For a tournament that does not have the long, storied history of some others in the region and across the country, Escape the Rock has gained ground in bragging rights when comparing tournament strength. What originally started as a dual tournament in 2005, evolved into a bracketed individual tournament during the 2007 season. That tournament featured only seven state or national prep champions, while the 2017 edition showcased 31. Out of state teams have become more common and added depth to what was already a solid tournament featuring local Pennsylvania schools. This years field includes four teams ranked in the top 20 nationally (LaSalle, Delbarton, Malvern Prep, Bethlehem Catholic) and three wrestlers ranked in the top two at their respective weight classes.
Join us now as we go weight-by-weight through the entries and make our predictions for the top eight finishers in each bracket!
At most tournaments, the 106 lb weight class features the most turnover and this group is no exception. In fact, it will be the only bracket at this tournament that does not feature a returning place winner. Fret not, there is plenty of talent on hand, some of which will not need to travel far. The host school, Council Rock South (PA), will feature the second seed Kyle Waterman, a sophomore that has already won titles this season at the King of the Mountain and the Cumberland Valley Kickoff Classic. Crosstown rival, Council Rock North (PA) has the fifth seed also named Kyle, Kyle Hauserman. This Kyle was a runner-up at the Penn Manor Tournament and placed third at the Bethlehem Holiday Classic. Both of these wrestlers have combined to lose just three matches on the season and all three have come at the hands of the same opponent, Liberty’s (PA) Tal-Reese Flemming.
The top seed will be Delbarton’s (NJ) freshman Nico Nardone. Currently the 12th ranked 106 lber, Nardone started his high school career by finishing third at the Beast of the East, only losing a decision to fifth-ranked Nick Kayal. Nardone will be a sizable favorite to take home the title. A serious threat to Nico and the rest of the field will be LaSalle’s freshman Dustin Norris. After going 3-2 at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman, Norris has come on strong winning the Dvorak in late December. Also, figuring prominently will be Bethlehem Catholic’s (PA) Nate Lackman, the fourth seed. A junior, Lackman will be one of the older competitors at this weight. He narrowly missed out on the podium at the Beast of the East. The sixth seed will be Erik Roggie, a freshman from St. Christopher’s (VA). Roggie recently was a runner-up at Georgia’s Prep Slam. Seventh-seeded Jimmy Baxter of Canon-McMillan (PA) was a match away from placing at the Powerade.
TOM’s Placewinner Predictions:
1) Nico Nardone - Delbarton, NJ
2) Dustin Norris - LaSalle, OH
3) Kyle Waterman - Council Rock South, PA
4) Kyle Hauserman - Council Rock North, PA
5) Nate Lackman - Bethlehem Catholic, PA
6) Jimmy Baxter - Canon McMillan, PA
7) Erik Roggie - St. Christopher’s, VA
8) Robert Lawlor - Father Judge, PA
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