There are a lot of sports where teams and athletes from the Tri-County Area — and District 9 as a whole — don’t get the respect they deserve from different parts of the state, but wrestling isn’t one of them.
Area wrestlers have a long-standing tradition of enjoying postseason success and bringing home hardware from the state tournament, and the last decade was no different.
Six local wrestlers struck gold in Hershey during the 2010s, while countless others landed on the podium during the decade inside the Giant Center.
Brookville largely carried the banner for the Tri-County Area, both individually and team-wise, during the decade and sported four of the area’s state champs in Brock Zacherl (2014), Taylor Ortz (2016), Gavin Park (2017) and Colby Whitehill (2019). The Raiders also captured the 2016 Class AA state team title and team crown at individual states that same year.
The Raiders also placed fourth in the team tournament three times and Ridgway once in the decade, as the two schools combined to win the D-9 Class AA team title nine teams (Brookville 7) in the 2010s.
Success at the state level wasn’t limited to just the Raiders and Elkers though, as seven area schools combined to produce 17 multi-state medalists — five of whom won three — in the decade.
Brookville dominated that group with eight wrestlers who won at least two PIAA medals, while DuBois and Brockway each had three.
Given all that success, it should come as no surprise that the Raiders have a heavy presence on the Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express All-Decade Wrestling Team for the 2010s.
The squad is a compilation of the best wrestlers from the past decade from all areas of a starting lineup — lightweights (106-132) to middleweights (138-160) to upperweights (170-285) — instead of exact weight classes
The squad was a tough one to crack, as evident by the fact some of those multiple-time state medalists and many multi-year state qualifiers fell just short of making it.
What wasn’t tough was deciding who built the best resume to earn Wrestler of the Decade honors among all the quality competitors who hit the mats in the 2010s.
That wrestler was Ortz, who graduated from Brookville in 2016 after a banner senior season that saw him pull off the rare feat of winning three state championships in one season. He helped lead the Raiders to their two team state titles that season along with winning individual gold at 132 pounds.
Ortz’s resume went well beyond those three state crowns though, as he was the lone wrestler to earn TCS/CE Wrestler of the Year honors twice in the decade.
He was a four-time state qualifier and one of four Raiders to win three medals in their career. He is one of just two Raiders to ever reach states all four years of their career. Along the way, he won four District 9 and three Northwest Regional titles along the way. He also was a regional runner-up as a freshman.
The Raider added a pair of PIAA bronze medals earlier in his career to go along with his gold — placing third at 113 and 120 as a sophomore and junior, respectively.
Ortz finished his standout career with an impressive 156-13 record. Those 156 wins are a Brookville record and still rank second in District 9 history behind only Port Allegany’s Nick Nichols (168-25), who graduated in 2008.
Here is a look at the remainder of the All-Decade Team, which is headlined by the other five state champs:
Gavin Park, Brookville (2013-17) - Park was a three-time state qualifier and two-time medalist during his Raiders career and also was part of the two team state titles in 2016. He also won three D-9 titles and three Northwest Regional crowns.
He won his first state medal as a junior, placing seventh as a junior at 113 in 2016. He followed that up with a 43-3 senior season that culminated in him winning a state title at 120 pounds.
Park ended his career with a 125-23 record.
Corey Bush, Ridgway (2008-12) - One of the last major links to the Elkers’ heyday, Bush wrestled the final two years of his career in the 2010s. He was a three-time state qualifier, landing on the podium all three years, while capturing three D-9 titles and two regional crowns.
After placing fourth at states as a sophomore at the old 103-pound class in 2009, he added eighth place (119) and fifth-place (126) medals as a junior and senior, respectively.
Bush, who was 140-20 in his career, still ranks third on the Elkers all-time wins list.
Ryan Carlson, Brockway (2012-16) - Carlson, a three-time state qualifier, is one of only three Rovers to ever land on the podium three times in Hershey. The only others are the Rendos Brothers, Scott and Andy.
He placed eighth (113) as a sophomore, sixth (106) as a junior and eighth (120) again as a senior. He won a pair of D-9 AA titles and one regional crown as a sophomore.
Carlson ended his career with a 113-35 record.
Anthony Glasl, Brockway (2016-20) - Glasl, one of three current wrestlers to land on the team, has reached states each of his first three seasons, medaling twice. He was sixth as a freshman (106) and fifth a year ago at 126.
The Rover has won three D-9 titles along the way and finished second all three years at regionals. With the start of a new decade upon us, he has a chance to join Andy Rendos as the lone Rovers to win four district crowns and become just the fourth Rover to medal at states for a third time.
Glasl entered the weekend with a career mark of 121-20, which puts him fourth on the school’s all-time wins list.
Willie Gruver, Redbank Valley (2010-14) - Gruver was a three-time state qualifier and one of four Bulldogs to win at least two PIAA medals.
Gruver, who two district titles and a pair of regional crowns, placed seventh as a junior (113) and eighth (120) as a freshman. He finished his career second on the school’s all-time wins list with a 131-31 record — one win behind Jonathan Brothers (132-25).
Brock Zacherl, Brookville (2010-14) - Zacherl is one of the four Raiders to have three state medals on his resume — landing on the podium in each of his three trips to Hershey.
He won all three of his medals — 7th (sophomore), 4th (junior) and gold (senior) — at the same weight (138 pounds).
Zacherl collected three D-9 titles and a pair of regional crowns along the way and sits third on the school’s all-time wins list with a mark of 130-14.
Ed Scott, DuBois (2016-20) - The second of the three current wrestlers on the squad, Scott is in the process of adding to legacy and hasn’t tasted defeat often in his Beavers’ career. He has lost just six bouts in his three-plus career. And, three of those have come in Hershey.
The Beaver has won three District 4/9 Class AAA titles and three Northwest Regional crowns en route to reaching states every year of his career. He has landed on the podium twice in Hershey, placing third as a freshman at 113 before winning it all at 138 a year ago as part of a 39-0 season.
Competing at 152 this season, Scott can become the first Beaver to win both a second state title and a third PIAA medal while winning his fourth district and regional crowns. He entered the weekend with a career record of 123-6
Shae Bloom, DuBois/Curwensville (2012-16) - Bloom put together a stellar career that saw him spend his freshman and sophomore years at DuBois and his final two seasons at Curwensville.
Despite competing in two different classifications, he won four D-9 titles and reached states all four years. He added a pair of regional crowns — one in AA and AAA — while also finishing second at regionals in each class.
Bloom was a two-time PIAA medalist, placing fifth as a junior (138) and senior (152) while at Curwensville. He finished his career with a 140-21 record between both schools.
Caleb Hetrick, Brookville (2014-18) - Hetrick joins Ortz as the only Brookville wrestlers to be four-time state qualifiers and is one of four Raiders to capture three state medalists. He also was a member of the 2016 squad that won both state team titles.
He placed eighth (152) in Hershey as a sophomore before moving up to seventh (152) as a junior and fourth (145) in his senior year.
Hetrick, who won districts and regionals each of his final two seasons, posted a career record of 127-38. He is tied for fourth in wins in school history.
Zach Vroman, Brookville (2010-14) - Vroman, a three-time D-9 champion, made it to states each of his final two seasons at 145 pounds, placing fifth as a junior and third as a senior when his lone loss in Hershey came to eventual state champ Jason Nolf.
Vroman posted a 127-37 career record, which still ties him for fourth in school history in wins with Hetrick.
Kolby Ho, DuBois (2014-18) - Ho, a three-time state qualifier, captured three district titles in Class AAA during his career and a Northwest Regional crown as a senior.
He captured a PIAA silver medal at 145 pounds his senior season and finished his career with a mark of 120-29.
Luke McGonigal, Clearfield (2014-18) - McGonigal enjoyed one the best careers in Clearfield history in the modern era. He was a four-time Class AAA district champ and four-time state qualifier who reached the PIAA finals in each of his final two seasons. He only collected one regional crown as a junior though.
McGonigal was the state runner-up as a junior (170) before ending his career with a state title at 195 pounds as a senior. He went a combined 71-3 his final two years, posting a career mark of 135-21. He finished tied for second in school history in wins, one behind record-holder Matt Kyler (136-13).
Colby Whitehill, Brookville (2016-20) - The last of the three current wrestlers to earn All-Decade honors, Whitehill burst onto the local and state wrestling scene as a sophomore — going 79-7 between that season and his junior campaign.
He won D-9 titles both seasons, adding a regional crown as a junior, while reaching and eventually winning medals at states both years at heavyweight. The Raider placed eighth as a senior before winning gold a year ago with a perfect 39-0 season.
Whitehill, who currently sports a career record of 110-13, can become the Raiders’ first two-time state champ this season as well as join the school’s exclusive group of three-time state medalists.
Tom Sleigh, DuBois (2010-14) - Sleigh cemented his place as one of the best to ever wear a DuBois singlet. He was a four-time district champ, two-time regional champ and four-time state qualifier — winning PIAA bronze medals as a junior (170) and senior (195).
DuBois’ all-time wins leader (140-24), the only thing missing from Sleigh’s high school resume was a state title — something that eluded him over his final two years despite him going 80-2 during that stretch. Both losses came in Hershey to the eventual Class AAA state champ each year.
Geno Morelli, DuBois (2008-12) - Morelli, a three-time D-9 Class AAA champ, qualified for states as a junior (152) and senior (170). He placed fifth both years to become just the second DuBois wrestler at the time to win a second state medal — a feat later matched by Sleigh and Scott.
Morelli graduated with a career record of 126-32 and still ranks fifth in school history in wins.