District 3 wrestling: What to expect from YAIAA competitors
Local wrestlers looking to reach the PIAA tournament will have the opportunity to accomplish their goal this weekend at the District 3 championships.
The three-day tournament kicks off Thursday with the first two rounds of the Class 3A tournament, while the Class 2A tournament begins Friday. The championship rounds for both classifications will take place Saturday morning.
The top four finishers at each weight in the 3A bracket will qualify for the state tournament, while the top seven in 2A will advance to next week's regional tournament. Here are the top storylines for York-Adams athletes.
Can Wolfgram stay undefeated?
It's been a sensational season for Central York heavyweight Michael Wolfgram, who enters the tournament will a 30-0 record.
The Panthers sophomore is the only undefeated heavyweight in the bracket, and he's already easily handled some of the top competition this season. Wolfgram has beaten reigning district champ Blaine Yinger of Northeastern twice and topped last season's runner-up, Exeter Township's Oscar Daniels, by 13 points.
Can he keep it up this weekend? Wolfgram is the top-ranked heavyweight in the district, and it would be surprising if he didn't at least make it to the finals. The toughest opponent on his side of the bracket is Warwick's Ryan Stewart, who is ranked fifth with a 32-3 record.
Still, there's plenty of competition on the other side. One potential finals opponent for Wolgram is Shippensburg's Cameron Tinner, who is ranked second with a 33-1 record. Tinner would likely need to beat either Yinger or Daniels to make it to the finals.
A year after finishing fifth at districts, Wolfgram is poised to take the next step this season.
Young wrestlers look to make a splash
Wolfgram might be getting most of the attention, but he's not the only underclassman primed for a big weekend.
Of the 28 sectional champions from the YAIAA, 10 are freshmen or sophomores. A few could win district titles, including Northeastern 106-pound freshman Cole Wilson and Littlestown 170-pound sophomore Carl Harris. Both enter the tournament ranked second at their weights.
Wilson, who has a 24-1 record this season, could face tough competition from some other freshman in the tournament. Daniel Boone's Stephen Spitko (28-3) and Manheim Central's Will Betancourt (29-2) are both ranked in the top five and on Wilson's side of the bracket. If he gets past them to the finals, he could potentially face top-seeded Josiah Gehr (22-3) of Cocalico.
Harris (28-2) will have to win only two matches to get to the finals, but he likely will have a tough matchup in the quarterfinals against No. 7 Luca Colestock (26-3) of Camp Hill.
Some other young local wrestlers who could place high this weekend are Gettysburg freshman 138-pounder Dylan Reinert (34-3) and Spring Grove sophomore 152-pounder Anthony Hinson (30-4).
Seniors strive for first district titles
The York-Adams league has just two returning districts champs in Yinger and Spring Grove junior 106-pounder Dalton Rohrbaugh. But there are a number of seniors who could pick up their first title in their final season.
New Oxford 120-pounder Zurich Storm (29-1) and Delone Catholic 160-pounder Brian Shermeyer (31-1) both finished second at districts last season and enter this year's tournament ranked second at their weights after winning sectional titles. Shermeyer has a particularly strong chance of making the finals in the 2A bracket, as does his teammate, heavyweight Bryce Perkins.
But the two seniors with the best chances of winning 2A titles are 126-pounder Austin Clabaugh (32-4) and 195-pounder Noah Fleshman (33-3) of Bermudian Springs. Both are ranked first at their weight and have favorably paths to the finals.
In Class 3A, there are plenty of seniors who could at least finish in the top five and qualify for the state tournament. One to keep an eye on is Dallastown 220-pounder Bryce Shields (30-1), who finished fifth last season.
Can Bermudian Springs advance its entire lineup?
The Eagles dominated last weekend's Class 2A Section 4 tournament, and they could put on a similar performance this weekend. All 14 of Bermudian's wrestlers are competing in districts and could realistically make it to the regional tournament.
The district brackets include 12 wrestlers at each weight, and seven of them advance to states. So even the Eagles who aren't ranked high will have a shot. And with six Eagles coming off sectional titles, a handful could win gold medals this weekend, including Clabaugh, Fleshman and 152-pounder Ashton West (34-2).