The 74th edition of the historic PSAC Championships will be wrestled in Thomas Fieldhouse at Lock Haven on Saturday. Competition gets underway at 10 am eastern with the finals scheduled for 6:30 pm. Edinboro, Lock Haven, Clarion, and Bloomsburg are the Division I teams in attendance along with the Division II contingent. Here are five things to watch at the PSACs.
Edinboro Goes for History
The Fighting Scots have won the last five PSAC titles and 10 of the last 11. That run has put them second all-time with 18 PSAC titles overall. They enter this tournament just one behind host Lock Haven and, with a win, Edinboro could move into a tie for first with 19. The Bald Eagles won the first five PSAC tournaments, but haven’t won since the 2000-01 season. This year Edinboro looks like the favorite once again with Lock Haven and Clarion trying to chase them down.
Strong D2 Contingent on Hand
Two of the top five teams in Division II, fourth-ranked Pitt-Johnstown and fifth-ranked Mercyhurst, will compete here as well. A total of eight D2 teams are in the field and will get a chance to battle their D1 counterparts. Mercyhurst finished third in this tournament last season, ahead of Clarion and Bloomsburg. The Lakers bring a strong crew once again and will probably finish in front of Pitt-Johnstown considering the Mountain Cats top-ranked Nick Roberts (133) is not entered and has not wrestled yet this season. Look for plenty of Division II talent to make noise all day on Saturday.
Zacherl/Perry Round Two
#13 Brock Zacherl (Clarion) had just one regular season loss a year ago. He has two this season already, both coming in Vegas last weekend, but owns a win over #16 Ronnie Perry (Lock Haven). This could be a rivalry that rages all season as the two could meet in the finals here, in the dual on February 2nd, and at the EWL tournament in March, not to mention the NCAA tournament that both should compete at to finish their seasons. Perry will be looking to even the series and build some momentum in his senior campaign. The second-ranked 141 in Division II, Joey Allesandro (Seton Hill), will look to play spoiler and keep this match from happening.
Reinhart, Mizia Look to Upset Matthews at 165
#19 Austin Matthews (Edinboro) has battled through a difficult early schedule, posting a respectable 9-4 record with some quality wins and no bad losses. He’ll look to do nothing but win on Saturday, but a pair of highly ranked D2 foes will have similar goals. Top-ranked Tyler Reinhart (Pitt-Johnstown) is the defending D2 national champion while third-ranked Fran Mizia (Mercyhurst) was fifth in D2s last season. Depending on how the seeds shake out, those two could match-up in the semi-finals for the right to take on Matthews in the final.
Can Russell Navigate 125?
10th ranked Sean Russell (Edinboro) is a solid favorite at the lightest weight class, but there are a couple of potential landmines lurking in this bracket. Jake Gromacki (Clarion) has been good in close matches this season and got a nice win over Noah Gonser (Eastern Michigan) a couple of weeks ago. If he can keep it close against Russell, he has a chance to steal a victory. He may not get the chance, however, as the second-ranked 125 in D2, Willie Bohince (Mercyhurst), is also in this bracket. Bohince was the national runner-up a year ago and is perfect on the season at 11-0. Look for him to contend for a high finish.