Cardinals return two to states
Cochranton also upped its number of state qualifiers this season. Last season, Cam Cyphert was the lone traveler to Hershey. This time around, Cyphert has the opportunity to pass on his experience to first-year qualifier, junior Robert Boozer.
“Cam knows the ins and outs and can help R.J.,” Cochranton head coach John Svirbly said. “Maybe next year R.J. can be the mentor. (Cyphert) knows what R.J will be feeling.”
Another key to Cyphert’s run at a state title this year is his health and his status as a Northwest Region champ.
“Cam was kind of expecting it, but it was nice to get that region championship,” Svirbly said. “He finally relaxed and wrestled and that is a big deal for him getting down there. He is good mentally and physically. He will be all right and go in there without any problems.”
The No. 4-ranked Cyphert (31-2), who finished sixth in the state last year, will begin his run in the preliminary round against North Schuykill’s Tanner Dean (28-11). Dean is ranked 16th in the state.
Boozer, ranked 15th in the state, makes his state debut after finishing second in the region. He will face 11th-ranked Briton Shelton (41-7) of Bermudian Springs.
“R.J. is one of the hardest working kids on the team,” Svirbly said. “He works every day to get better. He never gave up in the region final. It shows his character and what type of kid he is.”
Breese, Vargo have confidence
In arguably one of the tougher weight classes in the Northwest Regional tournament, Lakeview’s Sam Breese made it look easy while taking the title.
As an example of just how competitive the regional heavyweight bracket was, the three state qualifiers didn’t even include the District 10 champion.
Breese, a junior, defeated the D-10 champ, Forrest Christmann of Slippery Rock, in the regional semifinals. And Christmann went on to lose to Port Alleghany’s Nicholas Budd in the consolation finals.
Breese’s win over Christmann set up a rematch of the District 10 semifinal between himself and Union City senior Jeff Burger.
In a shocking outcome, Breese pinned Burger in the first period to win the region title.
Breese (33-4), ranked third in the state, will look to continue his hot streak in the preliminary round against 15th-ranked Jacob Beistel (34-5) of Southmoreland.
Burger (26-3), meanwhile, will take on Tussey Mountain’s Mitchell Hall (31-3). Burger and Hall is a battle of top ten wrestlers in the state. Burger comes in ranked fifth and Hall at No. 10.
Burger isn’t the only Bear looking for state medal, either.
Union City’s 170-pound senior Tim Vargo, who was the runner-up at last year’s District 10 and Northwest Regional tournaments, finished the job this year winning both district and region titles.
Vargo (23-1), ranked seventh in the state, will face the eighth-ranked Josh Asper (34-10) of Biglersville in the preliminary round.