1. Tournament time
The PIAA’s shuffling of competition points hasn’t derailed anybody’s holiday plans.
Bald Eagle Area (Manheim Tournament), Philipsburg-Osceola (Brockway Big Dog Tournament), Bellefonte (Powerade Tournament) and State College (Dale Bock Tournament) are competing in multi-day events. The Manheim and Big Dog tournaments are Wednesday and Thursday. The Powerade and Dale Bock tournaments are Thursday and Friday.
Penns Valley makes its annual trek to the Newport Tournament on Wednesday.
2. Little Lions enter new event
The Dale Bock Tournament will give State College a glimpse of what awaits next winter.
The Little Lions are joining in the Mid-Penn Conference in 2012-13. Host Chambersburg and Carlisle, two future league opponents, are competing in the 12-team Dale Bock Tournament. The event uses a dual meet format, with the Little Lions wrestling James Buchanan, Chestnut Ridge, Century (Md.), Southern Huntingdon and Bermudian Springs on Thursday.
Teams wrestle five more duals Friday based on Thursday’s results.
3. Eagles return to Manheim
Bald Eagle Area has been attending the Manheim Tournament since the 1970s. This year, the Eagles are bringing four solid upperweights to the 14-team event.
Jake Taylor (7-0, 170), James Grieb (5-3, 182), Aaron Varner (7-0, 195) and Nate Sharkey (5-1, 220) should provide BEA with serious points. Travis Giedroc (6-1, 106), Matt Dillon (7-2, 138) and Tyler Baney (6-3, 152) are also capable of reaching the podium.
Easton, Reynolds, Shikellamy and North Allegheny are among the other storied programs in the field.
4. Another challenge for the Red Raiders
Our rankings of Pennsylvania’s toughest wrestling tournaments: 1. Powerade Tournament, 2. Bethlehem Holiday Classic; 3. King of the Mountain Tournament.
Using those rankings as a gauge, no county team wrestles a more demanding schedule than Bellefonte. Less than two weeks after King of the Mountain, the Red Raiders travel to Canonsburg for the 44-team Powerade Tournament.
The tournament’s prestige increases this year because national power Blair Academy (N.J.) joins a field that includes teams from eight states. If anybody pushes for Blair Academy for the team title, it will be host Canon-McMillan, the state’s top-ranked Class AAA team.
Tom Traxler (third, 120) and Nick Shawley (eighth, 182) are seeded for Bellefonte. Heavyweight Garrett Poorman and 152-pounder Leo Wortman are unseeded despite finishing second- and third-place finishes at King of the Mountain.
5. Mounties, Rams feature contenders
Philipsburg-Osceola’s Chris Thompson (7-0, 106), Jared Smith (7-0, 145) and Logan Walstrom (7-0, 152) bring perfect records into the Big Dog Tournament.
Penns Valley’s Seth Decker (5-3, 145), Matt Swartz (7-1, 170) and Maverick Swartz (6-3, 220) are Newport Tournament title contenders.