High school wrestling: 5 Penns Valley Rams still in contention in Southwest Regional Class AA Tournament

For the CDTMarch 2, 2013 

— Penns Valley still has five alive in the Southwest Regional  Class AA Wrestling Tournament — even if at least one is among the walking wounded at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

Mike Rogers advanced to Saturday’s semifinal round with a pair of victories at 182 pounds while Seth Decker (145 pounds), Cole Confer (152), Corey Hazel (160) and Maverick Swartz (195) each lost once be remain in contention for a top-five finish that would qualify them for next week’s PIAA tournament in Hershey.

“I can’t be happier, really,” Penns Valley coach Joel Brinker said. “We have five going to the second day. If you’d have asked me that this morning, I’d have taken it.”

Rogers pinned Carlynton’s Freddie McKissick in the first round and then beat District 5 runner-up Michael Brett of Bedford 11-6 in the quarterfinal round.

“He really did well,” Brinker said. “He was aggressive in both matches. He seems to have his head on right on this tournament. I’m pleased with him.”

Rogers faces a tough test when the semifinal round begins at 11 this morning, as he gets Dakota DesLauriers, who is 29-0 on the season.

“It’s a good spot to gauge where he’s at,” Brinker said. “He knows what he’s up against. We know what he’s up against. Just go out swinging and see what he can do.”

In a way, that’s what Swartz has been doing since his 10-5 loss to South Fayette’s Zach Walker in the opening round on Friday. Brinker said that Swartz dislocated his kneecap in the match and, while it popped back into place, he’s been in a tremendous amount of pain in victories over Southmoreland’s Dakota Datz and South Allegheny’s Seth Hitchens.

“He’s sucking it up,” Brinker said.” He has a high threshold for pain, but he’s gutting it out.”

He’ll face Somerset’s Jacob Nickelson in the consolation quarterfinals today and needs at least two more wins to qualify for the state tournament.

Decker lost to Mount Pleasant’s Austin Mears in the first round but rebounded with victories over Keystone Oaks’ Drew Trybus and Northern Bedford’s Drew Gartland.

Confer pinned Mount Pleasant’s Ethan Charlesworth in the opening round, fell to District 7 champion Boe Bonzo of Freedom in the quarterfinals but stayed alive with a 7-2 victory over North Star’s Corey Fritch.

Hazel took a similar path, edging Valley’s Marcus Davenport, 7-6, in the first round before losing in overtime to South Fayette’s Jared Walker. Hazel beat Huntingdon’s Matt Norris, 4-3, in the consolations.

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