State wrestling: Five things to watch
Another season of wrestling will culminate in Hershey this weekend, where Class AAA and Class AA state champions will be crowned in all 14 weight classes.
Twenty-one wrestlers from the YAIAA — 11 in Class AAA and 10 in Class AA — will take their shots at glory in the three-day PIAA championship tournament.
Here are five storylines to watch this weekend:
1. How far can Nate Newberry go?
Biglerville's 152-pound Nate Newberry is the only qualifier from the YAIAA who won a state medal last season. Newberry placed seventh in Class AA at 145 pounds as a junior last season. He has been on a similar roll this season.
The Bloomsburg commit won sectional, district and regional titles for the second year in a row and enters state meet ranked No. 3 in his weight class by PAPowerWrestling.com.
A potential matchup with No. 6 Jon Wagner (Huntingdon Area) looms in a quarterfinal, with a possible matchup with No. 2 Shae Bloom (Curwensville Area) or No. 5 Damon Greenwald (Burrell) awaiting Newberry in a semifinal — should he make it that far.
Newberry struggled to score points at states last year, relying on his defense to eke out close matches. But he's shown an ability to put points on the board so far this postseason, scoring 16 points in his district final and regional quarterfinal, before a 5-4 win and a 6-1 win to earn another regional title.
2. Can Caleb Garland capitalize on a second chance?
In a weekend full of upsets, Hanover 126-pounder Caleb Garland went 2-2 at last weekend's Class AA Southeast Regional meet, seeing a season in which he won a sectional and district title end in disappointing fashion.
Except that it didn't end. A withdrawal by another wrestler from the region, meant Garland will get his shot at a state medal. He said earlier in the year that he hoped to place in the top five at states.
Up until last weekend, Garland — who has a 34-4 record — appeared to be reaping the benefits of a well-thought-out diet to maintain his postseason weight. Unlike last season, when he felt weak from cutting weight and struggled at districts and regionals before going 2-2 at states, Garland tore through the sectional and district tournaments with little serious competition.
Garland will have to wrestle in the first round Thursday. Should he win, he would face No. 8 Jonah Zych (Saucon Valley) in the second round.
All season long, Garland has looked like a state medal contender. Thanks to a second chance, he could earn a chance to prove he belongs on the podium in his senior year.
3. Delone Catholic, Dover and Northeastern return
State tournament trips have been a long-time coming for three YAIAA programs that will be represented in Hershey this weekend.
Delone Catholic, which hadn't sent a wrestler to Hershey since 2010 despite some dual meet success during that time, sends two wrestlers in juniors Brian Shermeyer (152 pounds) and Brady Repasky (182). Shermeyer, who lost in the sectional and district finals to Newberry, placed third at regionals last weekend, while Repasky placed fifth.
In the Class AAA bracket, Dover sends a wrestler for the first time since 2007 in 113-pound senior Brandon Rodriguez, while Northeastern breaks a drought that goes into last century by sending heavyweight Blaine Yinger.
4. Who has the best chance to win a state title?
Three Class AAA wrestlers enter the state tournament red-hot after winning sectional and district titles: Dalton Rohrbaugh (Spring Grove, 106 pounds), Owen Wherley (South Western, 138) and Yinger.
The three of them have lost a combined six matches the entire season and all enter states ranked in the top 13 at their weight classes by PAPowerWrestling.com.
Wherley, who is 33-2 and ranked No. 8, put together the most dominant performance of the bunch during districts by winning all of his matches by multiple points, albeit with his quarterfinal win coming in overtime. Rohrbaugh edged tough opponents by one point in each of his final two district matches, while Yinger needed an overtime period — or multiple of them — in three of his four wins.
If any wrestler from the YAIAA is going to bring home gold, Newberry and that Class AAA trio seem to have the best shot.
5. Will the format change after this year?
The PIAA changed the state championships format last season to include four more wrestlers at each weight class, and therefore introduce two new rounds to the tournament.
The move was met with different reactions last year, but a wrestler at Northern High School is trying to take action to change a modification to the championship format made in 2012.
This is just outside the borders of the YAIAA, but Polar Bears 152-pounder Jonathan Ross, who won a district title and is ranked No. 2 in the state, is petitioning the PIAA to stop wrestling all placement matches at the same time and instead return to giving the finals their own prominence.
It's incredibly unlikely for the PIAA to make any last-minute changes to this year's tournament, but keep an eye out this offseason for any changes to future state championships.
Here are the York-Adams wrestlers who qualified for the PIAA tournament. Visit GameTimePA.com to see projections of how we think each wrestler will fare in the championships.
106 – Dalton Rohrbaugh, Spring Grove
113 – Brandon Rodriguez, Dover
120 – Zurich Storm, New Oxford
126 – Michael Bracey, Kennard-Dale
132 – Paul Feite, Northern York
138 – Owen Wherley, South Western. Micah Hoffman, Northern York.
145 – Dylan Chatterton, Central York
152 – Gage Thomas, South Western. Nolan Poust, New Oxford. Jonathan Ross, Northern York.
170 – Jake Koser, Northern York.
195 – Bryce Shields, Dallastown.
285 – Blaine Yinger, Northeastern. Michael Wolfgram, Central York.
106 – Landon West, Bermudian Springs.
120 – Austin Clabaugh, Bermudian Springs.
126 – Caleb Garland, Hanover.
145 – Ashton West, Bermudian Springs.
152 – Nate Newberry, Biglerville. Brian Shermeyer, Delone Catholic.
170 – Dakota Mackley, Eastern York. Noah Fleshman, Bermudian Springs.
182 – Brady Repasky, Delone Catholic.
195 – Logan Luckenbaugh, Bermudian Springs.
Class AA preliminaries and first round, 9 a.m.
Class AA first-round consolations, 1:15 p.m.
Class AAA preliminaries and first round, 4 p.m.
Class AAA first-round consolations, 8:15 p.m.
Class AA quarterfinals and second-round consolations, 9 a.m.
Class AA third-round consolations, 11:45 a.m.
Class AAA quarterfinals and second-round consolations, 2:15 p.m.
Class AAA third-round consolations, 5 p.m.
Class AA semifinals and fourth-round consolations 7:30 p.m.
Class AA fifth-round consolations, 9:30 p.m.
Class AAA semifinals and fourth-round consolations, 9 a.m.
Class AAA fifth-round consolations, 11:30 a.m.
Class AA finals and place matches, 2 p.m.
Class AAA finals and place matches, 7 p.m.