Carson: Big week for local wrestling
The post-season gets underway in full force this weekend with the District 6 Class 2A wrestling championships in Altoona.
Districts are the first rung of a three-week journey to crown the 28 individuals who make up that rare breed known as PIAA champions.
Whenever the post-season rolls around, I channel my inner Jimmy the Greek and the ye olde prognostication antenna gets activated. For you younger folks, Google Jimmy and you’ll learn who he is.
With that said, below are my predictions on who will bring home District 6 Class 2A gold.
106: Coen Bainey, BEA
113: Hunter Walk, Tyrone
120: Cooper Gilham, BEA
126: Jackson Arrington, Forest Hills
132: Brock McMillen, Glendale
138: Zack Witmer, St. Joseph’s
145: Gage McClenahan, BEA
152: Caleb Dowling, St. Joseph’s
160: Keegan Rothrock, St. Joseph’s
170: Tyler Stoltzfus, St. Joseph’s
182: Myles Baney, Huntingdon
195: Tanner Dluhos, Westmont-Hilltop
220: Jake Ryan, Mount Union
285: Marvin Beatty, Marion Center
The feature match should be the battle at 145 between McClenahan and Forest Hills sophomore Erik Gibson. McClenahan, second in the state two years ago, returns from a devastating knee injury that cost him all of 2019. Gibson was third in the state last year as a freshman. Should be a great battle.
Penn State-Ohio State at BJC
The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes clash tonight at the Bryce Jordan Center in Penn State’s final Big Ten dual of the regular season.
Penn State (10-2, 7-1) features eight ranked wrestlers while Ohio State (10-3, 6-2) brings in six including three at No. 1 – Luke Pletcher (141), Sammy Sasso (149) and Kollin Moore (197).
The main event showcases Pletcher and Nick Lee in a battle of No 1 vs. No. 2. Both are undefeated, Pletcher is 23-0 and Lee is 16-0.
Lee is wrestling at another level this season. The Nittany Lion junior owns 13 straight bonus-point victories including a technical fall over Wisconsin’s Tristan Moran and a fall over Minnesota’s Mitchell McKee last weekend. Both were ranked in the top five. This will be his first meeting with Pletcher.
Hate to go against Pennsylvania kids but I believe Lee will trash the former Greater Latrobe standout. Lee has flipped a switch both physically and mentally. His mat wrestling is stellar, so good in fact, I don’t believe any wrestler in his weight class can avoid being turned by Lee’s two-on-one tilt.
PA Power Rankings
The latest edition of the PA Power Rankings are out and 11 locals are in the top 25 of their respective weight classes.
Mifflin County has four in Class 3A with Trey Kibe (No.1 at 170), Nic Allison (No. 8 at 106), Blaine Davis (No. 11 at 285) and Kyler Everly (No. 25 at 132).
In Class 2A, Midd-West has five in the rankings led by Avery Bassett, No. 2 at 145. Other Mustangs include Trey Lauver (No. 15 at 195), Connor Heckman (No. 17 at 113), Aidan Steininger (No. 24 at 126) and Josh Rodriguez (No. 24 at 160).
Jake Ryan (No. 2 at 220) and Bryce Beatty (No. 10 at 113) lead Mount Union.
Below are the top-ranked wrestlers in each weight class:
106: Mac Church, 9th, Waynesburg Central
113: Carter Dibert, 11th, Franklin Regional
120: Kyle Hauserman, 11th, Council Rock North
126: Kurtis Phipps, 12th, Norwin
132: Kenny Hermann, 12th, Bethlehem Catholic
138: Sam Hillegas, 12th, North Hills
145: Cole Handlovic, 12th, Bethlehem Catholic
152: Ed Scott, 12th, DuBois
160: Clayton Ulrey, 12th, Lower Dauphin
170: Trey Kibe, 11th, Mifflin County
182: Gerrit Nijenhuis, 12th, Canon-McMillan
195: Luke Stout, 12th, Mount Lebanon
220: Nate Schon, 11th, Selinsgrove
285: Hunter Catka, 12th, Sun Valley
106: Branden Wentzel, 9th, Montoursville
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: Dane Csencsits, 12th, Notre Dame-Green Pond
195: Gaige Garcia, 12th, Southern Columbia
220: Kolby Flank, 12th, Wilson Area
285: Colby Whitehill, 12th, Brookville