Very little was settled Friday on the first day of competition at the District 6 Class AA Wrestling Championships at the Altoona Area High School Field House.
Six teams are knotted within nine points of the lead. Included in those six is Penns Valley. The Rams advanced five wrestlers into the semifinals and have three others alive in the consolation bracket. They have 72 team points, tied with Mount Union in third place behind first-place West Branch (75) and second-place Cambria Heights (73). Huntingdon is in fifth with 68 and Blairsville is two back in sixth place with 66.
“We’re in a position to be in the thick of things no matter what. It will be settled on the mat,” Penns Valley head coach Joel Brinker said. “I’m not super happy, but I’m pleased. I have mixed emotions coming in at this time of year because you see some of the guys wrestle their last match of the season. You’ve got to stay focused on the guys who are still going. They’re wrestling well. The ones in the winners’ bracket have wrestled well up to this point.”
Seth Decker (145), Cole Confer (152), Corey Hazel (160), Mike Rogers (182) and Maverick Swartz (195) have all advanced into the semifinals.
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Isaac Bierly (106), Curtis Decker (113) and Andrew Hurd (170) all face fourth-round consolation bouts.
Kolton Confer (120), Jacob Confer (126), Kyler Confer (132), Matt Hosterman (138) and Mike Confer (285) were all eliminated.
Seth Decker, the No. 2 seed at 145, spent less than two minutes on the mat. After receiving a first-round bye, he recorded falls in 57 seconds and then 59 seconds. He will meet third-seeded Eric Lynn of Huntingdon in the semifinals.
“Seth’s really picked it up,” Brinker said. “When he beat Heggs from Juniata earlier in the year it was a signature win. Since then he’s dialed his intensity up. I’m looking for good things from him.”
Fourth-seeded Cole Confer advanced to the semifinals at 152. After receiving a bye, he notched a fall in 2:15 and then recorded a 4-1 win in the quarterfinals. He takes on top seed Andrew Doak of Blairsville in the semifinals.
“That was a big win (4-1 in quarters). It could have gone either way. They split this year. That was a huge win for him to get today,” Brinker said.
Hazel, the No. 2 seed at 160, received a bye and then scored a fall in 1:34. In the quarters he recorded a 7-2 decision. Nick Torsell, the No. 6 seed from Bellwood-Antis, is Hazel’s semifinal opponent.
“Corey’s a gamer. He’s just a sophomore and he has a good perspective on things and good intensity. He wrestles more like an upperclassman. He has confidence that you don’t see in a sophomore,” Brinker said.
Second-seeded at 182, Rogers strolled into the semifinals with a bye, a 22-second pin and a 16-3 major decision. In the semifinals, he faces No. 6 seed Charles Hropovich of United.
“Mike’s wrestling tough. His quarterfinal match was one of the best matches I’ve seen him wrestle all year. It was a complete match. He put everything together,” Brinker said.
Swartz, seeded second at 195, cruished into the semifinals with a bye, fall in 1:07 and a 9-3 decision. He takes on No. 3 seed Tyler Oliver of United in the semifinals.
“Mav knows the name of the game. He’s a senior. (It’s) just win and move on. It doesn’t have to be flashy. He’s workmanlike; that’s his bread and butter,” Brinker said.
Bierly endured a rollercoaster day at 106 but is still alive in the consolations. After a first-round bye, he lost by technical fall and then rebounded with a fall in 4:41. In this morning’s fourth round of consolations, Bierly faces Cambria Heights’ Michael Dautlick.
Curtis Decker, the fifth seed at 113, is still alive in the consolations. He started his day with a 17-6 major decision and then suffered a tough 7-6 loss. In a fourth-round consolation bout, he’ll meet Jett Sacolic of Glendale.
At 170, Hurd received a bye and then rolled up a 7-0 decision. He was a takedown away from a win in the quarterfinals against the No. 1 seed before falling, 5-4.
Jacob Confer got off to a promising start at 126 with a 3-0 decision. He was then pinned in 3:50 and bowed out after a 7-2 loss.
At 285, Mike Confer received a forfeit, but was pinned in his next two bouts and was eliminated.
Kolton Confer, Kyler Confer and Matt Hosterman all lost their first two bouts and were eliminated.
Fourth-round consolation bouts start at 10:30 this morning, with the semifinals to follow at noon. The consolation finals are slated for 5:45 p.m. with the championship finals at 6:45.