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March 1, 2014

Locals punch ticket to Giant Center

SHARON — A total of 11 local wrestlers made the most of their time at Sharon High School this weekend during the Class AA Northwest Regional Tournament at Sharon High School, which wrapped up on Saturday.

Each of those 11 earned one of the top three spots in their respective weight brackets, punching their tickets to Hershey, where they will compete in the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships, which begin Thursday at The Giant Center.

Reynolds and Brookville ran away with the top two team spots in this weekend’s tournament, with Reynolds taking first place with 147 points and Brookville not far behind with 138 points. Fort LeBoeuf (79) followed in third, Saegertown (71) placed fourth and Redbank Valley (59) was fifth.

Saegertown strikes gold

Not one, but two Panthers found their way to the top of the medal stand Saturday, as juniors Tyler Vath and Dylan Reynolds won championships at 132 pounds and 182 pounds, respectively.

Vath took on Crawford County rival Kyle Lukowich of Conneaut in the 132-pound championship bout, whom he beat 3-0 in the District 10 final one week ago.

The championship rematch played out much like the first, as Vath scored an early takedown and rode out his competition the rest of the way for a 2-0 decision. Vath’s approach was a calculated one, scoring early and doing everything in his power to maintain the small lead.

“I didn’t want to let him score,” Vath said coming off the podium. “I really wanted this one. I was really excited when I won this one. Every tournament I get better and I’m really excited.”

It was Vath’s third straight region championship. Now he’s aiming for his third consecutive state medal.

“I want to go down there, have fun, wrestle to the best of my abilities and place,” he said. “I want a medal.”

Reynolds’ trip to Hershey was booked in a much different fashion, as an injury default from Cranberry’s Zachary Bruce put an end to a tightly contested bout with 1:28 left in the match.

With the scored tied 1-1 in the third period, Reynolds brought Bruce down to make it 3-1. And on the score came a scream of pain from the Cranberry grappler. Bruce had injured his lower left leg and was unable to continue, handing Reynolds the victory.

It was Reynolds’ second straight region title. He’ll be looking for his second medal at states as well.

Also hitching a ride out east for the Panthers is sophomore Nick Monico, who earned his second-straight trip to Hershey.

After losing to the eventual champion Brock Zacherl of Brookville in the 138-pound semifinals, Monico rebounded by pinning Smethport’s Adam Shunk and scoring a 5-1 overtime victory over Seneca’s Adam Fish in the consolation finals to earn third place.

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