D-9 AA Wrestling Championships ready to hit the mat in Clearfield

Shunk, Duffy, Budd claim top seeds from AML

Feb. 26, 2016

The road to a Class AA Pennsylvania state wrestling title begins at Clearfield High School this weekend, with District 9 crowning champions in 14 weight classes and the top four finishers in each advancing to the Northwest Regional at Sharon on March 4-5.

Leading a group of three returning regional qualifiers determined to improve on Port Allegany’s fourth-place team finish last year, defending 220-pound champ Ethan Budd will attempt to become just the seventh Gator grappler to win at least two D-9 titles, an exclusive club which includes three-timers Isaac Greeley (1991-93), Adam Rohrer (2001-03), Nick Nichols (2006-08) and Alex Gular (2010-12), along with Budd’s uncle, 1988 PIAA champion Dale Budd (1986, 88), and Dylan Major (2008-09).

Ethan’s fellow seniors, 152-pound runner-up Mac Tanner and 170-pound bronze medalist Josiah Ramadhan, also made it to Sharon last year before falling just short of earning a trip to Hershey.

Action in Class AA will get underway at 4 p.m. Friday with the preliminary and quarterfinal rounds and wrestlebacks, then resume at 10 a.m Saturday for the semifinals and consi semis. At 3 p.m., the District IX Chapter of the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame will induct its latest class, followed by the Parade of Champions and the district finals and third-place matches.

The eight-man Class of 2016 will have a strong Allegheny Mountain League presence, with former Port coach John Kriner, Coudersport two-time state champ Dirk Cowburn, and former Cameron County coach and local referee Jim Baker among the inductees. Kriner founded the Gator varsity program in 1973, compiling a 145-85-1 record during his two head-coaching stints from 1973-79 and 1986-94.

Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for students.

Local Class AA wrestlers:
106: No. 1 seed Keelan Kunselman (Brookville, jr., 22-10) will open against Darien Gregory (Smethport, fr., 11-12) in the quarterfinal round.
Port freshman Reese Vollmer (15-11) is seeded sixth, drawing No. 3 Kyle Bush (Ridgway, so., 22-6) in the quarters. The two met at the season-opening Hickory Tournament with Bush claiming a 10-3 decision.
AML: (4) Noah Blankenship (Kane, fr., 21-4) vs. the winner of (5) Brayden Altobelli (Redbank Valley, fr., 11-6) vs. Login Dehner (Clarion, fr., 18-10); (7) Dylan Pesock (Oswayo Valley, so., 12-10) vs. the winner of Brynen Kisiel (Coudersport, fr., 8-16) vs. (2) Blake Passaielli (Curwensville, fr., 23-6). Vollmer has beaten Pesock once (1-0 in OT) and Kisiel twice (pin at Hickory, tech-fall in the dual meet), but lost twice to Blankenship (7-0 at Kane, pin in finals at the Salamanca Tournament).

113: The reigning champion, Port High grad Casey Vollmer, went on to place fourth at regionals and qualify for states last year. He’s now wrestling for Gannon University. Top seed Gavin Park (Brookville, so., 13-2) starts against Christian Whisner (Kane, so., 11-13), with eighth-seeded Gator freshman Issac Smoker (18-11) awaiting the winner in the quarters.
AML: (5) Kole Holden (Sheffield, jr., 20-8) vs. the winner of (4) Alex Struble (Clarion, sr., 19-9) vs. Hunter Martz (RV, fr., 14-16); Austin Hartzell (OV, so., 14-7) vs. (2) Mitchell Overbeck (Brockway, sr., 23-4); Trevor Olney (Coudy, jr., 15-4) vs. the winner of Ravon Foltz (Cameron County, sr., 6-13) vs. (6) Bryce Barclay (Ridgway, so., 21-6). Smoker pinned Hartzell, lost via pin to Olney in AML action.

120: No. 1 seed Brockway senior Ryan Carlson (26-1) was last year’s runner-up to Vollmer at 113.
Fifth-seeded Port sophomore Trey Stiles (16-4) opens against (4) Dawson Wilson (RV, jr., 14-10) in the quarterfinals.
AML: (8) Bryce Hale (Smethport, jr., 16-13) vs. Caleb Wry (Cranberry, so., 5-7), with the winner to face Carlson; Patrick Rounsville (OV, fr., 5-14) vs. (3) Luke McClain (Ridgway, so., 19-5), with the winner to face (6) Brock Foltz (CC, sr., 12-10). Stiles pinned Hale at Hickory.

126: Defending champ Tanner Altobelli (RV, sr., 25-1), the No. 1 seed, faces OV freshman David Duell (6-7) in the first round.
AML: (4) Dustin Kudrick (Coudy, so., 15-9) vs. Igor Kopytyak (Sheffield, sr., 2-12); Ethan Fields (CC, fr., 6-16) vs. (3) Drew Baumgratz (Ridgway, jr., 21-6); Chris Kennedy (Johnsonburg, sr., 9-16) vs. (2) Mason Lindenmuth (Brockway, sr., 25-3).

132: Eighth-seeded Port junior Devin Gustin (6-11) faces a tall task in the quarterfinals against unbeaten Taylor Ortz (34-0). The nationally ranked Brookville senior, who earned bronze at states last year after claiming the 120-pound D-9 and Northwest Regional championships, has signed to wrestle at Clarion University next season.
AML: (4) Devon Norlin (Johnsonburg, so., 17-9) vs. Shalil Wall (Sheffield, jr., 2-12); (7) Alex Sanderson (Smethport, so., 12-9) vs. the winner of (2) Logan McClain (Ridgway, so., 24-4) vs. Chucky Gardner (Kane, so., 5-9); John Fitzgerald (Coudy, so., 5-14) vs. (3) Josh Hanncock (Cranberry, jr., 27-6). Gustin decisioned Gardner and Fitzgerald and lost to McClain and Norlin during the regular season.

138: Last year’s runner-up, Smethport senior Adam Shunk (23-3), is the top seed. The returning state qualifier will face Austin Curtis (Keystone, sr., 9-16) in the prelims.
AML: (3) Kyle Holden (Sheffield, sr., 18-9) vs. Isiah Barney (OV, fr., 10-11), with the winner to face (6) Jake Zimmerman (Johnsonburg, so., 15-16); (4) Alec English (Kane, fr., 17-6) vs. CJ Shreffler (Cranberry, fr., 11-15); (7) David Kudrick (Coudy, so., 16-13) vs. Nate Wolff (Ridgway, sr., 7-17).

145: Shunk’s classmate, James Duffy (26-0), is the reigning district and regional champ and PIAA bronze medalist. Duffy, the seventh Hubber wrestler to place at states and first to make the top three since 1991, will face Mason Lancaster (Curwensville, jr., 2-9) in his opening match.
Port sophomore (6) Jacob Kallenborn (20-8) opens with Cody Marfink (Sheffield, jr., 4-10).
AML: (3) Aiden Hulings (Kane, fr., 16-6) vs. Hunter O’Neil (Cranberry, fr., 1-12); (2) Julian Smith (Coudy, so., 21-5) vs. the winner of (7) Colton Rapp (Clarion, so., 16-12) vs. William Russell (OV, so., 3-4). Kallenborn split a pair of matches with Hulings at the Salamanca tournament, tech-falled Russell, and dropped a 6-4 decision to Smith.

152: Top seed Shae Bloom (Curwensville, sr., 25-1), a three-time D-9 titlist who earned the Outstanding Wrestler award at last year’s championships, will join Ortz and Duffy at Clarion next year.
Gator senior Dylan Baumgarner (19-7), seeded fifth, faces John McSwain (Clarion, jr., 1-0) in the first round.
AML: (3) Gage Arnold (Coudy, jr., 23-5) vs. Justin Aharrah (Smethport, jr., 8-12); (6) Terrel Williams (Sheffield, jr., 15-3) vs. Simon Peter Couls (OV, so., 6-13); (7) Joey Elinski (Johnsonburg, so., 14-12) vs. Adam Sicher (Kane, fr., 9-13); Ethan Vislay (CC, so., 18-10) vs. (8) Jonathan Francis (Ridgway, jr., 19-10). Baumgarner has pinned Sicher and Couls, and battled Arnold to a draw through three periods before dropping a 9-7 decision in overtime.

160: No. 1 seed Paul Zacherl (Cranberry, sr., 30-0), last year’s runner-up at 152, hasn’t lost a match since states. Second-seeded Port senior Mac Tanner (26-1) has been almost as brilliant, with his only setback an overtime decision in the finals at Hickory on the opening weekend of the season. Tanner, seeking his second trip to regionals after earning D-9 silver last year, will open against Brookville senior Dom Palmer (11-9) in the quarterfinals.
AML: (4) Nick Ragosta (Coudy, sr., 25-6) vs. Tanner Barr (Sheffield, sr., 16-12), with the winner to face (5) Akete Kindle (Smethport, jr., 11-5); Jared Whiting (CC, so., 14-14) vs. Cody McClintick (Brockway, sr., 23-7). Tanner majored Ragosta, 20-7, in their match at Port.

170: No. 1 seed Xavier Molnar (Brookville, so., 21-8) draws Smethport sophomore Lukas Frontino in the quarterfinals. Third-seeded Gator senior Josiah Ramadhan (21-6) is the only returning placewinner in this weight class after finishing third last year to advance to regionals. He’ll start his tournament against Scott Toth (RV, jr., 3-15) in the prelims.
AML: (5) Isaac Wright (Coudy, so., 14-10) vs. Caleb Pifer (CC, fr., 4-8); (6) Cameron Rothrauff (Kane, sr., 10-9) vs. Ryder Howard (OV, sr., 9-12). Ramadhan faced Rothrauff twice during the regular season, pinning him both times, and earned a major decision over Howard.

182: Top-seeded Brookville junior Noah Cielski (26-5) will face Coudy freshman Eli Ayers (6-7) in the quarterfinals, where Gator junior Rob Arnett (9-3), the No. 7 seed, will wait for the winner of (2) Grant West (OV, jr., 16-6) vs. Logan Minich (RV, so., 11-11).
AML: (5) Ty Stahli (Kane, fr., 16-10) vs. Sam Moore (Cranberry, so., 8-14); Nate Munsell (CC, sr., 4-19) vs. (4) Alexander Burkhardt (Clarion, sr., 13-6). West edged Arnett, 9-8, in their lone meeting.

195: Defending champ and No. 1 seed Clarion senior Zach Sintobin (25-2) will face the winner of the first-round match between Port junior Tyler Bliss (1-0) and eighth-seeded Smethport senior Nick Dibble (13-12).
AML: (5) Joe Lawton (Coudy, sr., 12-11) vs. Jeff Harvey (Curwensville, sr., 7-8); Mike Good (Kane, so., 0-0) vs. (3) Tyler Vantassel (Keystone, fr., 14-6).

220: Gator senior Ethan Budd (24-2) returns as the No. 1 seed after claiming the district title in 2015, while runner-up Bryce Town has moved up to 285. Budd has a first-round bye and will face either (8) Mark Latuska (Brockway, jr., 7-15) or Dominik Mascho (OV, sr., 9-9) in the quarterfinals.
AML: Collin Alexis (Kane, sr., 5-7) vs. (4) RJ Fattler (Cranberry, sr., 12-11); (6) Nick Knowles (Sheffield, fr., 15-11) vs. Jeff Gunn (Coudy, so., 5-10); Matt Stratton (Smethport, so., 7-12) vs. (7) Tom Wurster (Clarion, so., 12-8). Budd is unbeaten against D-9 Class AA competition for the second-straight season, pinning Knowles, Gunn, and Stratton in league matches.

285: Cameron County’s Jack Karsten won the heavyweight class at Clarion last year, but the Northwest Region champ has moved on to play football at Edinboro University. Bronze medalist Brylee Shumaker (RV, sr., 29-1) moves up to the No. 1 line, where he’ll open against Jamis Lee (Curwensville, sr., 13-13).
Port sophomore Brock Veilleux (3-16) faces No. 6 seed Colton McClain (24-5) in the prelims. The Ridgway junior pinned Veilleux in their first meeting.
AML: (5) Keaton Rounsville (Kane, jr., 8-0) vs. (4) Timmy McCauley (Cranberry, so., 10-2); (7) Brendan Dickinson (Smethport, jr., 18-6) vs. (2) Tyler Beal (Keystone, sr., 24-2); (8) William Peluso (Johnsonburg, sr., 14-9) vs. Mike Vandergrift (OV, fr., 6-13); Ben Cochran (Coudy, sr., 13-12) vs. (3) Bryce Town (Brookville, sr., 18-4). Veilleux decisioned Vandergrift, 3-1, while losing via pin to Peluso, Cochran, and Dickinson.