Located in the heart of Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) country, the tournament features the state championship and runners-up teams in both Pennsylvania high school divisions: defending Central Dauphin and Blue Mountain in AAA, and Shady Side Academy and Benton in AA.
Out of state teams include Collins Hill (GA), Osceola (FL), and Christiansburg (VA), all of whom won their respective state championships last year.
Mt. Saint Josephâ€™s (MD) who placed 4th in National Preps last year, as well as perennial West Virginia power, Parkersburg, who won state team titles in â€™07 and â€™08, are also in the 44-team field.
In TOMâ€™s official 2009 POWERade Preview, weâ€™ll try to highlight the top competitors at each weight. There are some notable incongruities in seeds, which makes things a bit fuzzy on just how the brackets may play out. The numbers next to each name indicate seeds, â€˜(us-)â€™ = unseeded.
If youâ€™ve read TOMâ€™s previews before, you know we list past champions in a selected year, to give some historical context and interest.
Last Year: Jimmy Gulibon, Derry, md. Corey Keener, BM, 10-1
2004: Colin Johnston, Canon-Mac, dec. Dan Whiteneck, MSJ, 6-5 RO
5-Tyson Dippery, Central Dauphin
4-Willie Bohince, Penn-Trafford
3-Nick Hough, Mt. Pleasant
6-Connor Schram, Canon-Mac
2-Joey Byers, Delone Catholic
The top seed is junior Brendan Walsh, not of 90210, but of Archbishop Moeller. He was 2-2 at Ironman. I expect Dippery, a Cadet AA and 3rd place finisher at the Beast this year to win the top bracket
The bottom bracket winner might be decided in the quarters where talented freshman Connor Schram will likely meet with King of the Mountain Runner-Up, Joey Byers.
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. Dippery 2. Schram 3. Byers
Last Year: Nico Megaludis, Franklin, dec Zach Zimmer, Clovis-West 3-1 OT
2004: Chris Neidermaier, Waynesburg, dec Rudy Chelednik, GCC 4-2OT
1-Jimmy Gulibon, Derry
8-Tyler White, Ripley
5-Josh Polecek, Westmont-Hilltop
4-Paul Bewak, Hempfield
us-Joey Dance, Christiansburg
us-Stephen Myers, Moeller
us-Ryan Bohince, Penn-Trafford
3-Shyheim Brown, Central Dauphin
6-Chace Small, Latrobe
7-Bazell Partridge, Collins Hill
2- Cory Keener, Blue Mountain
It seems like thereâ€™s a good crop of 112lbs this year. In all the big tournaments, this weight has been really competitive and this bracket is no different. Itâ€™s perhaps the deepest in the field.
The seeding doesnâ€™t help sort out much, as Joey Dance (6th at the Beast, Ironman, 7th ) and Stephen Myers(Ironman 3rd) are unseeded. As is state qualifier and KOM Runner-up Ryan Bohince. Where they fall in the bracket will go a long way in determining who places where.
The top quarter should be a dandy. The winner will face defending POWERade and state champion, Gulibon. Should Bewak make win, it would set-up a rematch of the state finals for the semiâ€™s.
As it lays, I like Keener (4th at IM) to come out of the bottom bracket. But one of the unseeded guys will most likely throw a monkey wrench into those designs.
Brown placed 8th at the Beast. Partridge won the Midwest Classic. Small was 3rd at KOM. Ripley is a WV state 3rd placer.
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. Gulibon 2. Myers 3. Dance
Last Year: Shane Young, Penn Trafford, dec Tyler Rauenzahn, BM 6-3
2004: Andrew Pilla, CBurg, dec. Matt Taylor, Colonial Forge, 8-4
1-Nico Megaludis, Franklin
4-Alex Dunaway, McGuffey
3- Geoff Alexander, SSA
7-Derrick Nelson, Waynesburg
2-Mike Rhone, Benton
Megaludis, a state champion and Fargo finalist, is the favorite here. Though donâ€™t discount Rhone, who has had a fantastic off-season that included a win over Megaludis in the state freestyle final, to pull-off an upset.
Dunaway and Alexander are state place winners. Nelson, a state qualifier.
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. Megaludis 2. Rhone 3. Dunaway
Last Year: Nathan Pennesi, Latrobe dec Clinton McAllester, Clovis, 7-2
2004: Eric Albright, Fort LeBoef, md. Kyle Fluke, State College, 16-7
5-Tanner Hough, Westmont-Hilltop
4-Mitchell Port, Bellefonte
3-Dave Makara, Burrell
7-Brandon Choate, Blue Mountain
2-TJ Mitchell, Collins Hill
A deep weight, with three nationally ranked and Division I-committed wrestlers. Rebounding for 3rd will be a bear.
Carter, a finalist in Fargo, Super32, Ironman, The Beast, etcetera, is the heavy favorite.
He should face a nice challenge in semiâ€™s from Port who dominated his way through KOM. Had Port been in the opposite half, Iâ€™d pick him to make the finals.
On the bottom side, a QF match should feature Choate and nationally-ranked TJ Mitchell.
Makara most recently placed 5th at the IM. He was also 7th last year in PA small schools.
Hough and Gooding are state qualifiers
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. Carter 2. Mitchell 3. Port
Last Year: Frank Martellotti, SSA dec John Prezzia, SS Beaver 2-1OT
2004: Mark Tsikedanos, MSJ, FALL Josh Neal, Parkersburg 3:12
1-Frank Martellotti, SSA
8-Josh Ruppert, Delone Catholic
4-Drew Hammer, Moeller
us-Ty Lydic, Latrobe
3-Jordan Toledo, Pleasant Valley
6-Tyler Zymroz, Pitt Central Catholic
2-Tyler Rauenzahn, Blue Mountain
Martellotti was a point away from an IM final and eventually placed 3rd. He should be the favorite here, but there are several who can push him.
Drew Hammer moves down from 135, where, at IM, he was a match from placing.
The bottom half is tough to handicap as Toledo, Zymroz, and Rauenzahn are all close. Toledo just took 3rd at Reno. Zymroz dominated through KOM. Rauenzahn, a state runner-up, was a match from placing at IM.
Watch for talented Soph, Ty Lydic to have some say in the final placings. He was a Fargo AA as a Cadet this summer and recently placed 3rd at KOM.
Tyler Buckman (Central Dauphin) is a scratch. Jeremy Landowski (Burrell) is a scratch.
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. Martellotti 2. Toledo 3. Hammer
Last Year: Josh Kindig, BM FALL Corey Mock, Chapel Hill :54
2004: Brandon Rader, Parkersburg, md. Ashtin Primus, Connellsville 10-0
1-Joe Locksmith, Osceola
8-Erik Galloway, State College
5-Nick Catalano, Canon-Mac
4-Tyler Small, Delone Catholic
us-Zach Epperly, Christiansburg
us-Matt Cimato, LaSalle
3-Trevor Kushner, Westmont-Hilltop
6-Corey Ratliff, Ripley
2-Travis Shaffer, Derry
This bracket is top-heavy and the QF will feature some darn good bouts.
Galloway is up-and-down. He won some matches at the Nittany Lion Open, but yet, DNPâ€™d at KOM where Small placed 3rd.
Locksmith is the stud here. A multiple time state champ, he was a Fargo Junior Greco finalist this summer.
Catalano was 4th last year in PA big schools. Shaffer was 5th. Kushner was a qualifier.
Ratliff is a WV state Champion. Epperly was a match from placing at IM.
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. Locksmith 2. Shaffer 3. Catalano
Last Year: Dane Johnson, SSA dec Jack Bachman, Hempfield 6-4
2004: Tom Picarsic, Penn-Trafford, dec. Dan Burkholder, Trinity, 1-0
1-Josh Kindig, Blue Mountain
4-Lorenzo Thomas, Pitt Central Catholic
us-Ryan Walters, Latrobe
3-Pete Baldwin, Osceola
7-Brady Massaro, Mount St. Joeâ€™s
2-Joel Smith, Collins Hill
Smith is an Arizona State signee who just won the Midwest Classic. Kindig, whoâ€™s among the nationâ€™s elite prospects, owns a win over him in this yearâ€™s Super32 where Kindig won the belt, and Smith finished 4th.
Baldwin is a FL state champ and a Fargo AA. Massaro placed 6th at the Beast. Lorenzo Thomas finished 4th at KOM, where Walters was 7th.
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. Kindig 2. Smith 3. Baldwin
Last Year: Scott Sakaguchi, Clovis, dec. Brian Sewalt, Waverly, 13-6
2004: Donnie Armen, Mt. Pleasant, dec. Matt Epperly, CBurg 5-3
1-Gabe Bird, Osceola
5-Derek Shingara, Shamokin
4-Benny Schaufele, Mount St. Joeâ€™s
us-Garrett Vulcano, Chartiers-Houston
3-Jake Kondrlik, Corry
2-David Demor, SS Beaver
Another one of Osceolaâ€™s freestyle AAâ€™s, Bird is the overwhelming favorite here.
After Bird, the 145 field is filled with state qualifiers in Kondrlik, and Shingara.
Demor was 7th in PA small schools.
James Linkous (CBurg) is a scratch.
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. Bird 2. Demor 3. Shingara
Last Year: Marshall Peppelman, CD, TF Chris Moon Fauqier, 1:46
2004: Dave Rella, Walsh, dec. Donnie Jones, Greensburg, 4-3
1-Pierce Harger, Moeller
4-Adam Bicak, Ripley
us-Cody Wiercioch, Charleroi
3-Rich Eva, Christiansburg
2-Travis McKillop, Burrell
Harger is a national-caliber wrestler. A state champ who signed on to be a Northwestern Wildcat next fall, Harger moves down from 160 where he made semiâ€™s of IM two weeks ago.
A potential semi of two state champs could meet in Bicak/Harger in the top half.
Eva and McKillop both DNPâ€™d at Ironman, but they met in wrestlebacks with McKillop winning handily, 13-2
Cody Allala (Hopewell, VA) is a scratch.
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. Harger 2. McKillop 3. Wiercioch
Last Year: Matt Cunningham, SSA dec. Kenny Courts, CD 10-5
2004: Mack Lewnes, MSJ, dec Rick Haarbauer, Baldwin, 6-0
1-Marshall Peppelman, Central Dauphin
4-Ethan Saylor, Connelsville
3-Matt Hudenski, Hopewell (PA)
2-Eric Hess, Benton
Perhaps the marquee finals anticipation of the tourney.
Marshall Peppelman is TOMâ€™s #1 165 Prospect in the country, while Hess sits as our #3.
Both returning state champions, Marshall recently won the Beast while Hess won KOM and placed 3rd at the East Stroudsburg Open, losing only to Penn State National Finalist Bubba Jenkins at 157.
Hudenski was beaten by Peppelman in state semiâ€™s and finished 6th.
Saylor placed 8th at the Beast.
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. Peppelman 2. Hess 3. Saylor
Last Year: Jake Kemerer, Hempfield, md. Christian Oberle, Bellefonte 11-6
2004: Chance Litton, Parkersburg, dec Corbin Semple, Waynesburg, 5-1
1-Matt Cunningham, SSA
5-Nick Bonnacorsi, Bethel Park
4-Clint Morrison, Cedar Cliff
3-Levi Clemons, Osceola
2-Kenny Courts, Central Dauphin
Not to be outdone by 160, a potential rematch of last year looms with Cunningham and Courts. Cunningham won the 2008 POWERade, besting Courts 10-5.
Courts, who last weekend won the Beast of the East, should get a tough semifinal from Osceolaâ€™s Levi Clemons, a former Cadet Greco National Champion.
Both Cunningham and Courts are state runners-up and Cunningham had seen the finals before.
Bonnacorsi is a state qualifier; Morrison, a state runner-up.
Clint Allala (Hopewell, VA) is a scratch.
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. Courts 2. Cunningham 3. Morrison
Last Year: Tony Dallago, CD md. Roman San Doval, SSA 11-2
2004: Mike Pucillo, Walsh, dec Andrew Haile, Greensburg, 9-3
1-Jamie Callendar. Council Rock North
5-Eric Shaffer, Latrobe
4-Ronnie Mullins, Ripley
3-Mac Bennett, Collins Hill
2-Mike Pollard, Corry
One match Iâ€™m particularly anticipating is the potential semi pitting Callendar, a state and Beast Runner-up versus Shaffer, who is wrestling well coming off an impressive performance that saw him win the title at KOM.
On the bottom side, Bennett, who was 7th in Kansas City is likely to meet Pollard, who went 1-2 at PIAAâ€™s last year as a sophomore.
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. Callendar 2. Pollard 3. Shaffer
Last Year: Zac Bennett, Westmont fall Adam Lazenga, Bethel Park, 2:46
2004: Dan Goetter, Pennridge, dec. Cody Gardner, CBurg, 8-5
1-Nate Gaffney, Connellsville
5-Brook Gosch, Blue Mountain
4-Kyle Wolfe, Central Dauphin
3-Brian Beattie, Burrell
2-CJ Collins, Collins Hill
Gaffney, the reigning POWERade and PIAA big school state champion, will be the favorite here. But this weight carries several talented kids, some of which already have head-to-head results already this year.
A very good quarterfinal between Gosch and Wolfe awaits, for the right to meet Gaffney in the semiâ€™s.
Gosch placed 5th at Ironman dropping a match to Beattie 2-1 in consi semiâ€™s.
Wolfe, who placed 8th at the Beast, lost to Gaffney earlier in that tournament 4-0.
Beattie placed 4th at IM and 4th at last yearâ€™s state tournament.
Collins took 4th in the Midwest Classic. And you know heâ€™s a bad dude; he has a whole Hill named after him.
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. Gaffney 2. Beattie 3. Gosch
Last Year: Karl Green, Mt. St. Joeâ€™s dec. Sam Brownlee, Canon-Mac, 3-1
2004: Ryan Tomei, Penn-Trafford, dec. Myles Cargein, Keystone Oaks 8-7
1-Karl Green, Mount St. Joseph
5- Thomas Delain, Collins Hill
4-Nick Ciesieleski, SSA
us-Luke Fleck, Franklin
3-Adam Lazenga, Bethel Park
2-Ty DeMott, Benton
Another potential match-up of two nationally ranked wrestlers awaits the HWT final.
Karl Green, a multiple time National Prep placer who placed 4th at last weeks Beast, and Demott, who was a KOM finalist, are the favorites to get to the championship bout.
Delain was 3rd in Kansas City.
Lazenga placed 7th at PIAAâ€™s last year.
TOMâ€™s Prediction: 1. DeMott 2. Green 3. Lazenga
By Willie Saylor, Editor