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Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Semifinal 12-16-2012


The first full week of the regular season included some great wrestling as well as some surprises. For those of you new to the blog, the semifinal is my weekly recap/lookahead to wrestling in the Cambria/Somerset/Bedford area. Its name comes from the fact that many wrestling insiders will tell you that the semifinal round often features the best wrestling because too many guys tighten up in the finals. So, here’s the best of what I saw (or read about) from the past week.


First Period
Stars and studs: Greg Lazor’s Chestnut Ridge team earns a spot here thanks to a dual-meet demolition of North Star as well the Lions’ weekend performance, which resulted in the Mount Carmel tournament title. Six Lions – Aaron Burkett (106), Derrick Claar (126), Trent Crouse (132), Tyler Dibert (182), Dan Albright (220) and Austin Buttry (285) – captured individual championships. … Like Chestnut Ridge, Berlin Brothersvalley picked up an impressive dual-meet victory as well as the tournament title at the Sheetz Holiday Classic. The Mountaineers didn’t have any individual champs, but had 10 of their 13 wrestlers (an injury forced them to wrestle without a heavyweight) placed in the top seven in the 21-team tournament. … Ligonier Valley’s Josh Patrick, who recently committed to wrestle for Rutgers, rolled through the Sheetz tournament, including a dominating, 10-0 victory over Cambria Heights’ Brad Thomas in the 126-pound finals. … Bedford didn’t bring home a tournament title – team or individual – but the second-place performances by freshman Jonathan Gabriel and junior Ryan Easter are impressive, considering the caliber of the competition at the King of the Mountain tournament. Gabriel didn’t disappoint in his varsity debut, as he went 4-1, with his lone loss coming to Joe Wheeling of General McLane in the 106-pound finals. Easter also went 4-0 in the tournament before falling to Will Koll – son of Cornell coach Rob Koll – in the 126-pound championship.

Upset-minded: Penn Cambria’s Mike Eckenrode was unseeded but went on to win the 138-pound title at the Sheetz Holiday Classic. Eckenrode had three falls – including one over top-seeded Vinny Romeo of Canandagiua Academy – and knocked off second-seeded Rodney Brant of Mercer in the finals. … Conemaugh Township’s Taylor Cahill won the Sheetz tournament title at 152 pounds from the third seed. The sophomore took advantage of upsets by Cambria Heights’ Levi Niebauer – who beat top-seeded Mitch Fisher of Canandagiua Academy – and Portage’s Caleb Kephart – who knocked off second-seeded Ethan Charlesworth of Mount Pleasant.

Second Period
On deck: Despite a few days without any matches on our schedule, there are some intriguing matches on top. The biggest is on Tuesday night, when Chestnut Ridge travels to Bedford. This one is always a big one, but it takes on added importance this year, as the Lions look to knock off their nemesis. Also on Tuesday, Westmont Hilltop visits Cambria Heights, which could test my statement in an earlier blog that the Highlanders might be the best team in Cambria County.
Friday brings the second edition of the WestPAC tournament, which will be held at North Star.

Monday
None

Tuesday
Chestnut Ridge at Bedford, 7 p.m.
Westmont Hilltop at Cambria Heights, 7 p.m.
Richland at Forest Hills, 7 p.m.
Penn Cambria at Greater Johnstown, 7 p.m.
North Star at Ligonier Valley, 7 p.m.
Marion Center at Portage, 7 p.m.
Berlin Brothersvalley at Somerset, 7 p.m.
Blairsville at United, 7 p.m.
Conemaugh Township at Shade, 7:15 p.m.

Wednesday
None

Thursday
Portage at North Star, 6 p.m. 
United at Central Cambria, 7 p.m.
Shade at HOPEfor Hyndman, 7 p.m. 
Forest Hills at Penn Cambria, 7 p.m. 
Cambria Heights at Somerset, 7 p.m. 

Friday
WestPAC Tournament at North Star
United at Ligonier Valley, 6 p.m. 
Central Cambria at Richland, 7 p.m. 
Bedford at Westmont Hilltop, 7 p.m. 

Saturday
Claysburg-Kimmel at Chestnut Ridge, 5:30 p.m.

Third Period
While there is plenty of action that I’d like to see this week, I’m not sure how much of it I’ll be able to make it to in person. It looks like I’ll miss Tuesday night’s action altogether. I’ll have to check on the start time for the WestPAC Tournament on Friday, but I’m afraid it’s early in the day, which could limit my chances of attending it as well.
I’ll be depending on readers and other media outlets to keep up-to-date on what’s happening.

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