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.
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
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. … Chestnut Ridge, Berlin Ligonier Valley’s
Josh Patrick, who recently committed
to wrestle for Rutgers, rolled through the Sheetz tournament, including a
dominating, 10-0 victory over ’ Brad Thomas in
the 126-pound finals. … Cambria
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.
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. … ’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. Conemaugh
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
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
which could test my statement in an earlier blog that the Highlanders might be
the best team in . Cambria
Friday brings the second edition of the WestPAC tournament, which will be held at North Star.
Chestnut Ridge at
Westmont Hilltop at
7 p.m. Cambria Heights
Penn Cambria at Greater
Johnstown, 7 p.m.
North Star at
, 7 p.m. Ligonier
Blairsville at United, 7 p.m.
Portage at North Star, 6 p.m.
Shade at HOPE for Hyndman, 7 p.m.
Forest Hills at Penn
WestPAC Tournament at North Star
, 6 p.m. Ligonier
Central Cambria at
Claysburg-Kimmel at Chestnut Ridge, 5:30 p.m.
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.