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High School Wrestling

PA Round-Up: Escape the Rock Preview

Escape-The-Rock

In only it’s 12th year, Escape the Rock has grown into one of the strongest tournaments in the country, rivaling Powerade for the honor of being the top tournament in Pennsylvania. This year’s event features top ranked teams from the Keystone State including Malvern Prep, Northampton, North Allegheny, Canon-McMillan, Easton, Boyertown, Bishop McDevitt, and host Council Rock South. In addition, four of the top 10 teams from New Jersey will compete, Delbarton, Paulsboro, Queen of Peace and Hanover Park. St. Christopher’s, Colonial Forge, J.W. Robinson, Brentsville and Cave Spring are all ranked in the top 12 in Virginia and St. Paul’s from Maryland recently finished sixth at the prestigious Beast of the East.

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Nationally ranked wrestlers:

#2 Kurt McHenry, St. Paul’s

#6 Anthony Clark, Delbarton

Other top contenders:

Sammy Alvarez, St. Joseph’s Regional

Aaron Howell, J.W. Robinson

Kaden Cassidy, Bishop McCort

Nate Smith, Bishop McDevitt

Max Mendes, Council Rock South

Luke Lucerne, Council Rock North

Dalton Harkins, Malvern Prep

This bracket is always a fun one to watch with new stars emerging from the freshman class. World Cadet gold medalist McHenry and Journeyman champ Clark stand out, but Fargo All-American Cassidy could surprise in his first high school tournament after an outstanding youth career. Smith took home the King of the Mountain title, while Mendez was crowned at the Bethlehem Hurricane.

Prediction:

1. McHenry 2. Anthony Clark 3. Cassidy 4. Alvarez 5. Harkins 6. Mendes

Potential bracket buster: Andrew Clark, Collingswood (#12 seed)

113

Contenders:

Jaret Lane, Southern Columbia

Jacob Dunlop, Belle Vernon

Shane Ashworth-Hanson, Malvern Prep

Kyle Kaiser, Paramus

Dominic Defrancesantonio, Hanover Park

Matt Wilde, Boyertown

Chase Shields, Bishop McDevitt

Jacob Downing, North Allegheny

Enrique Sanchez, Queen of Peace

The top trio of FloNational champ Lane, Powerade finalist Dunlop and National Prep finalist Ashworth-Hanson could be challenged as the other contenders all have significant wins over top wrestlers in their careers. Kaiser and Defrancesantonio are Beast medalists, while Wilde and Shields recently squared off at King of the Mountain, with Wilde prevailing in a close match before falling to PA state finalist Louis Newell in the finals.

Prediction:

1. Dunlop 2. Lane 3. Wilde 4. Ashworth-Hanson 5. Defrancesantonio 6. Shields

Potential bracket buster: AJ Burkhardt, Athens (#10 seed, former NY state champ)

120

Nationally ranked wrestlers:

#3 Pat Glory, Delbarton

#10 Matty Parker, Pennridge

#13 Tommy Hoskins, Legacy Christian

Other contenders:

Michael Kelly, St. Peter’s Prep

Killian Cardinale, Brentsville

Logan Macri, Canon-McMillan

Aidan Burke, Council Rock North

Mark Salvatore, Malvern Prep

This loaded weight is led by Super 32 and two-time Beast champion Glory, but there will be no shortage of challengers for the belt. Fargo finalist Parker and two-time Ohio state champion Hoskins are the top credentialed, but Kelly, Cardinale, Burke and Powerade finalist Macri all can beat anyone in the field. The quarterfinals of this weight are must see, with potential match-ups of Parker/Macri, Hoskins/Cardinale, and Kelly/Burke.

Prediction:

1. Glory 2. Parker 3. Macri 4. Hoskins 5. Cardinale 6. Burke

Potential bracket busters: Two freshman – Tyler Martin, Bishop McDevitt (#9 seed) and Jacob Perez (#14) could make their mark here.

126

Nationally ranked wrestlers:

#3 Julian Chlebove, Northampton

#6 Nick Raimo, Hanover Park

Other contenders:

Daniel Planta, St. Paul’s

Sam Book, J.W. Robinson

Trevon Majette, Oscar Smith

Anthony Duca, Paulsboro

Ben Radner, Council Rock South

Levi Englman, Colonial Forge

Jon Miers, Easton

Chlebove and Raimo seem set for a rematch of the Beast finals, although Book almost upset Raimo in the Beast semifinals and could crash the party. Planta could meet Book for the fourth time this year (Book has won twice). Majette, who took third at the NHSCA junior tournament last spring, may surprise and Radner made a statement with a 10-3 victory over former Escape the Rock champ Brandon Kassis last week at the Parkland duals. Cumberland Valley Kickoff Classic champ Miers is an exciting freshman who lost to Chlebove in an entertaining final at the Bethlehem Hurricane.

Prediction: 1. Chlebove 2. Raimo 3. Miers 4. Planta 5. Book 6. Radner

Potential bracket buster: Jon Miers, Easton (#10 seed)

132

Nationally ranked wrestlers:

#3 Brian Courtney, Athens

Other contenders:

KJ Fenstermacher, Northampton

Jakob Campbell, Boyertown

Caden Darber, New Kent

Luke Landefeld, North Allegheny

Marc Garofalo, Colonial Forge

Lou Raimo, Hanover Park

Ray Wetzel, Queen of Peace

Matt O’Block, Canon-McMillan

FloNational and PA state champ Brian Courtney dropped to 132 for this tournament and is the headliner in this field. Fenstermacher is a returning Escape the Rock champ and defeated Fargo All-American Campbell, 1-0, earlier in the season. Darber scored a win over Fenstermacher on his way to a Beast medal. Landefeld, Garofalo, Raimo, Wetzel, and O’Block have all hit the podium at significant national tournaments.

Prediction:

1. Courtney 2. Fenstermacher 3. Campbell 4. Landefeld 5. Darber 6. Raimo

Potential bracket buster: Micah Visuwan, Malvern Prep (#10 seed)

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Nationally ranked wrestlers:

#14 Zack Trampe, Council Rock South

Other contenders:

Dan Moran, Northampton

Carnell Andrews, Bishop McCort

Aaron Rump, Chambersburg

PJ Crane, Malvern

Clay Smith, Colonial Forge

Josh Baier, Cave Spring

Trampe and Moran are both returning Escape the Rock champions and met in the Bethlehem Hurricane this season, with Trampe coming out on top of an exciting 6-4 overtime match. Fargo All-American Andrews took third at Powerade, Rump is a two-time Beast medalist and Baier is a two-time Virginia state champ. This is an extremely deep weight that could see more than one low seed crashing the stand.

Prediction:

1. Trampe 2. Moran 3. Crane 4. Rump 5. Andrews 6. Zach Ortman, Parkland

Potential bracket busters: Zach Ortman, Parkland (#11 seed); Travis Tavoso, Delbarton (#14); Gabe Onorato, Collingswood (#16)

145

Contenders:

John Pipa, Bishop McDevitt

Jake Hinkson, North Allegheny

Todd Lane, Southern Columbia

Ethan Krause, Georgetown Prep

Nick Santos, St. Peter’s Prep

Aurelius Dunbar, Mercersburg Academy

Garrett Beam, Queen of Peace

Tucker Brough, Big Spring

Devon Britton, Northampton

Sean Conley, Hanover Park

AJ Lonski, Delbarton

This is another deep weight class with as many as five wrestlers capable of making a case for the number one seed, which Pipa earned. Two-time PA state medalist Hinkson has performed very well at big tournaments (fourth at FloNationals, Beast, and Powerade) and Lane is a very talented wrestler whose career has been interrupted by injuries. Krause recently defeated Hinkson on his way to third at the Beast and Santos is a former Beast finalist. Seven-seed Brough has a win over Pipa and keep an eye on freshman Aurelius Dunbar, who is undefeated on the season but faces his first big test at Escape the Rock.

Prediction:

1. Lane 2. Pipa 3. Dunbar 4. Hinkson 5. Santos 6. Beam

Potential bracket busters: Dan Mancini, Owen J. Roberts (#13); Cary Palmer, Council Rock South (#16); Nick O’Connell, Southern Regional (#19)

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Contenders:

Riley Palmer, Council Rock South

Gerrit Nijenhuis, Canon-McMillan

Brock Godzin, Belle Vernon

Ethan Dendy, McCallie School

Chris Hisey, Malvern Prep

Trevor Elfvin, Father Judge

Two-time Escape the Rock champ Palmer, Powerade medalist Godzin and freshman phenom Nijenhuis stand out in this field which is not very deep. Nijenhuis owns wins over Palmer and Godzin already in his young career. Dendy, a two-time Tennessee state finalist, and Elfvin, who lost in the blood round at Fargo, are wild cards who may surprise here.

Prediction:

1. Palmer 2. Nijenhuis 3. Godzin 4. Elfvin 5. Hisey 6. Brandon Green, Paulsboro

Potential bracket busters: Freshmen Brandon Green, Paulsboro (#11 seed) and Angel Garcia, Mariana Bracetti (#12)

160

Nationally ranked wrestlers:

#5 Kyle Cochran, Paramus

#19 Zach Hartman, Belle Vernon

Other contenders:

Josh Stillings, Pennridge

Ryan Resnick, Owen J. Roberts

Seth Baney, Huntingdon

Jared Lough, Colonial Forge

Luke Nichter, Chambersburg

Jackson Turley, St. Christopher’s

Super 32 and NJ state champ Cochran is a clear favorite, but Zach Hartman’s move to 160, after competing at 145 earlier in the season, adds some intrigue. Hartman bumped up in weight at Powerade where he made the finals and remains at 160 for Escape the Rock. Ryan Resnick is also performing very well after moving up from 138 last season, winning the titles at King of the Mountain and the Buckskin Classic while defeating Baney. Stillings is an NHSCA champion and faces an interesting quarterfinal match-up with Resnick. Beast medalist Lough, freshman Nichter and Turley, who lost a thrilling overtime match to Stillings at the Beast, could all make some noise here.

Prediction:

1. Cochran 2. Hartman 3. Stillings 4. Resnick 5. Lough 6. Baney

Potential bracket buster: John Stout, Southern Regional (#15 seed)

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Nationally ranked wrestlers:

#3 Ryan Karoly, Malvern Prep

#11 Jacob Oliver, Huntingdon

Other contenders:

Dale Tiongson, St. Paul’s

Cade Moisey, Northampton

Michael Battista, Broad Run

Kade Sanders, New Kent

Cole Kreshpane, Delbarton

Ben Root, Solanco

Three-time Fargo Champ Karoly and PA state champ Oliver are the favorites to reach what should be an exciting final here, but Tiongson, a Fargo All-American, Powerade finalist and Beast medalist, could have something to say about that. Moisey, Battista, and Sanders have all performed well at Escape the Rock in recent years.

Prediction:

1. Oliver 2. Karoly 3. Moisey 4. Tiongson 5. Battista 6. Jacob Cardenas, Queen of Peace

Potential bracket buster: Jacob Cardenas, Queen of Peace (#10 seed)

182

Nationally ranked wrestlers:

#1 Michael Beard, Malvern Prep

#14 Drew Peck, Chambersburg

Other Contenders:

Miles Lee, South Philadelphia

Dom Maniero, Queen of Peace

Jack Parr, St. Paul’s

Frank Guida, Parkland

Elijah Jones, Boyertown

Luis Castellano, Delbarton

Michael Taulane, Collingswood

Carter Davis, St. Christopher’s

The battle at this weight seems to be for second place as Michael Beard is a heavy favorite to capture his second Escape the Rock belt. Peck, who placed third at Super 32, and two-time NJ state medalist Maniero are the front-runners to face Beard in the finals by virtue of their placement in the bottom half of the bracket. Fargo double All-American Lee is an interesting potential semifinal opponent for Beard with his quickness in neutral but could struggle on the bottom as Beard is a monster on top. Sophomore Parr has a Beast medal and is much improved this year. Jones recently dropped from 195, where he had some very nice wins and could make some noise here. Davis was third at National Preps last year but seems to be struggling with the move up to 182 early in the season. This is another deep weight with Beast medalist Eze Chukwuezi, Colonial Forge, seeded eleventh.

Prediction:

1. Beard 2. Peck 3. Maniero 4. Jones 5. Taulane 6. Parr

Potential bracket buster: Sean Bowker, Southern Regional (#12 seed)

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Nationally ranked wrestlers:

#3 John Borst, Sherando

#4 Jake Woodley, North Allegheny

#11 Noah Bushman, Cave Springs

#19 Anthony Walters, Bishop McCort

#20 Cole Nye, Bishop McDevitt

Other contenders:

Brian Bonino, Paramus

Blake Barrick, Big Spring

Trent Ragland, New Kent

Nick Florschutz, Malvern Prep

After 120 and 145, this is probably the third toughest bracket in the tournament with five of the top 20 wrestlers in the country set to compete. Borst and Woodley hope to renew their rivalry in the finals after Super 32 champ Borst defeated PA state champ Woodley, 3-2, to take the Beast title. PA state champ Nye, PA state finalist Walters and two-time VA state champ Bushman are all serious threats. Bonino, Barrick, Fargo All-American Ragland and Florschutz (National Prep medalist) should battle for the remaining three spots on the podium.

Prediction:

1. Borst 2. Woodley 3. Nye 4. Bushman 5. Walters 6. Barrick

Potential bracket buster: None – this looks like nine wrestlers battling for eight spots on the podium.

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Contenders:

Josiah Jones, Bishop McCort

Joey Doyle, Council Rock South

Jon Birchmeier, Broad Run

Billy Korber, Belle Vernon

Nathan Feyrer, Parkland

John Urban, St. Paul’s

Brad Basham, Buckingham, Browne & Nichols

Jen Ames, St. Christopher’s

Ian Edenfield, Laurel Highlands

PA state finalist Jones and Super 32 medalist Doyle should meet in the finals, but VA state champ Birchmeier may surprise in his first action of the season. Jones defeated Korber on his way to the Powerade finals. Basham is a two-time Massachusetts state champ who was injured in the semifinals of the New England championships last season and may be a dangerous draw.

Prediction:

1. Doyle 2. Jones 3. Birchmeier 4. Edenfield 5. Flynn Leaf, Malvern Prep 6. Korber

Potential bracket buster: Flynn Leaf, Malvern Prep (#13)

285

Nationally ranked wrestlers:

#8 Seth Janney, Malvern Prep

#12 Brendan Furman, Canon-McMillan

Other contenders:

River Henry, McCallie

DT Badley, St. Christopher’s

Thomas Gates, Georgetown Prep

Derek Divine, North Allegheny

Janney should cruise to the finals where he should meet Powerade champ Furman, although Furman’s potential semifinal with National Prep fourth-place finisher Henry should be interesting. Janney, Furman, and Henry make a clear top three, followed by Mount Mat Madness champion Gates, Powerade medalist Divine and 2014 Ironman medalist Badley.

Prediction:

1. Janney 2. Furman 3. Henry 4. Gates 5. Divine 6. Badley

Potential bracket buster: Matt Meloni, Collingswood (#13 seed)

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