At the end of a long, long night of wrestling, Centre County could still count 19 wrestlers still in contention for trips to Hershey after the first day of the Class AAA Northwest Regional Tournament on Friday at the Altoona Field House.
Bald Eagle Area, Bellefonte and Philipsburg each have five still alive and State College has four.
For the Eagles, Jake Taylor (182), Aaron Varner (195) and Nate Sharkey (220) advanced to the semifinals and Travis Giedroc (113) and Joseph Powers (138) are alive in the consolations. Coby Bainey (106), Clint McCaslin (132), Mitchell Taylor (160) and Ben Verbitskey (170) went 0-2 and were eliminated.
For the Red Raiders, Aaron Witherite (113), Trevor Corl (120), Nick Shawley (170) and Garrett Poorman are into the semifinals. Luke Leathers (106) is still alive in the consolations. Dillon Kephart (145) went 0-2 and was eliminated.
For the Mounties, Bryan Descavish (120), Caleb Shively (138), John Prentice (170), Dennis Lumadue (182) and Nick Gray (220) are still alive in the consolations. Brian Evans (126) and Scott Yarger (145) went 0-2 and were eliminated.
For State College all four of its wrestlers — Kyle Catral (106), Anthony Myers (126), Derek Horner (145) and Alexander Stover (160) — are still alive in the consolations.
In the team race, two District 10 teams are battling for first place. General McLane with six semifinalists and six more in the consolations is in first with 53 points. McDowell, with six and five, is in second with 48.5. Central Mountain (three and six) is in third with 34.5, tied with Clearfield with four and four. Cathedral Prep, with three and five, is in fifth with 34.
Bellefonte is tied with Altoona in eighth with 24 points. Bald Eagle is in 10th with 23. P-O is in 13th with 13 and State College is tied for 28th with 4.
Corl, Shawley and Poorman, as expected, waltzed into the semifinals. Witherite, who posted 4-2 and 16-2 wins, was the surprise of the group.
“The guys in the semifinals came and did a nice, solid job. They went about their business and just wrestled good, smart matches and put themselves in position now that they’re one win away from states. That’s the goal right now,” Raider coach Mike Maney said.
“The ones in the consolations now have to get refocused and come back and have the mindset to grind and come back for third.”
Bald Eagle’s semifinalists — Taylor, Varner and Sharkey — all cruised into the semifinals, virtually untested.
“We’ll take ‘em where we can get ‘em. Everybody’s here to move on. They met some tough kids in the opening rounds and the ones that got knocked into the wrestlebacks ran into some tough kids there. They just didn’t get through,” BEA coach Steve Millward said.
“Our three semifinalists are doing well. They’re going to be challenged tomorrow.”
The Mounties had a rough night, but it ended on a high note. Lumadue was being dominated before he turned his consolation opponent and pinned him, leaving coach Tim McCamley with a wan smile on his face.
“He’s something else. He’s never out of a match, that’s for sure. I don’t know how it keeps working for him,” he said of Lumadue.
“We didn’t wrestle very well. Our first round was horrible. We’re hanging in there. We’ve still got a long way to go to get somebody to states. They’ve got a chance. They’re still there. They’re still in the tournament.”
The Little Lions had a rough night in some ways, but positive in that its whole contingent is still battling.
“Things are crazy in this tournament, man. Anything can happen. You’ve got to build a little momentum and then one match at a time and give yourself a chance. Just get to the consy finals and anything can happen,” State College coach Chad Dubin said.
“It’s weird, the kids build so much confidence one match to the next more than they can probably build in a year at this tournament. When you do that and you build momentum, anything can happen.”
In the semifinals, the three four Red Raiders and three Eagles face varying degrees of brutal opponents.
Witherite will meet Mifflin County’s Hayden Hidlay, the District 6 champion at 113. Corl gets District 10 second place finisher John Ciotti of Cathedral Prep. Shawley meets Tyler Hendricks of General McLane, the District 10 champ. Taylor meets Jesse Shambach of Shikellamy, the District 4 champ. Varner draws Dustin Lewis of Selinsgrove, the District 4 runner-up. Sharkey will meet Dwayne Pepper of Shikellamy, a District 4 champion. And Poorman sees Central Tech’s Andrew Welton, the District 10 champion.
Wrestling gets under way at 10 a.m. with second-round consolations. The semifinals are scheduled for noon.