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Five things to watch at the PIAA wrestling tournament

March 24, 2018 GMT

Pennsylvania’s biggest stretch of high school wrestling will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday with the PIAA individual championships at Giant Center in Hershey.

There will be 560 wrestlers vying to become state champions.

Only 28 wrestlers, 14 in each classification, will stand atop the podium Saturday.

It’s should be an exciting three days, with a lot of interesting stories and memorable moments.

Guaranteed victories?

Nothing is guaranteed in life. Fans found that out last year when Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee, who had a knee injury, saw his dream of becoming a four-time PIAA undefeated champion end with a controversial last-second loss to Ephrata’s Austin DeSanto.

However, here are some WPIAL wrestlers who should win state titles.

In Class AA, Jefferson-Morgan senior Gavin Teasdale (36-2) could be the next four-time PIAA champion at 126 pounds.

In Class AAA, likely champions include Norwin sophomore Kurtis Phipps (36-0) at 106, North Hills sophomore Sam Hillegas (28-1) at 126, Laurel Highlands senior Ian Edenfield (30-5) at 220 and Kiski Area senior Isaac Reid (19-0) at heavyweight.

In the hunt

There are many WPIAL wrestlers capable of winning gold medals. Consider, the WPIAL had 12 champions in both classifications in 2016.

In Class AA, Quaker Valley freshman Connor Redinger (35-1) won a WPIAL title, but his competition will be tough. Chestnut Ridge senior Justin McCoy (42-1) at 152 will be tough to beat, but Frazier sophomore Thayne Lawrence (26-2) wants another shot at him after falling 10-1 two weeks ago.

Ligonier Valley senior Robby Patrick (31-0) has his eyes on state at 170. He’s seeded second and could get a rematch with Susquehanna Township’s Edmond Ruth (28-0) in the finals.

In Class AAA, title contenders include Shaler junior Ryan Sullivan (38-1) at 113, Canon-McMillan senior Logan Macri (35-2) at 126, Seneca Valley senior Louis Newell (38-4) at 126, Franklin Regional junior Colton Camacho (37-2) at 132, Waynesburg senior Jackson Henson (36-5) at 138, Hempfield senior Luke Kemerer (37-2) at 152, Belle Vernon senior Zach Hartman (40-1) at 160 and Albert Gallatin senior Tim Wallace (34-3) at 180.

Where’s the snow?

The weather forecast for Harrisburg/Hershey didn’t seem favorable Wednesday. While a little snow fell in the area, the PIAA did allow a one-pound allowance for wrestlers because of heavy snow around Philadelphia, Allentown and Scranton.

Getting to the podium

Most wrestlers know winning a PIAA title is difficult, so they set more realistic goals of earning a medal and standing on the podium as a top-eight finisher.

Taking aim at a PIAA medal in Class AA will be South Park freshman Joey Fischer (34-6) at 106, Derry senior Shawn Broadway (42-6) at 126, Derry freshman Ty Cymmerman (41-4) at 120, Mt. Pleasant senior Alex Miscovich (40-8) at 132, Southmoreland senior Jaden Datz (29-5) at 170 and Derry junior Dom DeLuca (45-4) at 220.

In Class AAA, top contenders are: Latrobe senior Brady Sherback (30-7) at 106; Franklin Regional freshman Carter Dibert (30-8) at 106; Hempfield junior Kyle Burkholder (35-4) at 113; Penn-Trafford junior Nick Coy (36-7) at 132; Penn-Trafford senior Job Chishko (34-7) at 145; Kiski Area junior Cam Connor (37-5) at 145 and Belle Vernon junior Scott Joll (39-3) at 170.

Freshman watch

Here’s a look at some freshmen who could shine in their PIAA debuts:

In Class AA, Redinger, Fischer, Burrell’s Ian Oswalt (43-8) at 113, Cymmerman and Freedom’s Kenny Duschek (37-8) at 120.

In Class AAA, Dibert, Seneca Valley’s Alejandro Herrera (42-8) at 106, Waynesburg’s Wyatt Henson (39-10) at 120, Hempfield’s Ty Linsenbigler (32-5) at 138, Pine-Richland’s Cole Spencer (29-3) at 152, Hampton’s Justin Hart (37-4) at 182 and Hempfield heavyweight Isaiah Vance (32-7).

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.