Meadville Tribune

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February 13, 2014

Bulldogs, other locals aim for spot in Class AAA regional

MEADVILLE — The month-long climb to the top of the state podium begins today for wrestlers in District 10 as the individual postseason kicks off with the Class AAA district championships and the Class AA sectional tournaments.

Central Tech High School in Erie will once again host the D-10 Class AA tournament, beginning today at 5:30 p.m. and concluding on Saturday. The top four wrestlers in each weight bracket will advance to the Northwest Region Championships, which begin Feb. 28 at Altoona High School.

Among those wrestlers working towards a spot at regionals will be a number of Meadville athletes.

The Bulldogs had six wrestlers make it to regionals last season. One of them, last year’s 182-pound runner-up Zach Luben, has graduated. Another, Ben Bish, who was fourth at 182, transferred to McDowell and is the top seed in this year’s 220-pound bracket.

Four others who made it to regionals last season will be aiming to make a return trip. That includes junior 113-pounder Aaron Ehrgott (fourth at 106 last year); sophomore 126-pounder Kyle Luben (third at 120 last year); senior 170-pounder Louis Crawford (fourth at 170 last year) and junior 220-pounder Luke Carr (fourth at 220 last year).

“We are in much the same situation as last year with a lot of those kids,” said MASH head coach Barry Anderson. “They have beat most of the field, and they have all had good seasons. I don’t see any reason they should not make it to regionals.”

And not only is advancing a goal for those four, but they’re also looking to become Meadville’s first District 10 champ since current Edinboro University wrestler Zach Towers capped off a D-10 four-peat with his 170-pound title in 2012.

“But it is not just those four either,” said Anderson. “I think Derek Ridgeway is sitting in a pretty god spot. If he wins a couple matches and he is at regionals. And he is fully capable of taking that next step. Kris Nottingham could make it as well.

“I know they all want to win, too. And they want to go to to regionals and earn a sport to states. We have to wrestle hard this weekend, but our goals are set even higher. This is just the first step in the process for them.”

Meadville isn’t the only area team that will be gunning for gold at this weekend’s Triple-A championship tournament.

Titusville senior Ehrin Lee is the top seed at 160 pounds. He comes in with an outstanding season record of 26-1 and is looking to take one more step up the district podium after finishing second in the same weight bracket a year ago.

Meanwhile, the General McLane wrestling team returns as team champions in 2013. The Lancers edged out McDowell 216 to 202 in last year’s team standings.

The Lancers had five champions a year ago. Two of them — 170-pound champ Tyler Hendricks and 195-pound champ Alex Thayer — have graduated.

Three others return, including 113-pound top seed Joe Wheeling, who won 106 as a junior last year; 152-pounder Mike Sutton, who won the same weight a year ago; and senior Chris Laird, who is the top seed at 195 after winning 182 last season.

McLane has a couple other top seeds looking to fill in the holes left by their graduated champs, like 138-pound top seed Keller Watkins; 145-pound second seed Deane Twitchell; Ethan Laird, a second seed a 160; Ian Mallory, who is seeded second at 220; and 126-pound third seed Hunter Hendricks.

The top four wrestlers advance to the Regional tournament.

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