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March 3, 2013

H.S. WRESTLING: Locals grab six golds at Class AA regionals

SHARON — It seemed liked déjà vu at this weekend’s PIAA Class AA Northwest Region tournament at Sharon High School for Saegertown. Last week, the Panthers came away with three District 10 champions with Devin Brown, Tyler Vath and Dylan Reynolds. Fast-forwarding to Saturday, Brown, Vath and Reynolds were again kings of their weight classes — this time picking up region titles.

“The kids are wrestling at a level where every time they step on the mat they are getting better,” Saegertown head coach Jim Mulligan said. “They are happy but they expect to win. These kids are wrestling for their fans, families, the school and the sport of wrestling.”

In all, the Panthers will be sending five wrestlers to Hershey next week for the PIAA championships with Nick Monico and Matt Humes each advancing by winning the consolation finals match in their respective weight class.

Brown was the first Panther to claim the Northwest Region crown, doing so in impressive fashion. After a slow start to the match, Brown cruised through the second and third periods, picking up a 9-1 major decision over Taylor Ortz of Brookville at 106 pounds.

“It’s a really good thing that it happened but I just got one more step to go,” Brown said. “I’m almost at the top of the mountain. That will feel good. I am just glad that all my hard work is paying off.”

The region title is the first one for Brown, who is a transfer from Ohio.

Vath followed Brown’s lead two weight classes later. At 120, the sophomore won his second consecutive regional title with an identical 9-1 major decision over Trent Neely of Smethport.

“It feels awesome,” Vath said. “That was one of my goals this year to get the three wins in a row with Sections, Districts and Regions.”

Still knotted at 0-0, Vath picked up a critical two points and the momentum with a reversal right before the buzzer sounded at the end of the first period.

The rest was history from there as he out-scored his opponent 7-1 the remaining two periods.

Reynolds completed the three-peat for the Panthers with a win at 182 pounds. Reynolds defeated Jamar Henry in the finals for the second week in a row with a 7-2 decision.

 “It’s just a great feeling to win all sections, districts and regions,” Reynolds said. “We are all just a family and awesome group of friends. It is indescribable.”

Monico and Humes were the final two Panthers to secure their spot in Hershey next week. Monico recorded a 6-0 shutout of Ridgeway’s Brett Himes in the consolation final at 126 pounds.

Humes path to Hershey was not as quiet. Humes battled with Cody Bova of Coudersport in the consolation final at 138 pounds. Both grapplers struggled to score a point until Bova notched an escape point late in the second.

After starting the third period on the mat, Humes looked like he was out of gas but found the strength for a two-point reversal with a little less than a minute left. Humes was able to hold on for the 2-1 victory.

“It was big,” Mulligan said about Monico’s and Humes’ match. “Nick destroyed his opponent in the consolation finals and Matt had a very interesting match. He did a good job to hang on to the win.”

Bingbong Elizon was unable to continue his journey to Hershey, losing a 5-1 decision to Cody Buchanan of Sharon in the consolation quarterfinals.

The team finished in second place in the standings with 97 points. Reynolds won the Region title with 118 points.

The five wrestlers advancing to Hershey is also the most in school history for Saegertown.

“This is the first time in school history we have three region champs and this is the most kids we have ever sent to states,” Mulligan said.

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