By Pete Chiodo
If General McLane hopes to repeat as the Tool City Wrestling Tournament champs, then the Lancers are going to have to find a way to fend off a few other squads, as the first day of action at Meadville High School’s House of Thrills ended with a heated race at the top.
The Bubblers lead the way with 109.5 points going into today’s final round. Greenville is second with 99 points. General McLane follows in third with 96 points. And Fort LeBoeuf is fourth with 95 points.
The 35th annual edition of the tournament continues today at 9:30 a.m. with the semifinals and consolation action. The consolation finals are then set to begin at 3 p.m. The parade of champions is slated for a 5 o’clock start, followed by the championship finals at 5:30.
McLane has five in the semis
Boiling Springs and Fort LeBoeuf are in good position for the team title, each with six wrestlers in the semifinals.
Yet, General McLane is right in striking distance with five. In the semifinals for the Lancers are senior 113-pounder Joe Wheeling; sophomore 126-pounder Hunter Hendricks; junior 138-pounder Keller Watkins; senior 145-pounder Deane Twitchell; senior 152-pounder Mike Sutton and senior 195-pounder Chris Laird
All of them have important matchups today, which the Lancers will need to distance themselves from the pack. Wheeling, for example, takes on Greenville’s Jase Paxton. Hendricks faces DuBois’ Shae Bloom. Watkins goes up against Greenville’s Gavin Wilkerson. Twitchell has a date with LeBoeuf’s George McGuire. And Laird will take on LeBoeuf’s Garrette Reinwald.
Saegertown has four in semis
Saegertown stands in fifth place with 81 points and has four wrestlers aiming for today’s championship round.
Junior Tyler Vath is in the semifinals at 132 after posting a major decision over McLane’s Owen Watkins and a 5-2 verdict over Prep’s Alex Root. Vath will face Warren’s D.J. Fehlman in the semis.
Panthers sophomore Nick Monico is also in the semifinals at 138. He advanced with a 50-second pin over Howland’s Karlis Larson and a 12-4 major over McGuffey’s Brady Bedillion. Monico will face Titusville’s Dalton Burns this morning.
At 145, Matt Humes will take on Prep’s Teagan O’Sullivan in today’s semifinal round. Humes was 2-0 yesterday with a pin in 1:24 over McGuffey’s Erik Whitfield and a 10-1 major over Greenville’s Derek Watt.
Last but not least, Panthers junior Dylan Reynolds will vie for the 182-pound championship bout when he faces Warren’s Cody Gunn in today’s semis. Reynolds posted a 47-second fall over McDowell’s Dan Eberle and then followed it up with an 18-5 major decision against Prep’s Mike Hughes.
Conneaut advances trio
The Conneaut wrestling team has three possible champions remaining.
At 132 pounds, senior Kyle Lukowich opened with a pin in 3:58 over DuBois’ Austin Gahr, and then bested Greenville’s Blake Reynolds 3-1 to advance to the semis. Lukowich’s next opponent will be Boiling Springs’ Kyle Shoop.
Then at 152, Taylor Ellis advanced to the semifinals after ending a close match with Fort LeBoeuf’s Brad Malinowski with a third-period pin. It was his second win by fall of the tournament. In his first match, he flattened Franklin’s Derek Steetle in 19 seconds. Ellis faces General McLane’s Mike Sutton in the semifinals.
And at 220, Connor Overman notched a big upset over General McLane’s Ian Mallory in the quarterfinals, pinning the Lancers junior in 5:55. Overman also had a 6-1 decision over Cochranton’s Lane Hall. The Eagles senior will try to keep things rolling today when he takes on Boiling Springs Kyle Taylor in the semis.
Ehrgott, Crawford lead ’Dogs
Meadville has a pair of wrestlers gunning for Tool City titles today.
At 113, junior Aaron Ehrgott made it to the semifinals after scoring a 9-0 major decision over McGuffey’s Teague Nicolella and a pin in 1:05 against Seneca Valley’s Ben Lynch. Today, Ehrgott will face McDowell’s Charlie Lenox for a spot in the finals.
Then at 170 pounds, senior Louis Crawford ran off a pair of victories, besting Saegertown’s Dan Simmerman 7-3 before notching a 13-2 major over Seneca Valley’s Brad Hensler. Crawford will face Franklin’s Dakota Geer in this morning’s semifinal round.
Titusville gets two through
Titusville will be represented by two wrestlers in today’s semifinal round.
At 138 pounds, junior Dalton Burns racked up plenty of bonus points with a 17-0 technical fall over Boiling Springs’ Adam Morrow before pinning Warren’s Collin Delattre in 1:54. He’ll take on Saegertown’s Nick Monico in today’s semis.
And at 160, Rockets senior Ehrin Lee advanced with a pair of second-period pins. He beat Logan Jacobs of Cochranton in 2:58, and then got the three-count over General McLane’s Ethan Laird in 3:23. Lee will face Greenville’s Gage Gladysz in the today’s semifinal action.
Boozer leads Cardinals
Cochranton senior Robert Boozer has his sights set on a Tool City title at 152. But first he has to deal with Howland’s Jordan Radich in today’s semis. Radich was a state qualifier in Ohio last season. Boozer was a state qualifier in Pennsylvania.
Yesterday, Boozer went 2-0 thanks to a 6-2 verdict over Cathedral Prep’s Connor Wurst and a 10-0 major over Boiling Springs’ Tyler Kauffman.
The 100-win club
Two wrestlers picked up their 100th win during the tournament yesterday. Cathedral Prep’s 120-pound senior Jake Gromacki picked up No. 11 during a 20-5 technical fall over McGuffey’s Bailey McAdoo.
General McLane’s 152-pound senior Mike Sutton also reached the century mark, scoring it via a 5-0 decision over Seneca Valley’s Austin Leon.