SHARON — The Tri-County Area is sending another large and talented crop of competitors to this weekend’s Class AA Northwest Regional Tournament in Sharon, a group highlighted by two returning regional champs and eight other state qualifiers.
A total of 35 area wrestlers will hit the mats Friday in Sharon looking to complete their season’s journey to the PIAA Championships in Hershey.
And, has been the case in recent years, Brookville once again headlines the local contingent with 12 regional qualifiers — including four returning state qualifiers and seven regional returnees.
Raiders Gavin Park and Tate Ortz both return to defend their regional crowns, while teammates Cole Aaron and Caleb Hetrick are also returning state qualifiers. Ortz can become a three-time regional champ this weekend.
Other area wrestlers looking to make a return trip to states (Top 4 finish in Sharon) are Brockway’s Ryan Carlson and Mason Lindenmuth, Redbank Valley’s Tanner Altobelli and BryLee Shumaker, Curwensville’s Shae Bloom and Clarion’s Zach Sintobin.
The area has three competitors at 106 pounds, a weight class in which none of the 10 competitors where at regionals a year ago.
Brookville junior Keelan Kunselman (25-10), the D-9 champ, finds himself in the bottom half of the draw and has a bye into the quarterfinals where he will wrestle either Fort LeBoeuf’s Isaac Crowell (D-10 4th, 226-11) or Grove City’s Cory Bable (D-10 6th, 21-11).
Ridgway sophomore Kyle Bush (D-9 3rd, 25-7) is also in the bottom half and faces Greenville’s Aaron Gelvin (D-10 2nd, 33-8) in the quarterfinals.
Curwensvile freshman Blake Passarelli (25-7), the D-9 runner-up landed in the top half and will battle Cochranton’s Devan Davis (D-10 3rd, 29-7). The winner will most likely face D-10 champ Beau Bayless (32-7_ of Reynolds in the semifinals.
Park (17-2), last year’s champ at 106, is now at 113 and in the top part of draw as the D-9 champ. He will face either Reynolds’ Andrew Ischo (D-10 4th, 22-13) or Greenville’s Bryce Knauff (D-10 6th, 20-18) in the the quarterfinals.
With a win, Park will get another regional returnee in the semifinals in either Ridgway’s Bryce Barclay (D-10 3rd, 25-7) or Maplewood’s Kenyon Andrews (D-10 2nd, 27-5).
The bottom at 113 features two returnees in Brockway’s Mitchell Overbeck (26-5), D-9 runner-up, and D-10 champ Abe Guariello (37-3) of Fort LeBoeuf.
Overbeck wrestles Harborcreek’s Nick Oosterkamp (D-10 3rd, 29-7) in the quarterfinals, with Guariello being a likely semifinal opponent for the winner. Park beat Guariello, 4-3, in last year’s final at 106.
The 120-pound bracket is arguably the deepest this year with five of the 10 entrants placing in the Top 3 at regionals a year ago.
Carlson (29-1), the D-9 champ, is one of those five returning state qualifiers and could find himself in the unusual position of having a rematch of last year’s regional final in the quarterfinals.
That’s because Jamestown senior Faris Messai (23-3), who beat Carlson 5-3 in last year’s 113-pound finals, finished fourth at districts last week. Messai has a first-round date with Greenville’s Brayden Knauff (D-10 6th, 19-20) to determine who faces Carlson.
Brookville’s Kai Sorbin (D-9 3rd, 23-12), a regional returnee is also in the bottom half and wrestles Cambridge Springs’ Tye Varndell (D-10 2nd, 30-5) in the quarterfinals.
The top half at 120 has three returning state qualifiers, including D-10 champ Charles Lenox (41-1) of LeBoeuf who placed third at 113 in Class AAA last year while at McDowell.
Lenox has a bye into the quarters, where he could face another returning placewinner in Harborcreek’s Sam Sallott (D-10 5th, 34-6), who was third at 106 a year ago.
The other returning placewinner is Reynolds’ Gage Bayless (D-10 3rd, 32-10), who wrestles Ridgway’s Lukas McClain (D-9 2nd, 22-6) in the quarterfinals. Bayless was third at 113 in 2015.
The 126-pound field isn’t far behind 120, as it features seven returning qualifiers and three state qualifiers.
Two of those state qualifiers are Altobelli and Lindenmuth, who find themselves on opposite sides of the draw.
Altobelli (29-1), the D-9 champ is in the top half, where he will face either Corry’s Jonathan Hammmond (D-10 4th, 20-9) or Lakeview’s Owen Clayton (D-10 6th, 23-13). Altobelli was second at 126 last year, while Clayton is a returnee from 120.
The other quarterfinal in the top half also features two returnees in Ridgway’s Drew Baumgratz (D-9 3rd, 25-7) and North East’s Garrett Kopp (D-10 2nd, 23-7).
Lindenmuth (D-9 2nd, 28-4), who was second at 132 last year, is in the bottom at 126 and squares off against a regional returnee in Jamestown’s Hunter Goodlin (D-10 3rd, 20-9) in the quarterfinals. The winner will most likely face defending state champ Cole Matthews (D-10 1st, 37-4) of Reynolds in the semis. Matthews was a regional runner-up at 120 last year.
Ortz (37-0) will attempt to win his third regional crown at 132 this year after winning his second at 120 a year ago. The Raider landed in the top half of the bracket and will face either Conneaut’s Peyton Hearn (D-10 4th, 27-12) or Sharpsville’s Brock Salvatore (D-10 6th, 28-11).
Greenville’s Michael Lineman (D-10 2nd, 29-14), who was foruth at 120 last year, is a possible semifinal opponent for Ortz.
In the bottom half, Ridgway’s Logen McClain (D-9 2nd, 27-5), a returnee himself, will battle Slippery Rock’s Mike Doerflinger 9D-10 3rd, 27-6) in the quarterfinals.
Johnson’s lone qualifier, Devon Norlin (D-9 4th, 20-11) also ins in the botomt and faces Union City’s Dustin Weilacher ( D-10 5th, 29-8) in the prelims, with the winner getting D-10 champ Chaise Hauck (31-6) in the quarters.
The field at 138 features five returnees, including four wrestlers who placed in the Top 4 last year.
Brookville’s Cole Aaron (D-9 1st, 32-4) is one of those returning state qualifiers. Aaron is in the bottom and awaits the winner between North East’s Sam Svetz (D-10 4th, 32-9) and Harborcreek’s Alex Smith (D-10 6th, 25-10).
District 10 runner-up Jude Mattocks (26-10) of Saegertown looks in the semis for Aaron. Mattocks placed fourth at 132 last year, while Aaron was third at 126.
The Top half features D-10 champ Jarrette Carter (32-3) and D-9 runner-up Adam Shunk (26-4) of Smethport. Carter won a title at 132 a year ago, while Shunk was fourth at 138. carter awaits the winner of a first-round bout between Brockway’s Dustin Jamison (D-9 4th, 28-10) and Grove City’s Dalton Meals (D-10 5th, 32-8).
The area has just one entrant at 145 in returning qualifier Colton Rapp (D-9 3rd, 21-13) of Clarion, who wrestles Commodore Perry’s John Mott (D-10 2nd, 26-2) in the quarterfinals. Smethport’s James Duffy (D-9 1st, 30-0), the defendinfg champ at 145, also is in the top half.
The bottom at 145 is headlined by Reynolds’ Seth Hogue (34-7), the D-10 champ who is a returning regional champ at 126 and state runner-up.
Bloom (D-9 1st, 29-1) and Hetrick 9D-9 2nd, 26-8) are both in the field at 152 and on opposite sides of the draw.
Bloom, who was second at 138 last year, is in the bottom half and awaits the winner between Sharpsville’s Chris Enos (D-10 4th, 24-8) and Seneca’s Adam Fish (D-10 6th, 17-7), who was fourth at 145 in 2015.
Hetrick, a third-place finisher at 160 last year, is in the top and will wrestle Sharon’s Giovanni Volpe (D-10 3rd, 24-16) in the quarterfinals. The winner of that bout will most likely face D-10 champ Nick Monico (34-4) of Saegertown in the semifinals. Monico was a runner-up at 145 a year ago.
At 160, Brookville’s Dominic Palmer (D-9 4th, 14-11) is the area’s lone wrestler and has a first-round date with Iroquois’ Joe Galvin (D-10 5th, 24-13), with the winner getting D-10 champ Louis Head (31-1) in the quarterfinals.
The lone returning state qualifier in the bracket is D-9 champ Paul Zacherl (34-0), who is on the other side of the draw. Zacherl beat Head, 9-7, for the right to go to states last year on his way to placing third at 152 in Sharon.
The area has three competitors at 170 in Brookville’s Xavier Molnar, Brockway’s Michael Martino and Clarion’s Mike Lefay.
Molnar (D-9 1st, 24-8) is in the top half and will wrestle either Conneaut’s Rodger Bone (D-10 4th, 25-10) or Greenville’s Gavin Wilkerson (D-10 6th, 34-8) in the quarterfinals. Wilkerson was third at 145 last year.
Martino (D-9 2nd, 17-4) a regional returnee, faces LeBoeuf’s Julian Gorring (D-10 3rd, 33-12) in the quarters in the bottom half.
Lefay (D-9 4th, 21-11) also is in the bottom and has a first-round bout with Hickory’s Robbie Thomas (D-10 5th, 22-10), with the winner getting D-10 champ Cody Mulligan (36-4) of Saegertown in the quarterfinals. Mulligan is a returning runner-up at 160.
The bracket at 182 has just three returnees, including two placwinners.
One of those placewinners — Cambridge Springs’ Hunter Cox (D-10 2nd, 25-7) — is in the top half and could face Brookville’s Noah Cieleski in the semifinals. Cieleski (29-5), the D-9 champ, will face either LeBoeuf’s Drew Rose (D-10 4th, 22-19) or Greenville’s Brendan Calvin (D-10 6th, 29-17) in the quarterfinals.
Brockway freshman Garrett McClintick (D-94th, 22-15) finds himself in the bottom at 182 and wrestles Lakeview’s Solomon Daugherty (D-10 5th, 23-14) in the first round. The winner of that bout gets returning regional and state champ Dakota Geer (D-10 1st, 34-0) of Franklin in the quarterfinals.
Sintobin (D-9 1st, 28-2) leads a trio of area wrestlers in the 195-pound field. The Bobcat landed in the bottom half, where he await the winner of a first-round bout between Conneaut’s Braden Morris (D-10 4th, 31-10) and Reynolds’ Jarod Miller (D-10 6th, 13-16).
Sintobin, whoplaced third at 195 last year, could face D-10 runner-up Deven Simpson (32-5) of Cambridge Springs in the semis if both reach that point.
In the top half at 195, Brookville’s Dane Clever (D-9 2nd, 24-9) faces returnee Chris Mueller (D-10 3rd, 28-5) of Sharpsville in the quarterfinals.
Brockway’s Pierce Yahner (D-9 4th, 11-19) also is in the top half and squares off against LeBoeuf’s Lane Reinwald (D-10 5th, 28-140 in the first round for the right to battle D-10 champ Blake Reynolds (40-) of Greenville in the quarterfinals. Reynolds was a runner-up at 152 last year.
The area also has three entrants at 220, with Brookville’s Tyler Cook and Brockway’s Mark Latuska each landing in the bottom half of the draw.
Cook (D-9 2nd, 27-9) battles Reynolds’ Cole Rickert (D-10 3rd, 24-14), the defending champ at 220, in the quarterfinals. The pair have split bouts this year.
Latuska (D-9 4th, 11-17) faces Union City’s Brandon Kent (D-10 5th, 26-8) in the first round, with the winner getting D-10 champ Gage Gladysz (40-0) of Greenville’s in the quarters. Gladysz finished third at 182 last year.
Curwensville’s Stephen McClure (D-9 3rd, 6-3) is in the top half at 220 and squares off against Sharon’s Bryce Laughlin (D-10 2nd, 30-3) in the quarterfinals, with the winner likely getting D-9 champ Ethan Budd (27-20 of Port Allegany in the semis. Budd was third at 220 in 2015.
Much like a couple of the lightweights, the heavyweight bracket is another deep one that consists of seven returnees — four of which went to states in 2015.
One of those returning state qualifiers is Redbank’s BryLee Shumaker (D-9 2nd, 32-2). Shumaker, who was fourth last year at 285, is in the top half of the draw and faces another state qualifier in Cambridge Springs Zach Stafford (D-10 3rd, 24-50 in the quarterfinals. Stafford finished third at regionals at 220 last year.
The winner of that bout will get another regional returnee in the semifinals, as D-10 champ Gene Ringer (31-9) awaits either Brookville’s Bryce Town 9D-9 4th, 21-6) or Northwestern’s Jacob Hanson (D-10 5th, 27-5) in the quarterfinals. Ringer was third at 285 last year.
Ridgway’s Colton McClain (D-9 3rd, 28-6) is in the bottom at 285 and faces D-10 runner-up Jared Miley (19-10) of Hickory in the quarterfinals. That winner will most likely battle D-9 champ Tyler Beal (27-2) of Keystone in the semifinals. Beal was the runner-up at heavyweight last year.
The tournament gets underway Friday at 5:30 p.m., with the first round and quarterfinals being held. Action resumes Saturday at 9 a.m. The third-place matches and finals are slated for 3:30 and 5:15 p.m., respectively.