With sectional weekend behind us, we can now focus on the next step to PIAA gold with the District 3 tournament. For Class AA wrestlers, a top 5 finish will propel them into the PIAA southeast regional tournament at Wilson.
I will breakdown each weight class with my favorite, contenders, a darkhorse and the top 6.
Favorite: Boiling Springs sophomore Jalin Hankerson (23-6). Hankerson is the cream of the crop in this class and should win his first district title.
Contenders: Bishop McDevitt’s Luke Pipa (19-6). The freshman enters at 19-6 and could push former Crusader Hankerson in a final.
Darkhorse: Pequea Valley’s Tanner Ball (22-5). Ball enters as the three seed out of section II, but could be a sleeper in the top half of the bracket.
Top 6: 1. Hankerson. 2. Pipa. 3. Brandywine Height’s Trevor Gimbor. 4. Northern Lebanon’s Dustin Breidegan. 5. Newport’s Isaiah Bryner. 6. Halifax’ Landon Bruner.
Favorite: Lancaster Catholic junior Joe Lobeck (31-2). Lobeck defaulted in the quarterfinals last year but rebounded for third, and was pinned in the same round, despite a lead two years ago and again finished third. Despite finishing fourth in the state last year Lobeck has yet to win a match in the championship bracket in District action. That’s going to change.
Contenders: Upper Dauphin’s Coy Campbell (27-5). Campbell won last year’s District title at 113 pounds and was second as a sophomore. He’ll be a tough out for anyone, including a determined and focused Lobeck.
Darkhorse: Pequea Valley’s Max Styer (22-16). The junior picked up a default victory over Lobeck in last year’s quarterfinals and rode that to a southeast regional berth.
Top 6: 1. Lobeck. 2. Campbell. 3. Wyomissing’s Connor Yourkavitch. 4. Susquenita’s Brodee Tolbert. 5. Styer. 6. Boiling Springs’ Caleb Holley.
Favorite: Bishop McDevitt sophomore John Pipa (17-1). Pipa is a returning District 3 Champ, taking out Bermudian Springs’ Austin Clabaugh in the Championship last year. Pipa rode that all the way to the PIAA final, dropping a 3-1 decision to Bethlehem Catholic’s Jake Riegel.
Contenders: Hanover’s Caleb Garland (31-3), Clabaugh (34-3), Trinity’s Andrew Wert (28-3). A very balanced weight once you bypass Pipa as Garland is a returning PIAA qualifier while Clabaugh is a regional qualifier. Wert, a freshman, has put together an impressive resume thus far.
Darkhorse: Hamburg’s Sean Stanish (36-6). Stanish is a returning PIAA qualifier in a very good weight class and could make a run to the final.
Top 6: 1. Pipa. 2. Wert. 3. Garland. 4. Stanish. 5. Upper Dauphin’s Connor Boyer. 6. Clabaugh.
Favorite: Boiling Springs senior Grant Bond (12-4). Bond, recently returning from injury to help the Bubblers win the state team title, is the favorite to win this class and was a PIAA semifinalist last year and eventual fifth place winner.
Contenders: Bishop McDevitt’s David Pipa (22-3). The third Pipa in the first four weights can’t be counted out. The senior missed out on the district tournament last year after being disqualified, but placed third as a sophomore.
Darkhorse: Trinity’s Chase Drawbaugh (20-8). The junior went all the way to the finals last year at 113 before falling 7-2 to Upper Dauphin’s Coy Campbell and pushed that momentum into the PIAA tournament.
Top 6: 1. Bond. 2. Pipa. 3. Drawbaugh. 4. Delone’s Antonio Ugarte. 5. Schuylkill Valley’s Jethro Solomon. 6. Littlestown’s Cory Becker.
Favorite: Boiling Springs senior Korbin Myers (31-1). Myers is head and shoulders the best AA wrestler in the state at this weight and is a returning PIAA Champion.
Contenders: Schuylkill Valley’s Josh Giorgio (32-3). Giorgio won a district title last year and then moved all the way into the PIAA final where he lost to Bethlehem Catholic’s Zeke Moisey. Wouldn’t surprise me if this is the first of a potential 3 meetings between he and Myers this postseason.
Darkhorse: Northern Lebanon’s Caeleb Blatt (34-13). Blatt has lost to both Myers and Giorgio this season but has the potential to spring an upset.
Top 6: 1. Myers. 2. Giorgio. 3. Blatt. 4. Annville-Cleona’s Josh Renninger. 5. Biglerville’s Brady Mentzer. 6. Bermudian’s Jarod Miller.
Favorite: Boiling Springs senior Kyle Shoop (34-1). Shoop is a returning PIAA runner-up after falling to Hanover’s Ian Brown in last year’s Championship match. He’s the favorite in not only the district, but probably the state as well.
Contenders: Biglerville’s Scott Cooper (3-1), Brandywine Height’s Hunter Gimbor (28-7). Cooper just returned from a football injury and is looking to make it back to the PIAA tournament. Gimbor is a returning southeast regional qualifier and can’t be taken lightly.
Darkhorse: Northern Lebanon’s Quinn Blatt (25-8). Much like Caeleb Blatt at 132, Quinn Blatt has the chance to spring some upsets and could meet Shoop in a semifinal.
Top 6: 1. Shoop. 2. Cooper. 3. Gimbor. 4. Bermudian’s Ashton West. 5. Blatt. 6. Annville-Cleona’s Matthew Darok.
Favorite: Biglerville junior Nate Newberry (28-2). Newberry just missed out on a PIAA berth last year, finishing sixth in the southeast regional. He also proved his mettle last week going through a very tough section 1 bracket and won’t have any matches off this weekend, either.
Contenders: Wyomissing’s Caleb Naylor (8-3), Boiling Springs’ AJ Kostyak (27-10). Naylor and Kostyak are the best wrestlers in the bottom half of the bracket, although as many as eight wrestlers in this bracket have a chance at not only medaling and moving on, but winning.
Darkhorse: Northern Lebanon’s Joey Emborsky (22-9). Emborsky is a typical pin or be pinned type wrestler and has shown the ability to spring upsets in the past. He’s sure got a tough road, though.
Top 6: 1. Newberry. 2. Naylor. 3. Delone’s Brian Shermeyer. 4. Camp Hill’s Alex Gallaher. 5. Kostyak. 6. Emborsky.
Favorite: Annville-Cleona senior Jeff Inman (24-2). Inman is a returning District 3 champion and has dealt with some injuries this season, but is healthy at the right time.
Contenders: Boiling Springs’ Tyler Kauffman (16-3), Littlestown’s Jordan Matthews (24-8) and Trinity’s Colten Drawbaugh (27-8). A trio of interesting contenders with Matthews having the toughest road being on the same side as Inman. Drawbaugh and Kauffman could be a fun semifinal.
Darkhorse: Eastern York’s Dakota Mackley (24-6). Wanted to go with Delone’s Lucas Shull, but feel Mackley is the better darkhorse candidate being on the bottom half of the bracket. How will Eastern wrestlers perform this year in AA after being in AAA recently.
Top 6: 1. Inman. 2. Kauffman. 3. Drawbaugh. 4. Matthews. 5. Shull. 6. Mackley.
Favorite: Boiling Springs senior John Vaughn (17-2). Expect to see a lot of purple and yellow in the finals Saturday, as the reigning PIAA team champion Bubblers, put out hammer after hammer and Vaughn is one of them. Despite the low win total, Vaughn has wrestled well since returning from injury and is the odds on favorite to win Saturday.
Contenders: Northern Lebanon’s Luke Funck (35-10). Funck should meet Vaughn in the Championship as this bracket, for the most part, is a two-man show.
Darkhorse: Bermudian Springs’ Noah Fleshman (21-7). The sophomore has really improved over the season and could present some troubles for Funck in a potential quarterfinal.
Top 6: 1. Vaughn. 2. Funck. 3. Fleshman. 4. Susquenita’s Dalton Group. 5. Annville-Cleona’s Mark Wagner. 6. Biglerville’s Ben Hurda.
Favorite: Bermudian Springs senior Briton Shelton (31-3). Shelton’s road to PIAA gold begins Friday, but not without some stiff competition in District 3. Shelton is the first of four Bermudian Springs’ wrestlers favored the rest of the way.
Contenders: Northern Lebanon’s Evan Daub (35-9) and Wyomissing’s Shawn Kilhefner (29-1). Daub and Kilhefner are both threats to medal in the state tournament. Kilhefner won the head-to-head meeting last week, 4-2 in the section II final.
Darkhorse: Delone Catholic’s Joshua Sneeringer (30-6). It’s hard to call a wrestler with a 30-6 record a darkhorse, but he’ll be overlooked in this bracket for sure.
Top 6: 1. Shelton. 2. Kilhefner. 3. Boiling Springs’ Travis Wickard. 4. Daub. 5. Sneeringer. 6. Camp Hill’s Sam Teeter.
Favorite: Bermudian Springs senior Colton Dull (29-1). Can Dull follow in former teammate Tristan Sponseller’s footsteps and win a PIAA gold. The journey starts this weekend for Dull, the favorite at 182 pounds.
Contenders: Schuylkill Valley’s Colby Geisinger (24-10). Don’t be fooled by the record, Geisinger is a very solid wrestler and should come through bottom of bracket.
Darkhorse: Boiling Springs’ Austin Taylor (19-11). The freshman Taylor has had a solid season and could be the one to face Dull in the final. His match with Geisinger one of the semifinals will be interesting to watch.
Top 6: 1. Dull. 2. Taylor. 3. Geisinger. 4. Northern Lebanon’s Craig Spitler. 5. Hambur’s Ignacion Reynoso. 6. Halifax’ Travis Enders.
Favorite: Eastern York senior Lucas Barshinger (25-0). Barshinger qualified for last year’s district tournament in class AAA and make the jump to AA this year.
Contenders: Littlestown’s Matt Guilday (31-2) and Schuylkill Valley’s Jonathan Tindall (27-6). The pair met last year in a consolation semifinal with Tindall pinning Guilday in 1:32. Both are much improved since that match and this time could meet in the championship semifinals.
Darkhorse: Bermudian Springs’ Logan Luckenbaugh (9-5). Since joining the Eagles roster late this season, Luckenbaugh has picked up some big victories for the team and could surprise some people.
Top 6: 1. Barshinger. 2. Guilday. 3. Tindall. 4. Brandywine Heights’ Cole Swackhamer. 5. Luckenbaugh. 6. Boiling Springs’ Nate Gouhin.
Favorite: Bermudian Springs senior Sam McCollum (32-0). McCollum enters the district tournament with 93 wins and is on a mission to get to 100 in his career. He is one of the most improved wrestlers over the last few years and will make a push for a PIAA title.
Contenders: Northern Lebanon’s Matt Vines (28-7). The junior will look to come out of a tough bottom half of the bracket that also includes Biglerville’s Nate Mentzer and Delone’s Michael Rider to face McCollum in the finals.
Darkhorse: Biglerville’s Nate Mentzer (24-7). The senior will have to start in the pigtails and win a few matches, but it can certainly be done.
Top 6: 1. McCollum. 2. Vines. 3. Kutztown’s Kody Reichart. 4. Halifax’ Jakob Paul. 5. Mentzer 6. Rider.
Favorite: Bermudian Springs junior Brady Linebaugh (31-1). Linebaugh hasn’t lost since a December 6th setback in the finals at the Cumberland Valley tournament. Can anyone push Linebaugh this weekend? I’m going to say no.
Contenders: Wyomissing’s Robert Dunbar (22-5). Dunbar has the potential to push Linebaugh in a final but will need to go through either Delone’s Bryce Perkins or Littlestown’s Zach MacLeod.
Darkhorse: Brandywine Heights Collin Conrad (26-5). If Conrad were on the opposite side of Linebaugh I’d consider him a contender, but he’s not. He may have the best chance of beating Linebaugh in a semifinal matchup.
Top 6: 1. Linebaugh. 2. Dunbar. 3. Perkins. 4. Conrad. 5. Northern Lebanon’s George Thompson. 6. MacLeod.
What are you matches to watch and who are some darkhorses to watch? Tweet your predictions to ameaseYDR or email them to me. Also, follow me for updates Friday and Saturday for the District 3 tournament.
In last week's blog, I asked for some of your favorite moment's involving Bermudian Springs' Dave McCollum, and we got a response from a former wrestler, Ted Marines. Here's what Marines had to say.
“One of my favorite memories is when the team made team States 2 years ago and he died his hair bleach blonde. Coach was always a team player.” -2014 Bermudian Springs' graduate and former wrestler, Ted Marines
Stay tuned for updates throughout the weekend on GameTimePA.com and to the blog for a recap of District 3 action and a look ahead to the Southeast Regional tournament.