While December focused on individual tournaments such as King of the Mountain and Top Hat (as well as some dual-tournament competitions that took place), January is when divisional matchups get cranking in YAIAA wrestling.
It will all start this week with a handful of entertaining matchups, highlighted by Delone Catholic at Bermudian Springs on Thursday - that match figures to be key in determining the YAIAA Division III champion.
The host Eagles are coming in at 12-0 following a successful two-week stretch where they won the Northern Lebanon duals. Then over holiday break, they downed Schuylkill Valley in a non-league affair before winning at Lancaster Catholic, 5-0.
The Eagles are also getting healthy at the right time - after an injury-plagued start to the season, heavy hitters Colton Dull and Briton Shelton have settled into their 182- and 170-pound weight classes, respectively.
Delone Catholic, on the other hand, will enter at 7-1 overall and right in the thick of the District 3 Class AA rankings. The Squires are coming off a big non-league victory over Camp Hill, as Brian Shermeyer picked up a fall over returning Camp Hill district-qualifier Alex Gallaher. The Squires' middleweights will need to play a big role in order to upset the Eagles on Thursday.
Speaking of the District 3 rankings, they’re now available and feature a handful of ranked YAIAA schools.
In AAA, South Western is second behind Lower Dauphin, while Red Lion is currently 12th and Spring Grove is 13th. West York (20), Dallastown (21), Kennard-Dale (23), Susquehannock (24), Dover (32), York Suburban (34), Northeastern (49), York County Tech (50), New Oxford (53), Central York (57) and Gettysburg (60) are the other YAIAA AAA schools.
In AA, Bermudian Springs is second behind rival Boiling Springs. Delone Catholic is third, while Hanover sits in fifth. Littlestown (nine), Biglerville (13), Eastern York (18) and Fairfield (24) are the other YAIAA AA schools.
Now, lets jump into our weekly YAIAA power rankings, which have experienced a slight shake-up:
1. Bermudian Springs (Last week’s ranking: T1): The Eagles get the nod this week following dominant performances against Schuylkill Valley and at the Lancaster Catholic duals. Five wrestlers - Sam McCollum (220), Austin Clabaugh (120), Jarod Miller (132), Ashton West (138) and Brady Linebaugh (285) - went unbeaten at the duals. The Eagles are starting to get healthy and are clicking on all cylinders.
2. Red Lion (LW: 3): The Lions make a big jump this week over South Western, due in large part to their victory at the Cedar Cliff duals. The Lions downed the host Colts, 31-30. They then topped Manheim Township (39-27), Mariana Bracetti (57-24) and Altoona (46-27). The Lions will face Central York on Thursday before preparing for their showdown with South Western next Tuesday.
3. South Western (LW: T1): The Mustangs took a step back after a 3-2 showing at the Cumberland Valley duals. The Rams downed Parkland, Erie McDowell and Manheim Central, yet were handled by District 3 foes Cumberland Valley and Exeter. The Mustangs have a difficult week ahead, traveling to Shippensburg on Wednesday before hosting Northeastern on Thursday. South Western then ends the week at the Central Dauphin duals on Saturday.
4. Spring Grove (LW: 4): No change in this week's rankings at No. 4. It will be a light week for the Rockets, as they compete in just the Hereford Tournament on Friday and Saturday. The following week, the Rockets will host Red Lion in a GameTimePA.com livestream match.
5. Kennard-Dale (LW: 5): The Rams remain in the No. 5 spot after a solid showing at the Governor Mifflin tournament. Michael Bracey continued his winning ways at 120 pounds, winning the weight-class tournament title. The Rams will now travel to York Suburban on Thursday before getting a weekend to prep for West York next Tuesday.
Next 5: 6. Delone Catholic. 7. New Oxford. 8. West York. 9. Littlestown. 10. Biglerville.
GameTimePA.com will provide live wrestling this week, as we're broadcasting the Eastern York at Dover Division II contest on Thursday night. Before that at 4 p.m., you can watch Game Day with GameTimePA on the internet or tune your radio to WOYK-AM 1350, as yours truly will be in studio to talk wrestling with Brandon Stoneburg and Teddy Feinberg.
How would you rank the top-five teams? Who wins each division? Comment below or tweet your picks to @ameaseYDR
Be sure to stop by again next week. We'll review the week that was, and look forward to what will be an EXCELLENT set of matches with divisional implications on the line.