Hidlay alone advances to semifinals

CANONSBURG, Pa. – Mifflin County sophomore Hayden Hidlay could have been upset that he wasn’t seeded in the 46-team Powerade Christmas Wrestling Tournament, which began Friday at Canon-McMillan High School.

Instead he proved on the mat that he should have been seeded. Hidlay, a PIAA qualifier a year ago, recorded three victories in the 138-pound weight class to earn a spot in today’s semifinals – including upsets of two seeded wrestlers.

“I could have been mad about not being seeded, but it doesn’t really matter,” Hidlay said. “You still have to beat the top wrestlers if you want to win a title.”

Hidlay opened the tournament with a 15-0 technical fall over Trent Ferguson of Buford, Ga. He then posted a 3-1 upset of No. 5 seed Mike Kostandaras of Ohio’s Walsh Jesuit High School in the second round. Kostandaras placed fourth in last year’s Powerade Tournament.

Hidlay’s biggest win of the day came in the quarterfinals, an 11-7 win against No. 4 seed Ryan Skonieczny of Ohio’s St. Vincent/St. Mary’s.

“(Skonieczny) took me down too many times, but I caught him in a Jonesy for a five-point move in the third period,” said Hidlay, referring to the deciding points. “It’s a hard move to hit, but he opened himself up and I took advantage.”

Hidlay will face Franklin Regional’s Michael Kemerer, the top seed, in today’s semifinals. Kemerer is a two-time Powerade finalist and one-time champ.

“This is the toughest tournament I’ve ever competed in,” Hidlay said. “It’s just like the state tournament. Hopefully, I’ve proved that I should have been seeded.”

Hidlay was one of four Mifflin County wrestlers who appeared in the quarterfinals, but the other three were not as fortunate.

Noah Stewart recorded a pair of falls in the 152-pound weight class, including an upset of No. 8 seed Kevin Willems of Virginia’s Eastern View in the second round. His luck ran out in the quarterfinals, as he dropped a 7-4 decision to Franklin Regional’s Josh Shields, the No. 1 seed.

Trey Hartsock posted a pair of victories via decision in the 182-pound weight class. He upset No. 7 seed Cullen Burnett of Eastern View in the second round, then lost 11-3 to No. 2 seed Aaron Adkins of Ohio’s St. Vincent/St. Mary’s in the quarterfinals.

Tim Pearce won his first two bouts at 195 pounds, including a 5-2 upset of No. 5 seed Matt Butler of Connellsville in the second round. He fell short of a semifinal berth after a 12-4 loss to Kittanning’s Jake Robb, the No. 4 seed.

Stewart, Hartsock, and Pearce are still alive in the consolation bracket. The fourth round of consolations is slated to begin this morning at 10 a.m., with the semifinals to follow at 11:30. The top eight finishers in each weight class earn placewinner status.

Noah Myers posted a 3-2 record at 113 before losing in the third round of consolations. He won twice in the championship bracket and once in the consolation bracket.

Three other Mifflin County wrestlers posted a 1-2 record: Jonah Schultz (106), Jeff Murphy (132), Isaac Underhill (145) and Zane Walters (220).

Mifflin County had 12 wrestlers entered in the two-day tournament; the Huskies did not field entries at either 160 or 285.

Daulton Wilson (120), Brandon Fultz (126), and Eli Habbershon (170) made a quick exit after losing twice.

Franklin Regional leads the team race with 143 points, while Latrobe is second with 121. Franklin Regional has seven wrestlers in the semis, while Latrobe sent five into the round.

Among the Powerade field are 56 Pennsylvania wrestlers who appeared in the state tournament a year ago, and 40 others who appeared in state events in Georgia, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. The teams present include three of the top five from last year’s PIAA Class AA team wrestling tournament, and five of the top 10 from the Class AAA tournament.