For just the second consecutive year and just the second time since 2002-2003, the YAIAA will not have a representative in the PIAA Team Wrestling Tournament. It is now time to focus on the individual postseason which begins on February 14th with the Sectional tournament and runs all the way through March 7th when the PIAA crowns 28 champions - 14 each in AA and AAA.
With their semifinal loss to Northern Lebanon, Bermudian Springs misses the PIAA tournament for the second consecutive year, for the Vikings, it's their first ever trip to the grandest stage and they are the first Lancaster-Lebanon League AA team to ever advance to the State Tournament.
Speaking of the Eagles, I had a chance to chat with Bermudian long-time head coach Dave McCollum Saturday after their 52-10 victory over Delone Catholic about 500 wins, building the program, coaching state champions and anything and everything in between. That interview will be the focus of next week's blog and you will also get a little preview of that conversation on this week's GameDay with GameTimePA on 1350 WOYK.
South Western came up just short of a PIAA berth after a 38-26 loss to Governor Mifflin in the consolation semifinals in Class AAA. The young Mustangs knocked off a vastly improved Kennard-Dale squad in the consolation semifinals. The Rams won their first ever postseason match in their first appearance Tuesday, beating Milton Hershey, 44-28, but later fell to District 3 Champion Cumberland Valley to set up their match with South Western.
That being said it's time to look ahead and see what is in store for the Individual postseason. Will the YAIAA continue their run of state champions, having crowned one every year since 2009? Time will only tell.
To help prepare you for the postseason, I will highlight each team and the individuals that have the best chance at advancing.
Division ISouth Western: Why not start with the Division I Champion Mustangs. They have a ton of talent that has a chance to succeed in the postseason and that starts with a pair of returning PIAA qualifiers in junior's Owen Wherley and Derek Wilson. Each have the pedigree and the talent to make a return visit to the Giant Center. Sophomore Seth Janney should join them this year as one of the top 220-pounders in the state. Chase Mowery, Ben Doll, Gage Thomas among others have a shot at advancing deep into the postseason.
Red Lion: The Lions have a very young, deep lineup and are led by 285-pounder Jared Schell and 106-pounder Jake Frock. Those two have the best chance at moving through the postseason while Dylan Gurreri also is a threat to advance.
Spring Grove: A young Spring Grove team was really competitive in the YAIAA and pushed Cedar Cliff to the brink in the District 3 Class AAA Team tournament before falling. The Rockets have a handful of wrestlers with postseason aspirations in 106-pounder Dalton Rohrbaugh, Marcus Kehr (170), Hunter Sterner (195) and Levi Witmer (132).
Dallastown: The Wildcats have a pair of Shields' with postseason aspirations in Bryce (182) and Nick (145). Both have a good chance at advancing far in the postseason.
New Oxford: Last year at this time to Colonials were sharing a YAIAA Division I championship with Spring Grove and South Western. What a difference a year makes. The Colonials still have some good individual talent, led by Zurich Storm and Nolan Poust. Brock Hartman has a good shot at advancing as well.
Central York: The Panthers are led by 2-time returning PIAA qualifier in junior Dylan Chatterton. He had qualified in previous years at 106 and 113 pounds but has jumped all the way up to 138 this year. He could be joined by Xavier Musti deep in the postseason.
Northeastern: The Bobcats best hope for a postseason run comes from 285-pounder Blaine Yinger.
Kennard-Dale: The Rams are led by 2014 District 3 Class AAA 113-pound runner-up Mike Bracey who looks to make a return trip to the podium and to the state tournament, this time at 126-pounds. Andrew Barnett at 120-pounds is another contender to advance.
West York: The Bulldogs are led by a solid 1-2 punch in the middleweights with Ryan Narber and Garrett Stauffer. Each has the potential to advance deep into the tournament.
Dover: The Eagles started off hot, going 3-0 in Division II before dropping their final three. Brandon Rodriguez has the best shot of advancing deep into the postseason. Cameron Palmer and Calvin Anderson also have shots.
Susquehannock: The Warriors had their most successful season of the 21st century, going 12-7. Colin Riley will enter the postseason with a 24-1 mark. Xander Holloway at 21-4 also has a good shot at the postseason.
York Suburban: Watch out for Dustin Knaub when the postseason begins. The junior enters the postseason with a 26-3 (70 career wins) mark and is a threat in the 138-pound weight class.
Gettysburg: Despite a disappointing team campaign, the Warriors have their fair share of individual talents. 285-pounder Giovanni Alvarado and Jake Sharrah are the best of that crop.
Eastern York: Lucas Barshinger is undefeated this season, compiling a 19-0 mark heading into the postseason as has the best chance at making a deep run for the Golden Knights. Dakota Mackley will enter the postseason at 17-3 and can't be overlooked.
Bermudian Springs: Where do you start with the Eagles? 29-0 Sam McCollum? 28-1 Brady Linebaugh? How about 26-1 Colton Dull or 31-2 Austin Clabaugh? Heck we're even forgetting about a returning PIAA medalist in Briton Shelton (27-3). Can't also leave out Bayley Oberlander (23-3) or Ashton West (28-6). Bermudian Springs could realistically send six wrestling to the state tournament.
Delone Catholic: The Squires have their fair share of contenders in AA, led by Mark Evich, Antonio Ugarte, Brian Shermeyer, Josh Sneeringer, Lucas Shull among others. The Squires could send half their lineup to the regional tournament with a good draw.
Biglerville: The Canners individual group is led by returning PIAA Southeast Regional qualifier, Nate Newberry who will open the postseason with a 24-2 record. Nate Mentzer, and Brady Mentzer figure to play a role in the postseason as well.
Littlestown: Junior Matt Guilday enters the postseason with a gaudy 29-1 mark, his lone loss coming just a week ago at the New Oxford Invitational. Cory Becker, Ian McClure and Jordan Matthews are also threats to advance.
Hanover: Gone are Ian Brown and Tyler Shafer, but Caleb Garland is still hanging around the Nighthawk wrestling room. The returning PIAA qualifier will enter the postseason at 28-3 (88 career wins).
York County Tech: Sam Hoover posted a 15-4 regular season record at 113-120 pounds and will have the best chance to advance for the Spartans.
Fairfield: 113-pounder Peter Warthen has the best chance to advance for the Green Knights and enters the postseason at 7-6.
Is there anyone else we missed? Who do you think has the best chance to advance through the postseason.
Sound off in the comments sections or hit me up on twitter @ameaseYDR or even shoot me an email email@example.com
Next week we'll dive right into an AWESOME interview I had with Bermudian Springs' coach Dave McCollum.