After the first day of competition at the District 9 Class AA Wrestling Championships, there’s a familiar name at the top of the team standings, but a trio of Allegheny Mountain League teams remain within striking distance.
Brookville tops the table with 81 points, with 10 Raiders still in the championship chase and two more in the consis going into Saturday morning’s semifinal round at Clearfield High School. Port Allegany and Johnsonburg each advanced eight wrestlers and Kane seven into the semis, with the Gators (70.5 points) holding a slim lead for second place over the Rams (67.5) and Wolves (67). Defending champion Brockway (61) is in fifth, with Redbank Valley (54) rounding out the top tier.
Although all 28 first and second seeds are still alive, a No. 3 or 4 seed was no guarantee of a semifinal berth, with five No. 5 seeds (Kane’s Isaak Johnson and Luke Ely, Brockway’s Tanner Morelli, Brookville’s Wyatt Kulik, Redbank Valley’s Ray Schreckengost), a trio of sixes (Brookville’s Wyatt Griffin, Clarion’s Donavan Edmonds, Ridgway’s Jacob Kunselman), and one seventh seed (Cameron County heavyweight Timmy Hasselman) pulling the upsets over higher-seeded wrestlers.
Semifinal matchups (10:30 a.m.):
106: 1 Cayden Walter (Brookville) vs. 4 Alex Bechakas (Kane); 2 Chase Weimer (Port Allegany) vs. 3 Wyatt Shaffer (Johnsonburg).
Weimer eked out a 5-4 win over Shaffer in the Port-Johnsonburg dual meet. He’s faced Walter once, losing via fall, but owns a 3-0 record against Bechakas.
113: 1 Owen Reinsel (Brookville) vs. 5 Isaak Johnson (Kane); 2 Bryent Johnson (Port Allegany) vs. 3 Ridge Cook (Redbank Valley).
Johnson majored Cook, 13-3, last year. He’s 0-2 against Reinsel, 1-0 against the other Johnson.
120: 1 Brayden Kunselman (Brookville) vs. 4 Collin Porter (Johnsonburg); 2 Scott Fuller (Port Allegany) vs. 3 Mark Palmer (Brockway).
Fuller beat Palmer, 9-5, back in December. He lost 6-1 to Kunselman at D-9 Duals, and 4-2 to Porter in their lone meeting.
126: 1 Braedon Johnson (Port Allegany) vs. 4 Harley Morris (Kane); 2 Josh Popson (Brookville) vs. 3 Trenten Rupp (Redbank Valley).
Johnson pinned Morris to win the D-9 title last year. He’s also unbeaten against the other side of the bracket, beating Popson twice and Rupp once.
132: 1 Anthony Glasl (Brockway) vs. 4 Dalton Bish (Redbank Valley); 2 Isaiah Caden (Port Allegany) vs. 3 Nolan Shaffer (Johnsonburg).
Caden, who leads the Gators in both wins (25) and pins (14) this season, dropped Shaffer, 5-2, in their only previous meeting. He beat Bish 6-1 at D-9 Duals, and has never faced three-time champ Glasl.
138: 1 Zach Holland (Curwensville) vs. 5 Luke Ely (Kane); 2 Eli Petruzzi (Port Allegany) vs. 3 Dalton Stahli (Johnsonburg).
Petruzzi (24-2), whose only losses this season came to a pair of defending state champions and Division 1 recruits in Gabe Willochell (Latrobe/Edinboro) and Brady Worthing (Tioga, N.Y./Clarion), is 2-0 against Stahli, notching a pin in their dual-meet bout. He’s never faced either Ely or the unbeaten Holland, who edged Port’s Issac Smoker in the D-9 finals last year.
145: 1 Ethan Wiant (Redbank Valley) vs. 5 Tanner Morelli (Brockway); 2 Lane Hilliard (Kane) vs. 3 Kaden Dennis (Johnsonburg).
Morelli, who lost to Port’s Montgomery Tanner early in the season, turned the tables with a late near-fall for a 7-5 win. ‘Monkey’ will face Cameron County’s Eyan Smith, who he pinned last month, in his first consi match. If he gets past Smith, he’d draw either Hilliard or Dennis in the ‘blood round.’
152: 1 Jake Wickett (Ridgway) vs. 5 Wyatt Kulik (Brookville); 2 Colton Gietler (Oswayo Valley) vs. 3 Aiden Zimmerman (Johnsonburg).
After falling to Kulik for the second time in three weeks, Port’s Ethan DeBockler rebounded with a second-period pin over Kane’s Addison Plants. He’ll face seventh-seeded Linkin Nichols in the next round.
160: 1 Noah Bash (Brockway) vs. 4 Cutter Boggess (Clarion); 2 Cole Casilio (Johnsonburg) vs. 6 Wyatt Griffin (Brookville).
Port’s Taro Tanaka, who lost to Griffin in the quarters, pinned Sheffield’s Jake Davidson in his first consi match and will face Nate Asp (Kane) next. Tanaka won via fall in their lone meeting, earlier this month.
170: 1 Teddy Race (Kane) vs. 4 Seth Stewart (Brockway); 2 Jack McCracken (Curwensville) vs. 6 Donavan Edmonds (Clarion).
Fifth-seeded Isaak Baumgarner lost to Stewart, then decked CC’s Dein Snyder in his consi opener. He’ll face Hayden Kramer (Brookville) next, who he pinned in the D-9 Duals.
182: 1 Ethan Finch (Sheffield) vs. 4 Elliot Park (Brookville); 2 Cameron Whisner (Kane) vs. 3 Tyler Watts (Johnsonburg).
Port’s Dalton Distrola tech-falled his opening-round foe, only to suffer the same fate against the unbeaten Whisner. Distrola pinned CC’s Connor Nolan to stay alive in the consis, and will face Curwensville’s Duane Brady in the next round.
195: 1 Eric Johnson (Brockway) vs. 4 Derek Kallenborn (Port Allegany); 2 Aiden Gardner (Redbank Valley) vs. 3 Cole LaBenne (Brookville).
Kallenborn dropped Kane’s Dakota Neal in 1:29 to advance to the semis. He’s never faced Johnson, a two-time D-9 champion.
220: 1 Nathan Taylor (Brookville) vs. 5 Ray Schreckengost (Redbank Valley); 2 Cale Ayers (Coudersport) vs. 3 Justin Young (Port Allegany).
The bottom semifinal in this bracket is the last of eight all-AML affairs, with both wrestlers advancing via bye following a late scratch. Young stopped Ayers in 1:54 last season, but the two haven’t faced each other this year.
285: 1 Colby Whitehill (Brookville) vs. 7 Timmy Hasselman (Cameron County); 2 Kobe Bonnano (Redbank Valley) vs. 6 Jacob Kunselman (Ridgway).
Hasselman surprised fourth-seeded Shawn Nystrom (Kane) 3-2 in the quarters to earn a meeting with Whitehill, who’s on a 70-match win streak.