Sam Dover photo courtesy of Richard Immel
Some of the best wrestlers in the Northeast make their way to Canon-McMillan High School outside Pittsburgh on Friday and Saturday for the Powerade Wrestling Tournament. It will be hard to top last year, as we saw Beau Bartlett knocked off Gavin Teasdale in the finals to hand him the first loss of his varsity career. This year, we’re bound to see a number of top-10 matchups. These are the best matches we could see this weekend:
No. 2 Kurt McHenry (St. Paul’s, MD) vs. No. 3 Alejandro Herrera-Rondon (Seneca Valley, PA)
McHenry made his way back down to 113 for Beast and subsequently claimed the championship. Herrera-Rondon, meanwhile, burst onto the national scene with a second-place finish and a win over previous No 1 Jacob Decatur. The two have yet to meet, but should they do so it’ll be interesting to see how McHenry deals with Herrera-Rondon’s length and size.
No. 3 Alejandro Herrera-Rondon (Seneca Valley, PA) vs. No. 7 Jacob Rundell (Oak Park-River Forest, IL)
OPRF makes the trip out east and brings with it seventh-ranked 113-pound wrestler in the country, Jacob Rundell. For Herrera-Rondon to reach the final, he’ll likely have to get through third-seeded Rundell in the semis. Rundell is a former Fargo third-place finisher, while Herrera-Rondon’s mat wrestling may be the best at the weight class.
No. 2 Kurt McHenry (St. Paul’s, MD) vs. No. 7 Jacob Rundell (Oak Park-River Forest, IL)
Should Rundell get through Herrera-Rondon, he’ll (in all likelihood) have to square off with McHenry in the finals. Stylistically that would appear to be a big advantage to McHenry, a two-time UWW Cadet World Champion, but Rundell, like Herrera, will also have a slight size advantage that he may be able to use to bully McHenry a bit.
No. 9 Ricky Cabanillas (DePaul Catholic, NJ) vs. No. 10 Lucas Revano (Camden Catholic, NJ)
These two could have met last week at Beast of the East, but Revano fell to eventual champion Ryan Anderson of Bethlehem Catholic in the semifinals before battling back for third. There is a concern we don’t see this one pan out as Revano injured himself while wrestling back to third a week ago. Both are 2018 New Jersey state champions, with Cabanillas winning at 145 and Revano doing so at 132.
No. 9 Ricky Cabanillas (DePaul Catholic, NJ) vs. No. 4 Bryce Andonian (St. Edward, OH)
Other than injury, the biggest hurdle between an all-New Jersey final is third-seeded Bryce Andonian of St. Ed’s. Andonian, a Virginia Tech signee, would be my pick to win this weight class. His health, however, is also in doubt after medically forfeiting out on the backside of Ironman and taking sixth after reaching the semifinals.
No. 10 Lucas Revano (Camden Catholic, NJ) vs. No. 4 Bryce Andonian (St. Edward, OH)
Should both be healthy and remain that way through the semifinals, these two would lock horns at that juncture. Andonian probably has a slight power advantage on Revano, a Penn signee, but the Garden State product is as slick as any in the weight class on his feet and will surely have a few tricks up his sleeve.
No. 4 Sam Dover (St. Edward, OH) vs. No, 7 Ryan Vulakh (Pope John Paul II, PA)
Dover looked fantastic earlier this month at Walsh Ironman where he took home the crown and knocked off former No. 1 Brevin Balmeceda in the finals, 5-2. Vulakh, meanwhile, made his tournament debut at 152 a week ago and won an Ironman bracket that contained three other ranked wrestlers. Somehow, Vulakh comes into this one as the third seed, but I’d be pretty surprised if this weren’t your final.
No. 3 Carter Starocci (Erie Cathedral Prep, PA) vs. No. 7 Gerrit Nijenhuis (Canon-McMillan, PA)
Starocci returns to Canon-Mac as a defending champ and with a decent argument that he could be the top-ranked guy in a weight where it appears no one wants to be the top-ranked guy. Nijenhuis, meanwhile, bumps up to 182 this year from 160 and in his first showing of the year at Super 32, he grabbed an impressive second-place finish. The two met last year in the 160-pound semifinals and Starocci claimed a 3-1 sudden victory win after being awarded controversial takedown.