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Friday, December 21, 2012

WestPAC Tournament preview (FRIDAY)

Note: Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it to the WestPAC tournament today. Like many of you, I'll be stuck at work, and the tournament – which has about 130 matches – should be finished before I can make it to Boswell. I hope to have a recap of the tournament this evening.

What: Second annual WestPAC Tournament (pool style).

Where: North Star High School, Boswell.

When: Beginning at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Projected finished is around 3 p.m.

The field: Berlin Brothersvalley, Conemaugh Township, Meyersdale, North Star, Portage, Shade.

Returning champions: Tommy DeArmitt, BB, (106); Kody Ofasnko, CT (113); Tanner Hetrick, MY, (126); Taylor Cahill, CT, (138); Tanner Cahill, CT (145); Gavin Berkley, MY, (160); Billy Dunbar, MY, (170).

Weight to watch: 138 pounds. In a small tournament like this, it's hard to say any weight is loaded, but this one comes as close as any. North Star sophomore Tevin Mostoller leads the way with a 5-0 mark. He was a regional qualifier and 25-match winner last season. Meyersdale's Hunter Lantz (4-0) is also undefeated, but the senior is still relatively untested. Berlin Brothersvalley freshman Braden Fochtman (7-2) has not lost to a Pennsylvania wrestler, with both of his defeat's coming to Vinney Romeo of Canandagiua Academy (N.Y.) in the Penn Cambria tournament. Fochtman has already beaten Conemaugh Township's Casey Berchick twice this season. Berchick (7-5) won 16 matches last season. Portage's Chase Fox is 7-6, meaning that every wrestler in the weight has a winning record.  

Name to know: Mitchell Walker (Berlin Brothersvalley), 220 pounds. I've already written about how much stronger Walker looks this season. He's 5-1 and finished second in the Penn Cambria tournament. His lone loss came to Jake Bennett of Hyndman, who was ranked 14th in the state according to the PA Power Rankings. That loss was 5-3 and was every bit as close as it sounds. Walker isn't a household name because he's been plagued by injury problems throughout his career, but he has enough natural ability to win a lot of matches this season.

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