Friday, February 12, 2016

Thursday Thoughts from Hershey

   As Chestnut Ridge gets ready for consolation action, here's a couple thoughts on the loss to Boiling Springs in Thursday's first round:

   The coin toss was huge. This meant a great deal in this matchup, and Boiling Springs winning it meant the Lions were going to have to beat the Bubblers without dictating key matchups. Ridge coach Greg Lazor was hoping to get Morgan Deremer on A.J. Kostyak and Josh McGill against Nick Kostyak. That said, McGill wrestled well in a 10-7 loss to A.J., who is a returning state qualifier. Not having the flip hurt at the end as well, as the Lions would rather have put Justin McCoy on Cole Wetzel and Levi Hobson on Zach Martin. If Chestnut Ridge wins the toss, the Kollin Myers victory over Aaron Burkett might not have meant as much.

   I thought even in not having the matchups, Chestnut Ridge fared well up top, down 18-14 when the lineup flipped over. I agree with Lazor sending Cody Brown at 106. Brown was someone you thought could get bonus and he did with a quick pin. Burkett had a good first period against Myers, but it was all Myers in the second and third, as he scored two sets of back points. I thought Boiling Springs was slightly favored at 126, and Tristan Hanshaw got a major there that put the Lions up against it with three to go.

   Chestnut Ridge should not have much trouble with Lake Lehman this morning. Lake Lehman is expected to have two forfeits as well. After that, the Lions draw the Huntingdon-Reynolds loser. Reports say Huntingdon's Collin Glorioso may have an injury. You have to figure the Bearcats go all in, with Glorioso and/or Jacob Oliver taking the mat against the Raiders. I think that's the only way Huntingdon can get to the semifinals. If Huntingdon doesn't win, do they sit either or both in a consolation match against Chestnut Ridge, a match that won't mean as much given the individual district tournament is just a week away.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

State Duals - What to Look For

   In about 24 hours, Chestnut Ridge will begin its quest for a third state team medal in the last four years. The Lions take on Boiling Springs in the first round of the tournament tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m., in the second wave of Class AA action for the opening day.
   I posted some other things and my breakdown of the match with Boiling Springs yesterday, so scroll down on the blog to find that information. Here are some overall thoughts on the tournament:

— Is this Chestnut Ridge's year?
    It very well could be, but I think this Class AA field is fairly deep and in my mind, there's not a clear cut favorite going in. I do think the #3 ranked Lions will finally get past Boiling Springs, who they've lost to in each of the last three years, including the state final last February, 36-21. That in itself should be serving as extra motivation for Greg Lazor's crew, given that the Bubblers are the first opponent tomorrow. I've said before that I think Chestnut Ridge has as much top level talent as anyone in the state, and it will be up to them to provide the needed wins and bonus points to lead the way.

— How good is Saucon Valley?
   The District 11 champions are undefeated at 23-0. Their signature win was 36-33 over District 6 champ Huntingdon at the Juniata Duals. Other than that, the Panthers haven't really been tested in a dual meet. That bottom part of the bracket may be the toughest in the tournament, as #4 ranked Saucon would face either #5 Wyalusing Valley or #6 Fort LeBoeuf in the quarterfinals. This will be the fourth straight year for Saucon Valley in the state duals, so experience is there for the Panthers.

— Any darkhorse candidates?
   If I were to pick one, it would be Fort LeBoeuf, though Northern Lebanon falls into that category as well. Of the top six or eight ranked teams, #6 LeBoeuf might be the least talked about team statewide to date. The Bison had an early lead on Reynolds before losing the District 10 final, 33-29. Fort LeBoeuf always tends to wrestle well in Hershey, and while I have them losing in the first round tomorrow to Wyalusing, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bison make some noise in the consolation matches.

— Spring's Class AA Predictions
   My completed bracket is below, and you can click this link to Jeff Upson's predictions for PA Power Wrestling.



Tuesday, February 9, 2016

PIAA Class AA Duals - Chestnut Ridge vs. Boiling Springs

    Chestnut Ridge's first match at this year's State Duals is a very familiar opponent in Boiling Springs, who beat the Lions for last season's Class AA championship. Boiling Springs also defeated Chestnut Ridge in the quarterfinals in 2013 and 2014.

Class AA Team Duals - First Round
Chestnut Ridge (D5 Champion) vs. Boiling Springs (D3 Runner-up)
Thursday, 4 p.m. at Giant Center, Hershey
(Chestnut Ridge wrestlers listed first)
106 - Aaron Burkett, 28-1 or Cody Brown, 5-5 vs. Josiah Haulman, 5-12
113 - Burkett or Dylan Williams, 16-4 vs. Kollin Myers, 28-5
120 - Williams or Seth Harbaugh, 14-10 vs. Jalin Hankerson, 10-3
126 - Scotty Miller, 18-12 or Jared Pfaunmiller, 2-4 vs. Tristan Hanshaw, 18-10 or Caleb Holley, 1-2
132 - Jared McGill, 18-4 vs. Hanshaw, Holley or Lucas Shoop, 5-5
138 - Justin McCoy, 27-2 vs. Cole Wetzel, 18-6 or Cameron Palmer, 6-3
145 - Levi Hobson, 19-13 vs. A.J. Kostyak, 25-5
152 - Morgan Deremer, 25-4 vs. Kaiden Karper, 6-1 or Nick Kostyak, 10-13
160 - Josh McGill, 14-15 vs. Travis Wickard, 23-8 or Karper
170 - Brandyn Beaver, 15-7 vs. Cory Calaman, 7-14 or Wickard
182 - Austin Crouse, 13-13 or Kyle Nichols, 1-3 vs. Austin Taylor, 23-7
195 - Conner Buttry, 28-4 vs. Sam Geiling, 1-6 or Taylor
220 - Joel Evans, 10-11 or Brandon Clark, 5-18 vs. Rickie Ott, 15-12
285 - Landon Kensinger, 2-5 or Evans vs. Nick Trent, 3-4 or Ott

   Analysis: Straight up, this could be a split in bouts, though I don't think it will be wrestled that way depending on the starting weight and/or the coin flip. I could see Chestnut Ridge using Brown at 106 and bumping top ranked 106-pounder Burkett up to take on Myers, who is ranked sixth at 113. Interestingly, Wetzel didn't even weigh in for Boiling Springs in the play-in match at Mount Union last night. He also missed time in the early rounds of the District 3 Duals, so his status bears watching. For what it's worth if they meet, McCoy defeated Wetzel 7-5 in the preseason Super 32 Tournament. I have Karper listed at 152 for the Bubblers, but he has only wrestled one of his seven bouts that low, so look for Holley or Palmer to be inserted down below. I give Boiling Springs a small overall edge in the upperweights.
   Prediction: Chestnut Ridge, 32-24.

A Look at State Duals

   Here's a closer look at this week's Class AA State Duals. Preliminary Round winners on Monday night were Boiling Springs, Fort LeBoeuf, Greenville, and Southern Columbia.

Thursday's First Round Matches (Link to Class AA Brackets), 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Northern Lebanon vs. Greenville
Brookville vs. Montoursville
Huntingdon vs. New Hope-Solebury
Reynolds vs. Southern Columbia
Chestnut Ridge vs. Boiling Springs
Burrell vs. Lake Lehman
Saucon Valley vs. Bishop McDevitt
Wyalusing vs. Fort LeBoeuf

   The Favorite: Reynolds
   The Contenders: Brookville, Chestnut Ridge, Saucon Valley, Wyalusing

   Early Analysis: Yes, I know the first thing you see here is that I chose Reynolds as the favorite despite a 16-point loss to Brookville in the Ultimate Duals. I just have a hunch that Reynolds will win the rematch if it should take place in the semifinals on Friday night. The other three contenders I mention are all in the bottom half of the bracket. The key for Chestnut Ridge, and it's no secret, is to win the first match against Boiling Springs, which interestingly is a rematch of last year's state final. Boiling Springs has beaten Chestnut Ridge in each of the last three state team tournaments, though I think the Lions have the advantage going in this time. I'll break down the matchup in detail later this week in another blog post. Boiling Springs defeated Mount Union on Monday, 39-33, and that was without 138-pounder Cole Wetzel, who I was told didn't even weigh in for the match. Wetzel also missed early round action in District 3 last week, so his status bears watching. A Chestnut Ridge win means a likely quarterfinal with Burrell, and remember, the Lions defeated the Bucs at the Ultimate Duals by 18 points without regular starters Jared McGill and Brandyn Beaver. Beat Boiling Springs, and Chestnut Ridge should be in the semifinals.
   Also down below are Saucon Valley and Wyalusing, and that could be a dandy of a quarterfinal to see who may get Chestnut Ridge in the final four. We're looking way ahead here, but if Chestnut Ridge were to reach a second straight championship match, keep in mind that its two losses are to Reynolds (47-18) and Brookville (37-30). Of course as stated before, McGill and Beaver were out of the lineup and that was certainly a big factor. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

District 5 Semifinals, Championship

 2016 District 5 Duals

Semifinals
No. 1 CHESTNUT RIDGE 48, No. 5 SOMERSET 24
220 – James Rios, S, pinned Joel Evans, 3:05.
285 – Jack Hause, S, pinned Brandon Clark, 3:09.
106 – Aaron Burkett, CR, pinned Derek Talley, S, 3:40.
113 – Dylan Williams, CR, won by forfeit.
120 – Seth Harbaugh, CR, pinned Andrew Findley, 4:21.
126 – Quinn Cole, S, dec. Scotty Miller, 6-1.
132 – Jared Pfaunmiller, CR, won by forfeit.
138 – Jared McGill, CR, pinned Jansen Hemminger, 1:59.
145 – Justin McCoy, CR, dec. Austin Hemminger, 5-3.
152 – Tyler Krause, S, dec. Levi Hobson, 14-12.
160 – Morgan Deremer, CR, pinned Morgan Bell, 5:02.
170 – Brandyn Beaver, CR, dec. Daniel Balog, 4-1.
182 – Chase Marple, S, pinned Kyle Nichols, 3:58.
195 – Conner Buttry, CR, pinned Zach Yoder, 0:38.

No. 3 BERLIN 38, No. 2 BEDFORD 24
220 – Toby Cahill, BB, won by forfeit.
285 – Anthony Collins, BB, dec. Jorge Canales, 1-0.
106 – Logan Karns, B, won by forfeit.
113 – Brody Pugh, BB, dec. Noah Baughman, 4-2.
120 – Grant Browell, B, dec. Bryce Belcher, 4-2 OT.
126 – Jonathan Gabriel, B, won by forfeit.
132 – Austin Lee, BB, pinned Davey Hartman, 5:32.
138 – Joe Swank, BB, pinned Chance Dull, 1:44.
145 – Will Hartman, B, pinned Taylor Sager, 3:26.
152 – Josh Grimes, B, dec. Nick Brown, 3-0.
160 – Braden Fochtman, BB, maj. dec. Devon Karns, 15-4.
170 – Storm McDonald, BB, maj. dec. Daniel Brett, 17-8.
182 – Brody Moore, BB, dec. Ryan Wertz, 9-3.
195 – Jarred Reeves, BB, dec. Vinny Fernandez, 10-6.


Championship
No. 1 CHESTNUT RIDGE 47 , No. 3 BERLIN 24
285 – Collins, BB, maj. dec. Landon Kensinger, 9-0.
106 – Cody Brown, CR, pinned Pugh, 3:41.
113 – Burkett, CR, won by forfeit.
120 – Williams, CR, dec. Belcher, 10-4.
126 – Miller, CR, pinned Lee, 1:45.
132 – McGill, CR, inj. def. Jacob Fisher, 0:01.
138 – McCoy, CR, pinned Kyle Boyce, 1:50.
145 – Swank, BB, dec. Hobson, 6-0.
152 – Deremer, CR, tech. fall Brown, 18-1, 3:36.
160 – Fochtman, BB, tech. fall Josh McGill, 16-1, 5:01.
170 – McDonald, BB, pinned Logan Melius, 1:42.
182 – Beaver, CR, dec. Moore, 3-1 OT.
195 – Buttry, CR, pinned Reeves, 3:20.
220 – Cahill, BB, pinned Clark, 1:41.

Friday, February 5, 2016

District 5 Duals Saturday

District 5 Duals at Chestnut Ridge
Semifinals, 11 a.m.
Championship, 2 p.m.

Semifinal Matches
(1) Chestnut Ridge vs. (5) Somerset
(2) Bedford vs. (3) Berlin

Outlook
    Top seed and three-time defending champion Chestnut Ridge is a prohibitive favorite to claim its fourth straight title tomorrow. That said, you never know. The Lions didn't get a chance to face Somerset this season as the scheduled regular season dual was scrapped by the snowstorm two weeks ago. The Golden Eagles wrestled well in Thursday's 43-30 first round win at Everett, but with all due respect, Chestnut Ridge is a completely different animal. Hard not to see the Lions winning big in this one.
   On the other side, this is a match that could go either way based on individual matchups. Bedford has a lot of advantages down low and through the middle and that's where the Bisons will need some bonus points. Berlin will be relying on its upperweights to get the job done. I'm not sure how Berlin's two lowerweights that quit before Thursday fit into the Bedford matchup, but it doesn't help for sure. If the Mountaineers were to meet the Lions for the title in the afternoon, I could see Chestnut Ridge coach Greg Lazor using Cody Brown at 106 and bumping Aaron Burkett and Dylan Williams up to try and maximize wins and/or bonus points. In the regular season dual, Ridge had pins from Burkett and Williams at 106 and 113 as part of of its 42-30 victory. The 120-pound bout between Seth Harbaugh and Bryce Belcher was 2-1 in favor of the Lion wrestler.
   The Pick: Chestnut Ridge.

Looking Ahead
   Obviously, we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but the upcoming state duals will be intriguing, as I'm not sure there's a clear cut favorite in Class AA. The bracket is the same as last year, meaning the District 5 champion will face the winner of Monday's prelim between the District 3 and District 6 runner-ups on Thursday afternoon at Hershey's Giant Center.
   In District 6, I think Huntingdon and Mount Union will be the two finalists, and while I'm still leaning toward the Bearcats to get the automatic bid to Thursday, it's pretty slight. They only beat the Trojans by five points during the regular season and I am hearing that Huntingdon would only use Jacob Oliver in an "if needed" situation. Oliver suffered an injury in January's Escape the Rock finals and has been out of the lineup since.
   In District 3, it should be a barnburner final between Boiling Springs and Northern Lebanon. Last year, the Bubblers dominated the Vikings on their way to the state championship. But Boiling Springs lost a boatload of top talent while Northern Lebanon has a lot back and might be the slight favorite. This will be a final I'll be paying attention to.
   There's still a ways to go until Thursday, but I think Chestnut Ridge would relish another shot at Boiling Springs if given the opportunity should they be 5-1 and 3-2 on Thursday. The Bubblers have been a thorn in the side of Bedford County for the last four years, beating Bedford in the 2012 state semifinals before defeating Chestnut Ridge in the 2013 and 2014 quarterfinals and of course last season's championship match.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

District Duals Across the State

   Here is a look at where things stand around the state in Class AA as many of the district duals tournaments are already underway. Locally, District 5 begins tonight with the semifinals and final on Saturday at Chestnut Ridge. I have also indicated state rankings by PA Power Wrestling, as of last week, where applicable.

District 1 Semi, Final (champion advances to states)
Bristol vs. Pope John Paul II, winner to face New Hope-Solebury

District 2 Final (champion advances)
Hanover vs. Lake Lehman

District 3 Final (champion and runner-up advance)
Boiling Springs (PA Power #11) vs. Northern Lebanon (PA Power #7)

District 4 Quarterfinals (top three advance)
Montoursville (PA Power #8) vs. Warrior Run
Southern Columbia (PA Power #15) vs. Athens
Line Mountain (PA Power #18) vs. Lewisburg
Wyalusing (PA Power #5) vs. Towanda

District 5 First Round (champion advances)
Everett vs. Somerset, winner vs. Chestnut Ridge (PA Power #3)
Berlin vs. North Star, winner vs. Bedford (PA Power #22)

District 6 Semifinals (champion and runner-up advance)
Huntingdon (PA Power #10) vs. Penn Cambria
Mount Union (PA Power #19) vs. Central

District 7 Semifinals (top three advance)
Burrell (PA Power #12) vs. South Fayette
Derry (PA Power #25) vs. Freedom

District 9 Semifinals (champion advances)
Brookville (PA Power #1) vs. Brockway/Clarion winner
Redbank Valley vs. Coudersport

District 10 Quarterfinals (top three advance)
Reynolds (PA Power #2) vs. Cambridge Springs
Saegertown (PA Power #20) vs. Franklin (PA Power #13)
Fort LeBoeuf (PA Power #6) vs. Conneaut
Greenville (PA Power #9) vs. Harbor Creek

District 11 Quarterfinals (champion and runner-up advance)
Saucon Valley (PA Power #4) vs. North Schuylkill/Schuylkill Haven winner
Northwestern Lehigh vs. Northern Lehigh/Pine Grove winner
Lehighton vs. Palisades/Notre Dame Green Pond winner
Pen Argyl vs. Panther Valley/Williams Valley winner

State Team Tournament
Monday's Play-In Matchups
7-2 vs. 10-3
11-2 vs. 4-3
3-2 vs. 6-2
10-2 vs. 7-3