HERSHEY — The success enjoyed by the Tri-County Area Thursday at the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships wasn’t limited to just Brookville and Brockway, as the rest of the local contingent put together a strong day as well.
The six state qualifiers from Curwensville, Redbank Valley, Clarion and Ridgway combined to go 5-3 on the day with four of the six reaching today’s quarterfinals.
Redbank pushed both its wrestlers — seniors Tanner Altobelli (126) and BryLee Shumaker (285) — into the quarterfinals, while Curwensville senior Shae Bloom (152) and Clarion senior Zach Sintobin (195) joined them there. Bloom’s teammate, freshman Blake Passarelli (106), went 1-1 to stay live for a medal, while Ridgway junior heavyweight Colton McClain was the only one of the group to go 0-2 and be eliminated.
Altobelli (32-2), part of the extremely deep and talented field at 126, used a strong first period against Hughesville senior Trevor Sones (26-13) to reach the quarters with a 6-3 win.
The Bulldog scored the opening takedown, and after Sones escaped, took Sones down to his back for a four-point to help build a 6-2 lead after on period.
Altobelli chose neutral in the second and two pair battled the entire period on their feet. Sones added an escape from the bottom position in the third, but Altobelli once again was strong on his feet to come away with the win.
The victory earned Altobelli a quarterfinal date with defending state champ Max Murin (38-1) of Central Cambria. Murin struck gold at 113 last year.
As for Shumaker (36-2), he wrestled a tight first-round heavyweight bout with Keystone Oakes senior Joe Kazalas (36-8) before notching a fall in the third period. Kazalas was fresh off capturing his 100th career victory in the pigtail round.
The pair wrestled a scoreless first period, then Shumaker rode Kazalas the entire second period. Shumaker chose bottom in the third and quickly reversed Kazalas to his back to record the pin 34 seconds into the period.
Bloom (33-1) didn’t necessarily put on a big offensive display but was also was never really threatened in his 152-pound first-round bout against Saucon Valley senior Nathan Harka (35-10) in a battle of returning state qualifiers.
After a scoreless first period, Harka chose bottom in the second but never got out from under Bloom, who turned Harka for two backpoints to grab a 2-0 lead. Bloom then chose bottom himself in the third and reversed Harka just pas the midway point of the period before scoring three late back points for a 7-0 victory.
Bloom, who was fifth last year at 138, squares off against another returning medalist in Burrell senior Damon Greenwald (40-8) in this morning’s quarterfinals. Greenwald was seventh at 152 a year ago.
As for Passarelli (29-9), he went 1-1 on the day at 106.
The freshman drew a tough first-round bout against Benton sophomore Joseph Klock, who tech falled Passarelli, 17-1, in 5:39.
The loss dropped Passarelli into a consolation pigtail bout against a familiar foe in Cochranton junior Devan Davis, who the Passarelli beat twice last weekend in Sharon — including by a defensive fall in the third-place match while trailing 4-0.
And just like that third-place bout last weekend, Davis once again went out front — building an 8-0 lead in the second period after nearly pinning the Tide freshman. However, Passarelli fought of his back late in the period and promptly reversed Davis to his back, getting the fall call just before the second-period buzzer sounded to live another day in Hershey.
Up next for Passarelli is Penn Cambria junior Chase Proudfit (29-14).
Sintobin (31-3), at states for the second straight year, punched his ticket to the quarterfinals by pinning Danville senior Sam Crone (34-8) in 1:53. Next up for the Bobcat is Southwest region champ Bill Bowlen (36-3) of Jefferson-Morgan. Bowlen placed sixth at 18 last year.
McClain (30-10) saw his impressive junior campaign come to and end Thursday with his two setbacks.
The Elker was pinned in a 285-pound pigtail match in 2:32 by Williams Valley’s Ian Minnich (31-10), then was pinned by Mount Pleasant senior Josh Lind (34-9) in 4:52. Lind placed fifth at heavyweight last year.