) and McDowell’s Noah Bielak (D-10 4th, 1-18). District 10 camp Jack Kaulis (26-8) of General McLane also is on Becker’s side of the draw.
Henninger is in the bottom and has a first-round bout against Altoona’s Colin Allmond (D-6 4th, 10-17). The winner should face returning regional champ Trent Hidlay (35-0), the D-6 champ from Mifflin County.
DuBois junior Eric Schneider (D/4-9 4th, 14-17) is the area’s lone competitor at 182. The Beaver is in the top half and opens against D-6 champ Mason McCready (23-5) of Hollidaysburg who placed fourth at the weight last year.
District 4/9 champion Josh Krieger (27-5) of Shikellamy also is in the top half, while the bottom of the bracket is headlined by Cathedral Prep senior Luigi Yates (37-5), the D-10 champ who was a regional runner-up at 170 a year ago.
The field at 195 is chasing Clearfield’s McGonigal (D-4/9 1st, 29-0) and State College’s Urbas (D-6 1st, 23-1), the top ranked wrestlers in the state who are on a collision course to meet in the regional finals.
McGonigal is in the top half and awaits the winner of a first-round bout between Meadville’s Thomas Pollard (D-10 2nd, 25-9) and BEA’s David Close (D-6 3rd, 20-10). District 10 third-place finisher Caprice Hall (21-11) of Erie also is on that side of the draw.
DuBois’ Izsak Kerner is in the bottom half along with Urbas and D-10 champ Dorian Crosby (32-6) of Cathedral Prep. Kerner faces Crosby in the first round, with Urbas being a potential semifinal opponent for that winner.
The 220-pound bracket is yet another with local wrestlers on opposite sides.
DuBois’ Alex O’Harrah (D-4/9 3rd, 19-11) is in the bottom and squares off against Erie’s Dominic Sigler (D-10 2nd, 19-4) in the first round in a matchup of regional returnees. The victor gets returning regional runner-up Parker McClellan D-6 1st, 25-4) of Altoona in the quarterfinals.
Up top, Clearfield’s Avry Gisewhite (D-4/9 4th, 18-14) battles Mifflin County’s Kross Todaro (D-6 3rd, 23-10), with D-10 champ Kareem Carson (28-7) of Cathedral Prep waiting for the winner. Selinsgrove undefeated freshman Nate Schon (23-0), the D-4/9 champ, also is in the top.
DuBois senior Matt Starr (D-4/9 4th, 18-13) is the lone area competitor at heavyweight. The Beaver wrestles McDowell freshman Mark Chambers (D-10 3rd, 14-16) in the first round, with the winner moving on to face D-6 champ Nate Simmers (24-6) of Altoona.
The prohibitive favorite coming in, Prep junior Kawaun Deboe (D-10 1st, 36-1), is in the bottom half of the bracket and appears to have a clear path to the finals to defend his regional title.