The test begins in under two weeks.
Fifty-six of the finest wrestlers from District 3 -- 12 of them from the York-Adams League -- will make their way back to Hershey. This time it will be to compete in the PIAA Class AAA individual wrestling championships at the Giant Center.
Unlike other years, though, this year's challenge will come with added pressure. But it's not because the field of competitors is tougher. Rather, District 3 is sending its top four grapplers in each weight class to the state tournament. It's a change from previous years, when only the district's top three grapplers in each weight class would qualify for states.
The change became official last offseason after PIAA officials moved District 12 from the Southeast Region to the Northeast Region, giving the Northeast Region a total of 62 teams.
Middletown then made the move up to Class AAA to give District 3 (or the South Central Region) 63 teams -- the most teams of the five wrestling regions in the state. As a result, the PIAA took the fourth qualifier spot away from the Southeast Region and awarded it to the South Central Region (District 3). The four other wrestling regions send their top three wrestlers from each weight class to states.
Long story short, 56 grapplers from District 3 are headed to the state tournament in Chocolatetown in two weeks, as opposed to the standard 42 that we've been accustomed to. It's something that probably won't be on the minds of the wrestlers when it comes time to compete. But it's still something worth noting. What would it say if those from District 3 don't perform well, given their increased field of wrestlers?
It certainly wouldn't help the reputation of District 3, which accounted for five state champions in 14 weight classes in 2012 and six state champions in 2011.
Locals: Among the 56 District 3 grapplers going to AAA states this year, 12 of them are from the York-Adams League. That list includes Central York's Dylan Chatterton (106), West York's Kyle Narber (170), Dallastown's Rodney Sunday (126), Wes Hoover (138), Tanner Druck (152) and Cooper Deller (182), Eastern York's Alex Cooley (195), Kennard-Dale's Chance Marsteller (160), South Western's Aram Moffitt (220) and Spring Grove's Derek Carlisle (113), Zack Clingan (120) and Mason Bentzel (145).
Now, those wrestlers and the rest of the field from District 3 will have the added pressure of living up to the increased odds of success.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go here for John Walk's York-Adams League wrestling rankings.