By Drew Karpen
March 1, 2013 7:00 a.m. MEADVILLE —
Last week the spotlight belonged to Saegertown, who along with Reynolds, crowned three District 10 Class AA champions at Sharon High School. The Panthers are eager to find out if they can keep the spark going today when they begin their quest at the PIAA Northwest Regional tournament at Sharon.
“They are all excited,” Saegertown head coach Jim Mulligan said. “This team has been through a lot. They are battle-tested.”
In all, the Panthers qualified seven grapplers for the regional with the ultimate goal of continuing their journey into next week at states in Hershey.
With only the top three place-winners in each weight class advancing to states, the preliminary round becomes more crucial than ever.
With the above average performance on the mat last week, five of the seven Panther wrestlers have received byes into the quarterfinal round.
After winning Districts in their respective weight classes, Devin Brown (106), Tyler Vath (120) and Dylan Reynolds (182) received byes into the quarterfinals with an opponent to be determined. Matt Humes, who finished second at Districts last week, will square off against District 9’s Darren Brown of Kane in the quarters. Nick Monico, who finished third last week at 126 pounds, will be up against Mitch Blose of Redbank Valley in the quarters.
“We have wrestled Redbank Valley and Brookville before,” Mulligan said. “We know what they have there. We just have to keep continuing to do what has been working for us.”
The preliminary round wrestlers for Saegertown are Bingbong Elizon and Andrew Boylan. Elizon will see a familiar face in his first match in Cochranton’s Nate Kline at 113 pounds. Kline defeated Elizon last week in the consolation semifinals by a 7-2 decision.
“Bingbong needs to believe in what he can do,” Mulligan said. “He deserves to win. He put the time and work in.”
Also seeking revenge for Saegertown is Andrew Boylan at 160 pounds. Boylan will begin is tournament against Reynolds’ Michael Millero. Millero defeated Boylan 9-5 in the quarterfinals last week.
District 9 is the only other district competing in the regional.
Cards stay strong
It was a rough final day for Cochranton’s wrestling team in the District 10 championships last week. Entering Saturday, the Cardinals had four finalist but were unable to come away with a District champion. Even with the heartbreaking finish, Cochranton head coach John Svirbly knows that his team has an opportunity to make another splash this week.
“We have to keep their confidence up,” Svirbly said. “It is a brand new slate. We just have to keep them relaxed and not put to much pressure on them. They need to stay focused and determined.”
Like the Panthers, the Cardinals were also able to advance seven grapplers to the regional.
“This is my seventh year coaching and this is the most kids I have had that went to the regional,” Svirbly said. “I took five there a couple years ago. It is real exciting.
Last weeks finalist — Robert Boozer (145), Ryan Northcott (160), Austin Andrews (170) and Cam Cyphert (220) — received byes into the quarterfinals. Each will face the task of seeing a new face with all their opponents coming from District 9.
“It is tough for the other kid too,” Svirbly said about facing a new opponent. “Our style of wrestling is that we teach them to adjust to the situation. Adjust your stance and attack and don’t leave yourself vulnerable.”
Boozer will face Ridgeway’s Zac McKnight in the quarterfinals. Northcott will begin with a matchup against Brookville’s Brodie Zacherl. Andrew’s will compete with Redbank Valley’s Brandon Bailey and after a tough overtime loss to Fort LeBoeuf’s Evan Daley at 220 pounds last week, Cyphert will begin his quest against Port Allegany’s Trent Neal.
“He was pretty upset about last week’s loss,” Svirbly said. “He can’t get frustrated. He needs to just go out there and wrestle for six minutes. When Cam gives up those points he starts to panic and doesn’t keep that aggressive nature.”
Competing in the preliminary round for the Cardinals are Kline, Jared Morrison (126) and Caleb Peterson (152).
Bears, Muskies in good position
The District 10 championships were kind to Union City’s Tim Vargo as he was crowned the champion at 170 pounds after a hard-fought overtime victory over Andrews. Vargo, along with heavyweight Jeff Burger, received byes into the quarterfinals. Burger, the District 10 runner-up, will face Jack Karsten of Cameron County.
Also advancing to the regional for the Bears were Dustin Tomcho (126) and Josh Reinke (160). Each finished in sixth place in their respective weight classes at districts.
Jamestown had an opportunity for a district champion last week but senior Nick Floch was unable to finish off Seneca’s Adam Fish in the finals. Floch will face Dalton Zimmerman of Brookville in the quarterfinals at 132 pounds.
The Muskies had three more wrestlers advanced with Faris Messai (106), Seth Thurber (138) and Jason Shappee (195) finishing in the top six last week.
Sailors, Tiger, Eagles stay alive
The Lakeview Sailors, Maplewood Tiger and Conneaut Eagles did not have a strong showing at last week’s districts but were still able to manage to advance three, three and two wrestlers, respectively, to the regional.
Lakeview heavyweight Sam Breese is returning to the regional for the second straight year. Breese finished second in the region last year and eventually went on to states. He will begin his regional journey in the quarterfinals against Dylan Dinch of Smethport. Evan Clayton (106) and Marquis Spence (170) will also be competing for a chance to go to Hershey.
Maplewood also sent three wrestlers to the regional. Daniel Simmerman (120), Zak Dennis (132) and Isaiah Stearns (182) made the cut out of last week’s districts.
Conneaut will be sending the least amount of local grapplers back to Sharon, with Kyle Lukowich and Talor Ellis being the only two to qualify. Lukowich will face Tomcho at 126 pounds in the preliminary round. At 145, Ellis will start with a bout against Louie Head of Eisenhower.