Carson: Locals continue to excel on mats
The Southern Scuffle is a nice tournament to start the New Year. Throughout its history, the Scuffle has grown in stature and size, bringing heavy hitters like Penn State, Oklahoma State and North Carolina State to Chattanooga.
Winning or placing is a precursor to nationals for some and for others, a chance to showcase their talents during a redshirt season, teasing their program’s respective fan bases for what is coming.
In the former category is the Gruesome Twosome – better known as the Hidlay brothers. The North Carolina State duo and former Mifflin County state champions flexed their collective muscles at the Scuffle.
Hayden was in beast mode running roughshod over the 157-pound field. The Wolfpack junior captured the championship with a 10-0 major decision over Jesse Delvecchia of Rider in the finals. He recorded three majors, a fall and a technical fall in his march to the title. Hayden is now 18-1 on the season.
Trent made it to the finals before dropping a tough 3-2 decision to Louie DePrez of Binghamton in their second meeting of the season. He defeated DePrez by 2-1 tiebreaker in a December dual. Trent owns a 15-2 record and shouldn’t fall far in the rankings with DePrez ranked sixth.
Hayden already proved himself on the national scene with second and fourth-place finishes at nationals. Younger brother is doing the same in his redshirt freshman season.
The work ethic, determination and attitude the brothers embody are off the charts. They have all the traits and makeup of a champion because they are. I’m looking forward to both leaving college with a national title under their belts.
In the latter category, Penn State true freshman Carter Starocci is having quite a redshirt year and giving the Penn State faithful visions of the next Nittany Lion superstar. The former Erie Prep standout is 14-0 with championships at the Clarion Open, Patriot Open and the Southern Scuffle.
Starocci dominated at the Scuffle, going 6-0 with two major decisions and two falls. He dusted Pitt’s Gregg Harvey in the 174-pound finals, 11-6.
I had the pleasure of meeting him last year at the Northwest regionals and interviewed him for a feature story at states. I came away impressed beyond words. He is a class act, a hard worker and very humble.
He has a strong mental game and is only scratching the surface of his potential. Starocci is technically sound, doesn’t give up many points and has a motor that will not quit. Nothing fancy, just solid fundamentals.
His high school resume is impressive. Starocci went 160-10 at Erie Prep with two PIAA championships, a PIAA runner-up finish, four Northwest regional crowns and four District 10 titles.
Many PSU fans talk up Michael Beard, Joe Lee, Seth Nevills and now Greg Kerkvliet and rightfully so. They are all major talents but don’t be surprised if Starocci becomes the standout among the Penn State redshirts.
Stewart Places at Midlands
Army West Point senior Noah Stewart recently finished sixth at the prestigious Midlands Tournament.
Stewart, ranked 12th in the nation at 184 pounds, is 10-3 on the season and another former Husky doing the county proud.
Noah, like the Hidlay’s, has a stellar work ethic. He’s done a great job of getting better from the neutral position – one reason for his outstanding season. Noah is one of the best riders I’ve ever seen and his tight-waste tilt can turn anybody. All he needed was to get better on his feet and he has.
Battle of the Best in District 6
Mifflin County and Central Mountain, winners of the last 12 District 6 Dual Meet titles, face off on Tuesday, January 7 at Mill Hall in the next chapter of this intense rivalry.
The 21st-ranked Huskies enter 4-0 and the Wildcats counter with a 5-0 mark.
Mifflin County features six ranked wrestlers – Nic Allison (No. 7 at 106), Hunter Johnson (No. 23 at 113), Derek Burk (No. 22 at 126), Trey Kibe (No. 1 at 170), Brycen Hassinger (No. 25 at 182) and Blaine Davis (No. 14 at 285).
Ranked wrestlers for Central Mountain include Geno Serafini (No. 22 at 106), Derek Keen (No. 13 at 113), Taylor Weaver (No. 18 at 126) and Lane Porter (No. 25 at 152).
If Johnson and Burk are still out with injuries, the lightweights belong to the Wildcats. There are toss-ups throughout the middle and it will favor the Huskies in the upper weights. Bonus points, like in every match, are key. Get them don’t give them. What it all boils down to is another barnburner between the two standard-bearers in District 6 Class 3A.
Besides the six Huskies, our local area features five other state-ranked grapplers. Midd-West has three and Mount Union clocks in with two.
Jake Ryan is top-ranked at 220 and Bryce Beatty is 19th at 120 for the Trojans. Avery Bassett leads the Mustangs with a No. 2 ranking at 145. Joining him are freshman Conner Heckman (No. 11 at 113) and Trey Lauver (No. 10 at 195).
D6 Alive and Well in Class 2A
PA Power Wrestling released its rankings after Powerade and District 6 is alive and well in the 2A rankings.
Five individuals from District 6 hold the number one ranking – Brock McMillen (Glendale), Gage McClenahan (Bald Eagle Area), Caleb Dowling and Tyler Stoltzfus (St. Joseph’s Catholic) and Ryan.
Below are the top-ranked wrestlers and teams in each class:
106: Mac Church, 9th, Waynesburg Central
113: Carter Dibert, 11th, Franklin Regional
120: Kyle Hauserman, 11th, Council Rock North
126: Luke Lucerne, 12th, Council Rock North
132: Gabe Willochell, 12th, Greater Latrobe
138: Sam Hillegas, 12th, North Hills
145: Jagger Condimitti, 11th, Northampton
152: Ed Scott, 12th, DuBois
160: Clayton Ulrey, 12th, Lower Dauphin
170: Trey Kibe, 11th, Mifflin County
182: Gerrit Nijenhuis, Canon-McMillan
195: Kyle Swartz, 12th, Northern York
220: Nate Schon, 11th, Selinsgrove
285: Hunter Catka, 12th, Sun Valley
106: Jaden Pepe, 9th, Wyoming Area
113: Gary Steen, 11th, Reynolds
120: Sheldon Seymour, 12th, Troy
126: Ryan Crookham, 10th, Notre Dame-Green Pond
132: Brock McMillen, 11th, Glendale
138: Kaden Cassidy, 12th, Bedford
145: Gage McClenahan, 12th, BEA
152: Caleb Dowling, 12th, St. Joseph’s Catholic
160: Thayne Lawrence, 12th, Frazier
170: Tyler Stoltzfus, 12th, St. Joseph’s Catholic
182: Derek Berlitz, 10th, Notre Dame-Green Pond
195: Gaige Garcia, 12th, Southern Columbia
220: Jake Ryan, 12th, Mount Union
285: Colby Whitehill, 12th, Brookville
Thanks for reading.