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Area wrestling preps for state tournaments

PIAA Team Championships

LHU alum Dave Crowell did it again with his Nazareth team.The Blue Eagles won the AAA title at the state dual meet championships.

But be wary of Waynesburg (an AA team that wrestles up). Coach Joe Throckmorton has a team that has ALL underclassmen, including two of the best in the state- Mac Church at 106 and Wyatt Henson at 138. Henson is the son of former WVU coach Sammie Henson. Sammie was a World Champion, winning a gold medal in freestyle for the USA at the 1998 FILA Wrestling World Championships, held in Tehran, Iran. He was also an NCAA Champion at 115 in 1994 for Clemson.

State College went 1-2 in the tournament but were competitive. They lost 34-29 in the opening round to a very solid Seneca Valley team, then cruised by Garnet Valley, 38-18 before taking 4th placer Erie Cathedral Prep to the limit before losing 37-33. Prep, in our NW AAA Region, does not quite have the star power they’ve shown the last few years but are still formidable. LHU alum Jeff Karam’s Bethlehem Catholic team was 3rd, destroying Cathedral Prep, 45-15.

In Class AA, Reynolds won their 4th straight title, downing favored Southern Columbia, 34-27. Chestnut Ridge finished 3rd slipping by Saucon Valley, 36-31. Reynolds is coached by former LHU wrestler Casey Taylor.

As mentioned above Sammie Henson was an NCAA Champion for Clemson and Wade Schalles. Clemson has not had a wrestling program for several years. Placing 8th in NCAAs that year at 115 was Lock Haven’s own Pete Rinella. Pete wrestled for Bloomsburg and was coached to a PIAA title by currrent Wildcat assistant Doug Buckwalter. Steve Krouse was 6th at 134. Krouse, also a current asst coach at Central Mountain, was a PIAA Champion for Coach Buckwalter. Cary Kolat, wrestling then for Penn State, finished 3rd at 134. Other names that showcase Central PA that year include John Hughes (Penn State) 7th at 142; Dan Wirnsberger (Bucknell coach) 8th for Michigan State at 158; Bob Ferraro, Jr (Bucknell) 8th at 177; Kerry McCoy (Penn State) 1st at 275.

Teague McCormack, son of former Sugar Valley and BE-N three- time PIAA champion Trap McCormack, is having a breakout year for Central Bucks West. He is 23-1 at 106-pounds (as of this writing). Look for the sophomore’s name in the upcoming District 1 PIAA qualifier.

Central Mountain (10-4) closed out their dual meet season with a visit to Hollidaysburg (2-11) last night. Hollidaysburg has been forfeiting four weight classes and the Wildcats were heavily-favored to win #12 before prepping for the 8-team District 6 Class AAA Championships. The team race at ‘Districts’ should be competetive among the four top-ranked teams: Mifflin County, Bellefonte, State College and the Wildcats of Central Mountain. Altoona, Johnstown, Hollidaysburg, and Juniata each have a couple of top-flight wrestlers who could play spoiler to the the top four. The seeding meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday at Tyrone Middle School.

Neil Turner is stepping down from his perennial role as the master of ceremonies at the spring PA Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame banquet. Replacing Neil will be the voice of Penn State wrestling Jeff Byers.

Sugar Valley finished 4th at the Juniata Valley Invitaional last weekend. The Phoenix were paced by Naaman Conoway (1st), Dom Kennedy (2nd), Kyle Stahl (3rd), Corey King (3rd) and Corbin Homan(4th). SVRCS closed out their season at Williamson on Tuesday night. Berks Countyu took the title with James Buchanan and Juniata Valley finishing 3rd and 4th. My alma mater Moshannon Valley was 5th. Johnstown finished last in the eleven team field.

Bald Eagle Area (12-4) had a season-ending huge win over Shikellamy, 59-12, and will ready for the Class AA Tourny in Altoona this weekend. Bellefonte (11-5) traveled to Sunbury to complete their dual meet season on Tuesday night blasting Shikellamy, 60-21. Jersey Shore (5-12) had a rough opponent last night with the Millionaires of Williamsport, who won the District 4/9 team championships and competed in the PIAA State Team Championships. The Millionaires went 0-2 at Hershey but gave District 3 champ Gettysburg a battle before dropping a 41-33 battle.

My Class AA Team finish prediction:

1. Westmont Hilltop 2. St. Joseph’s Catholic 3. Glendale 4. Forest Hills 5. Bald Eagle Area 6. P-O 7. Huntingdon 8. Penns Valley 9. Richland 10. Mt. Union.

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