ALTOONA — The Class AAA Northwest Regional Wrestling Tournament begins Friday at Altoona Area High School with 25 competitors from the Tri-County Area continue their journey towards reaching the PIAA Championships.
The tournament shapes up to be an exciting one as the field features nine returning champs and 19 wrestlers who went to Hershey a year ago. There also are three wrestlers competing who captured regional titles in past years who didn’t make it to states in 2018.
Clearfield, which won the team race last weekend at districts, and runner-up DuBois are each sending nine competitors to regionals, while St. Marys will have seven wrestlers hit the mats in Altoona.
That local contingent features a large numbers of wrestlers who have been to regionals in the past, but DuBois junior Ed Scott is the only area wrestler back who qualified for states a year ago after capturing the second regional title of his career.
Scott isn’t the only local competitor who has made it to Hershey in his career though, as the three past regional champs — DuBois senior Dalton Woodrow and junior Trenton Donahue and St. Marys senior Tyler Dilley — all hail from the Tri-County Area.
Woodrow won a regional crown as a freshman, while Dilley beat Woodrow in the regional finals two years ago. Donahue also won two years ago as a freshman.
The other returning regional champs are Altoona’s Matt Sarbo, Cathedral Prep’s Paniro Johnson, Carter Starocci and Kawaun DeBoe, McDowell’s Jeff Boyd, Central Mountain’s Christian Fisher, State College’s Cole Urbas and Selinsgrove’s Nate Schon.
Action gets underway Friday at 5:30 p.m., with the parade of champions, finals and consolation finals slated for 6 p.m. Saturday.
Here is a closer look at each weight class:
The area has three first-time regional qualifiers in the 106-pound field, led by Clearfield senior Johnathan Thomas (11-2), the District 4/9 champ. The field is a largely made up of freshmen.
Thomas has a first-round bye and awaits the winner between DuBois sophomore Kam Stevenson (12-16, D-4/9 4th) and Altoona fresman Luke Hileman (26-11), the D-6 runner-up. The District 10 champ, Cathedral Prep freshman Jacob Van Dee (32-11) also is on that side of the bracket.
The other area entrant, St. Marys freshman Lane Dellaquilla (13-9, D-4/9 3rd), is in the top half and faces Meadville freshman William Terwilliger (15-10, D-10 2nd) in the first round. Mifflin County freshman Nic Allison (31-3, D-6 champ) could meet the winner of the Dellaquilla bout in the semifinals.
Like 106, 113-pound bracket is filled largely with freshmen and sophomore newcomers and has just three returning qualifiers in it.
Clearfield freshman Nolan Barr (20-13, D-4/9 3rd) is the lone area wrestler at the weight and battles Brashear sophomore Ryan Bernard (3-2, D-8 2nd). The winner gets D-10 champ Vincen Rinella (29-3) of Meadville who placed third at 106 last year.
District 6 champ Taylor Weaver (22-7), a freshman from Central Mountain, is also on that side of the draw, while Williamsport freshman Braden Bower (31-2, D-4/9 champ) headlines the top half of the bracket.
Half of the field at 120 was at Altoona last year, a group led by returning champ Fisher (29-7), the D-6 champ.
Fisher has a bye into the quarterfinals, where he faces either Clearfield freshman Karson Cline (24-14, D-4/9 3rd) or Prep junior Jamale Crockett (16-17, D-10 2nd). Kline is the only local competitor at the weight.
DuBois sophomore Chandler Ho (21-10, D-4/9 2nd) also is in the top half and faces McDowell sophomore Nate Digello (9-17, D-10 3rd) in a battle of returning regional qualifiers. Ho didn’t compete last year due to injury though.
The bottom half at 120 features the D-10 champ Avery Smith (21-9), a senior from Warren, and Williamsport freshman Riley Bower (31-8), the D-4/9 champ. Bower could have an interesting quarterfinal bout with returning regional runner-up Johnny Shreffler (22-8, D-6 3rd) from Central Mountain.
The 126-pound bracket looks to be one of the deepest this year as it features four wrestlers who placed in the Top 4 last year along with a past champ in DuBois’ Donahue (29-4), the D-4/9 champ.
Donaue landed in the top half of the draw and awaits the winner of a first-round bout between Mifflin County junior Derek Burk (19-15, D-6 3rd) and Warren junior Ryan Madigan (20-5, D-10 2nd). Burk placed third a year ago at 120. Whoever comes out of that part of the bracket looks to have a clear path to the finals.
The bottom half has a returning champ in Altoona’s Sarbo (32-3, D-6 1st) and a third-place finisher in Prep junior Ben Tirpak (26-10), the D-10 champ. Tirpak faces St. Marys sophomore Marco Paropacic (12-11, D-4/9 5th), a returning qualifier.
Donahue beat Sarbo, 11-9, during the season.
St. Marys’ Dilley (29-4, D-4/9 2nd), who missed last year due to injury, is the lone area entrant at 132. The Dutchman wrestles Central Mountain senior Kayden Busey (13-15, D-6 4th) in the first round in the bottom half of the bracket, with D-10 champ Hayden Butterfield (18-10) of McDowell being a potential quarterfinal opponent.
Bellefonte senior Ryan Smith (31-6), the D-6 champ who is a three-time qualifier, is also in the bottom half.
The top is headlined by Shikellamy junior Cade Balestrini (29-2, D-4/9 champ), a two-time state qualifier who was a regional runner-up last year.
The 138-pound field shapes up to be a two-man battle between a pair of returning regional champs in DuBois junior Ed Scott (32-0, D-4/9 champ) and McDowell senior Jeff Boyd (24-0, D-10 champ). Scott won at 126 last year and Boyd at 132.
Scott, a two-time regional champ, placed third at states as a freshman, while Boyd is a reigning state champ who has been to Hershey three times.
Scott finds himself in the bottom half of the draw and awaits the winner of a first-round bout between Warren sophomore Donovan Fiscus (12-13, D-10 3rd) and Brashear senior Asror Nasrittinov (4-2, D-8 2nd). District 6 champ Cole Stewart (27-10), a four-time regional qualifier from Bellefonte also in the bottom half.
Boyd is in the top half, where he faces either Clearfield’s Jude Pallo (21-8, D-4/9 3rd) or central Mountain’s Cody Coleman (22-9, D-6 2nd). Pallo and Coleman are both regional returnees.
St. Marys junior Tylor Herzing (15-7, D-4/9 2nd) also is in the top part of the draw and wrestles Mifflin County freshman Kyler Everly (14-19, D-6 3rd) in the first round.
DuBois’ Woodrow (29-3, D-4/9 champ) is one of three local wrestlers at 145.
The Beaver finds himself in the bottom half where battles either Johnstown senior Brock Moore (29-8, D-6 2nd) or Warren sophomore Kyle Swick (9-18, D-10 3rd) in the quarterfinals.
Brashear senior Joe Mwete (27-2, D-8 champ), a two-time regional qualifier, also is on Woodrow’s side of the bracket.
Clearfield’s Caleb Freeland (24-9, D-4/9 2nd) and St. Marys’ Nick Crisp (15-7, D-4/9 3rd) are both in the top half at 145. Freeland faces Juniata senior Albert Heister (5-20, D-6 4th), while Crisp wrestles Carrick’s Steve Schramm (16-12, D-8 2nd).
Returning champ Johnson (32-5, D-10 champ) awaits the winner of Crisp’s bout.
The field at 152 also features three area competitors, a trio led by recently crowned D-4/9 champ Mark McGonigal (27-7) — a freshman from Clearfield. The Bison faces Mifflin County freshman Anson Wagner (11-20, D-6 4th) in the first round.
District 10 champ Marques McClorin (24-14) also in the bottom half with McGonigal, while the top half features D-6 champ Ethan Richner (32-4) of Bellefonte and Carrick’s LJ Orbovich (19-6), the D-8 champ.
Orbovich wrestles DuBois’ Gauge Gulvas (12-14, D-45/9 5th) in the first round, while Richner sits in the quarterfinals waiting for the winner of a bout between St. Marys’ Johnny Wittman (19-9, D-4/9 2nd) and Warren’s John Fankhouser (13-15, D-10 3rd) in a matchup of regional returnees.
Meadville senior Nick Rinella (27-6, D-10 2nd), a three-time qualifier who was fourth last year also in the top part of the draw.
The area has just one competitor at 160 in DuBois sophomore Garrett Starr (22-9, D-4/9 3rd), who faces Warren junior Zack Zinger (22-12, D-10 2nd) in the first round. The winner gets D-6 champ Trey Kibe (34-1) of Mifflin County. Kibe was a regional runner-up at 152 last year.
The bottom half at 160 features District 4/9 champion Anthony Robinson (32-7) of Williamsport and Cathedral Prep freshman Kelyn Blossey (23-18), the D-10 champ,
Clearfield junior Brett Zattoni (11-21, D-4/9 5th) carries the banner for the area at 160 and faces Hollidaysburg senior Nate Fisher (19-9) in the first round in the top half of draw. The winner get D-10 champ Noah Bielak (8-10) of McDowell.
Also in the bottom half is District 4/9 champ Dillon Keane (32-0) of Bradford.
The top half is headlined by Bellefonte senior Kyle Myers (16-2), the District 6 champ. Myers transferred to Bellefonte this year from West Branch, where he was a two-time state qualifier in Class AA. Myers could meet Selinsgrove sophomore Coy Bastian (31-6, D-4/9 2nd), a returning regional runner-up, in the semifinals.
Both local entrants at 182 — St. Marys sophomore Jeremy Garthwaite and DuBois senior Eric Schneider — are in the bottom half of the draw.
Garthwaite (17-10), fresh off winning his first district title, opens against Central Mountain sophomore Gage Sutliff (14-15, D-6 4th).
Schneider (15-13, D-4/9 3rd) wrestles Carrick junior Jeff Pietrick (10-7, D-8 2nd), with the winner advancing to battle D-6 champ Mason McCready (27-4) of Hollidaysburg. McCready placed third a year ago to reach states.
The top half of the draw is dominated by the presence of Cathedral Prep senior Carter Starocci (36-0, D-10 champ), a three-time regional champ who won a state title last year.
Clearfield freshman Oliver Billotte (13-7, D-4.9-3rd) is the only area qualifier at 195. The Bison squares off against Carrick sophomore Jeremy Follin (12-14, D-8 2nd), with the winner getting D-10 champ Kareem Carson (34-8) of Cathedral Prep.
Cranberry freshman Brayden Crocker (26-1), the D-4/9 champion, also is in the bottom half with Billotte and Carson.
The top half of the draw at 195 is headlined by returning regional champ Cole Urbas (30-0) of State College. Urbas, the D-6 champ, beat Clearfield’s Luke McGonigal in last year’s regional final before losing to the now graduated Bison in last year’s state title match at 195.
The 220-pound bracket is the only weight that doesn’t feature a wrestler from the Tri-County Area this year.
The weight looks to be a two-man battle between returning 220-pound regional champ Nate Schon (33-1, D-4/9 champ) of Selinsgrove and District 10 champ Dorian Crsoby (41-4) of Cathedral Prep. Crosby placed third at 195 a year ago. Both went on to place at states.
Clearfield senior Avry Gisewite (18-15), who won his first district title last weekend, finds himself among the field at heavyweight along with DuBois junior Alex O’Harah (24-9, D-4/9 2nd).
Giswhite landed in the bottom half the draw, where he square off against Central Mountain senior Jacob Edwards (23-7, D-6 4th) in a battle of regional returnees. Also in the bottom half is D-6 champ Nate Simmers (20-2) of Altoona who placed third at regionals last year at 285.
O’Harah is in the top half and faces Hollidaysburg’s Sam Haines (18-8, D-6 3rd) in the first round. O’Harah beat Haines, 2-0, during the regular season. The winner advances to battle returning regional champ and state runner-up DeBoe (33-0, D-10 champ) of Cathedral Prep in quarterfinals.