17 Franklin Co. wrestlers head to Giant Center
The District 3 wrestling championships will have quite a different atmosphere this year.
It'll almost feel like being at the state championships.
And that's because, like the PIAA's three-day event at Giant Center, districts is now a three-day event at Giant Center.
After holding its tournament for many years at Hersheypark Arena, District 3 has made the move across the parking lot to a much nicer facility that will have the added benefit of giving district wrestlers a chance to become more familiar with the surroundings if they advance to states.
Franklin County will send 17 wrestlers into the fray - 16 in Class 3A and one in 2A. In Class 2A, the top six placewinners advance to next weekend's PIAA Southeast Regional at Wilson. In Class 3A, the top four placewinners qualify for the PIAA Tournament, which is March 9-11.
Class 3A wrestlers begin the tournament Thursday starting at 3 p.m. with the first two rounds, plus wrestlebacks.
The 195-pound class should be interesting, because the three main competitors from last week's Section III Tournament - champion Jake Koser of Northern York (31-2), runner-up Blake Barrick of Big Spring (32-6) and Shippensburg's Cole Forrester (33-3) - will be in the running. Dennis Karas of Exeter Twp. (39-7), Ben Fromm of Cocalico (34-4) and Waynesboro's Seth Egolf (25-8) will be contenders, too.
Forrester, who lost to Barrick twice in overtime this year, said after sectionals, "The game plan is to see them again next week and hopefully do better. I let (Barrick) push me around earlier this year, but I attacked more this time."
Shippensburg has two other studs in play for the top of the podium, Chandler Olson (35-1) at 126 and Cameron Tinner (33-1) at 285.
Olson, however, has one big roadblock: Austin DeSanto of Exeter Twp., who is 45-0 and dealt Olson his only loss of the season at the Cumberland Valley Tournament. In his career, Olson has one district title and two runner-up finishes.
Tinner is a defending district champion, but he won at 220 last year. The defending 285 champion, Blaine Yinger of Northeastern (26-4) and Oscar Daniels of Exeter Twp. (39-5) have already been beaten by Tinner this year, but the biggest threat appears to be Michael Wolfgram of Central York, who is 30-0.
"I'm looking forward to it," Tinner said. "I've heard a lot about him (Wolfgram), that he's really quick, but you have to go one match at a time this time of year."
Chambersburg's top hope is Drew Peck at 182 (27-4), who has been a district runner-up in each of the past two years. He is the favorite at that weight, but Governor Mifflin's Ben Maack has a gaudy 35-1 record and Leo Higgins of Palmyra (22-3) is a veteran contender.
Trojan coach Matt Mentzer said, "I think all six of our kids got pretty solid draws, but we'll have to beat some good kids to get where we want to go. I think Aaron Rump and Drake Brenize got good draws if they're at the top of their game."
Rump (29-6), in his fourth trip to districts, has experience over anybody else at 138 - there are only two other seniors in the 16-man bracket. Brenize (28-8) is in a situation at 152 in which the top wrestlers who finished above him at sectionals, CV's Will Kaldes and Mechanicsburg's Brayden Wills, may be the favorites to reach the final.
District 3 Wrestling Championships
Thursday’s Local Pairings
106 -- (3-3) Jeffrey Russell, Shippensburg (22-11) vs. (1-2) Austin Jones, Ephrata (27-5); winner vs. winner of (4-4) Chase Bricker, Spring Grove (23-7) vs. (2-1) Will Betancourt, Manheim Central (29-2)
120 -- (3-3) Seth Runshaw, Chambersburg (21-12) vs. (4-2) Logan Paluch, Central York (28-6); winner vs. winner of (2-1) Chris Wright, Central Dauphin (39-3) vs. (1-4) Chris Matthews, Exeter Twp. (27-22)
120 -- (4-4) Matt McCann, Waynesboro (23-12) vs. (3-1) Michael Cassidy, Cedar Cliff (22-11); winner vs. winner of (2-2) Jarod Loose, Hempfield (22-1) vs. (1-3) Grant Swann, Cocalico (19-17)
126 -- (3-1) Chandler Olson, Shippensburg (35-1) vs. (2-4) Josh Myers, Palmyra (22-5); winner vs. winner of (4-2) Chase Mowery, South Western (31-4) vs. (1-3) Anthony Steinmyer, Wilson (20-14)
126 -- (4-3) Laken Rouzer, Waynesboro (29-7) vs. (1-2) Kyle Seibert, Gov. Mifflin (33-7); winner vs. winner of (2-1) Jake Cherry, Central Dauphin (36-4) vs. (3-4) Austin Rowzer, Red Land (28-6)
132 -- (3-2) Cole Grove, Chambersburg (18-12) vs. (4-3) Colby Romjue, Susquehannock (22-5); winner vs. winner of (1-1) Christian Schilling, Garden Spot (30-6) vs. (2-4) Colby Kenderdine, Manheim Twp. (8-3)
138 -- (3-2) Aaron Rump, Chambersburg (29-6) vs. (1-3) Elijah Arroyo, Reading (25-9); winner vs. winner of (4-1) Dylan Reinert, Gettysburg (34-3) vs. (2-4) Adrian Rosario, Milton Hershey (22-7)
145 -- (4-2) Dalton Mowen, Waynesboro (17-12) vs. (1-3) Connor Finkey, Garden Spot (19-7); winner vs. winner of (3-4) Kyle Seibert, Carlisle (22-12) vs. (2-1) Casious Brown, Milton Hershey (17-4)
152 -- (3-3) Drake Brenize, Chambersburg (28-8) vs. (1-2) Tyler Mentzer, Ephrata (28-10); winner vs. winner of (2-1) A.J. Wilson, Solanco (13-1) vs. (4-4) Daniel Zeigler, Gettysburg (23-6)
160 -- (3-1) Luke Nichter, Chambersburg (26-7) vs. (1-4) Cross Cossitor, Twin Valley (27-10); winner vs. winner of (2-2) Skitch Light, Central Dauphin (25-4) vs. (4-3) Trent Baker, Spring Grove (24-9)
160 -- (3-4) Levi Shoemaker, Shippensburg (22-13) vs. (1-1) Bailey Funk, Wilson (24-8); winner vs. winner of (4-2) Joey Romjue, Susquehannock (22-2) vs. (2-3) Nyiem Flucas, Hershey (26-8)
182 -- (3-1) Drew Peck, Chambersburg (27-4) vs. (4-4) Josh Paul, Gettysburg (20-13); winner vs. winner of (1-2) Connor Brinton, Conestoga Valley (25-14) vs. (2-3) Dante Jones, Penn Manor (28-9)
195 -- (3-3) Cole Forrester, Shippensburg (33-3) vs. (2-2) Josh Weder, Solanco (23-6); winner vs. winner of (1-1) Dennis Karas, Exeter Twp. (39-7) vs. (4-4) Corey Eaton, Northeastern (19-6)
195 -- (4-2) Seth Egolf, Waynesboro (25-8) vs. (1-3) Josh Liptock, Gov. Mifflin (28-14); winner vs. winner of (3-1) Jake Koser, Northern York (31-2) vs. (2-4) Blake Andrews, Elizabethtown (24-11)
285 -- (3-1) Cameron Tinner, Shippensburg (33-1) vs. (1-4) Ross Fisher, Cedar Crest (29-4); winner vs. winner of (2-2) Evan Childs, Central Dauphin (32-10) vs. (4-3) Damian Rodriguez, New Oxford (24-7)
285 -- (3-3) Ralondas Green, Greencastle-Antrim (12-7) vs. (1-2) Brady Maxwell, Cocalico (31-11); winner vs. winner of (2-4) Julian Sitts, McCaskey (21-12) vs. (4-1) Michael Wolfgram, Central York (30-0)
Friday’s Local Pairings
113 -- (3-3) Derek Pine, James Buchanan (11-6) vs. (4-2) Landon West, Bermudian Springs (22-11); winner vs. (2-1) Tyger Evans, Susquehanna Twp. (24-7)
District 3 Wrestling
When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Where: Giant Center in Hershey
Sessions: Thursday, 3 p.m. - Class 3A prelims, quarterfinals; Friday, 10 a.m. - Class 2A prelims, quarterfinals; Friday, 5:30 p.m. - Class 2A and 3A semifinals; Saturday, 9:45 a.m. -- Class 2A and 3A championships and consolation finals