Previews, predictions for each 3-A and 2-A weight class at PIAA wrestling championships
Every wrestler who enters Hershey’s Giant Center on Friday and Saturday will be a PIAA medalist.
The question remains: How high will they be on the medal stand?
The 2021 PIAA Wrestling Championships are different from last year:
There is one fewer weight class (13).
There are eight participants instead of 20.
There are one-day events for each of the two classifications: 2-A is Friday; 3-A is Saturday.
There are limitations regarding fans — six per participant.
Each of the 26 champions will have earned their titles this season with all the challenges COVID-19 and its subsequent restrictions and guidelines have brought on the sport.
Here’s a breakdown and predictions in each weight class in 2-A and 3-A:
106: This will be a fun bracket. Notre Dame-GP’s Ayden Smith gets Hickory freshman Louie Gill (27-5) in the quarterfinals. Gill has two close losses to Saegertown’s Hunter Robison (22-1), who is at his third school in three years. Gill also lost 7-2 to Montoursville’s Brandon Wentzel (27-3), who is in the other half of the bracket. If Smith beats Gill, he could see Robison in the semis. Robison’s lone loss is 3-1 to 3A standout Tyler Chappell of Seneca Valley’s Tyler Chappell. Benton’s Chase Burke (26-6), who beat Smith 3-2 for the super regional title, is in the top half of the bracket with Wentzel.
Predictions: 1. Brandon Wentzel, Montoursville; 2. Hunter Robison, Saegertown; 3. Ayden Smith, Notre Dame-GP; 4. Chase Burke, Benton
113: Wyoming Area’s Jaden Pepe (16-1) was super last weekend, beating former state No. 1 Gavin Bradley of Athens the for East title. Bald Eagle Area’s Coen Bainey (22-1) avenged his only loss of the year by beating Bentworth’s Chris Vargo in the West semis. Notre Dame-GP’s Adam Schweitzer gets Bainey in the quarters. Bradley and Vargo are in the other quarterfinal in the lower half.
Predictions: 1. Gavin Bradley, Athens; 2. Jaden Pepe, Wyoming Area; 3. Coen Bainey, Bald Eagle Area; 4. Chris Vargo, Bentworth
120: If Notre Dame-GP’s Brett Ungar is to get his state title, he’ll have to earn it. He’ll have to beat Reynolds returning state champion Gary Steen in the semis and Bishop McCort stud freshman Mason Gibson, who beat Steen in last week’s West final. Last year’s Ungar-Steen semifinal was fantastic. Their 2021 semifinal figures to be at least as good. Steen has won two of their three meetings. The winner against Gibson in the final will be equally entertaining.
Predictions: 1. Mason Gibson, Bishop McCort; 2. Brett Ungar, Notre Dame-GP; 3. Gary Steen, Reynolds; 4. Owen Reinsel, Brookville.
126: South Park’s Joey Fischer (21-0), who has a win over returning 3A state champion Ethan Berginc of Hempfield, is a two-time state placewinner who will have a heckuva battle in the semis against Benton’s Gable Strickland. Muncy’s Scott Johnson, who beat Strickland in last week’s East final, is in the other half of the bracket.
Predictions: 1. Joey Fischer, South Park; 2. Scott Johnson, Muncy; 3. Gable Strickland, Benton; 4. Chase McLaughlin, Greenville
132: Notre Dame-GP’s Brandan Chletsos could meet two-time state medalist Connor Pierce of Harbor Creek in the semis and Forest Hills unbeaten Jackson Arrington in the final. Arrington pinned three-time state medalist Zack Witmer of St. Joseph’s Academy twice and majored Pierce in last week’s West final.
Predictions: 1. Jackson Arrington, Forest Hills; 2. Brandan Chletsos, Notre Dame-GP; 3. Zack Witmer, St. Joseph’s Academy; 4. Connor Pierce, Harbor Creek
138: Glendale senior Brock McMillen, a two-time state champion, has two wins each over Burrell’s Ian Oswalt, a returning state runner-up, and St. Joseph’s Academy’s Amonn Ohl. Central Catholic’s David Kreidler gets Ohl in the quarters, with the winner facing McMillen. Faith Christian’s Eric Alderfer could see Oswalt in the semis.
Predictions: 1. Brock McMillen, Glendale; 2. Ian Oswalt, Burrell; 3. Amonn Ohl, St. Joseph’s Academy; 4. David Kreidler, Central Catholic
145: Biglerville’s Levi Haines, a two-time state runner-up, should find his way to another final. Reynolds’ Kaeden Berger is the West champ in the other half of the bracket. Berger beat Blackhawk’s Kenny Duschek, a returning third-place finisher before transferring from Freedom Area, in a tie-breaker for last week’s West final.
Predictions: 1. Levi Haines, Biglerville; 2. Kaeden Berger, Reynolds; 3. Kenny Duschek, Blackhawk; 4. Patrick Edmonson, Southern Columbia
152: A wide-open bracket. Laurel sophomore Grant Mackay (27-3) is the West champ. Montgomery’s Devon Deem had a pair of 4-3 wins last week to take the East crown.
Predictions: 1. Grant Mackay, Laurel; 2. Dalton Gimbor, Hamburg; 3. Michael Duggan, Boiling Springs; 4. Devon Deem, Montgomery
160: There are five here who could win it, including Notre Dame-GP’s Holden Garcia. He gets Forest Hills senior Ryan Weyandt in the quarters. Weyandt lost in the semis to West champ A.J. Corrado of Burrell in sudden victory. Corrado, a three-time state medalist, then beat Johnsonburg’s Cole Casilio in an ultimate tie-breaker in the final. Midd-West’s Avery Bassett, Benton’s Nolan Lear and Hamburg’s Bailey Gimbor are also in the mix.
Predictions: 1. Holden Garcia, Notre Dame-GP; 2. A.J. Corrado, Burrell; 3. Avery Bassett, Midd-West; 4. Bailey Gimbor, Hamburg
172: Palisades’ Ben Haubert and Saucon Valley’s Jake Jones will have a brutal time trying to meet each other one once more in a final. Frazier stud freshman Rune Lawrence would be Haubert’s semifinal matchup. Southern Columbia’s Gavin Garcia would be Jones’ semi partner. Garcia pinned Jones last week. Jones gets Penns Valley senior Malachi DuVall in the quarters. Stroudsburg state champion Lenny Pinto has trained with DuVall.
Predictions: 1. Gavin Garcia, Southern Columbia; 2. Rune Lawrence, Frazier; 3. Ben Haubert, Palisades; 4. Malachi DuVall, Penns Valley
189: Saucon Valley’s Ty Csencsits gets Sheffield unbeaten Ethan Finch in the quarters. Finch won last week’s West title with back-to-back decisions in sudden victory. Southern Columbia’s Wesley Barnes, who beat Csencsits 6-2 in last week’s East quarters, also is in that half of the bracket.
Predictions: 1. Cael Crebs, Montoursville; 2. Ethan Finch, Sheffield; 3. Wesley Barnes, Southern Columbia; 4. Trent Schultheis, Freedom Area
215: Mount Pleasant’s Dayton Pitzer, who missed last year because of a knee injury after winning a state title as a freshman, is the man to beat here. Tamaqua’s Nate Wickersham could see him in the semis. Pitzer dealt Montoursville senior Dylan Bennett, a returning state runner-up, his only loss this season — 6-1. Saucon Valley’s Dante Mahaffey could see Bennett in the semis.
Predictions: 1. Dayton Pitzer, Mount Pleasant; 2. Dylan Bennett, Montoursville; 3. Nate Wickersham, Tamaqua; 4. Hayden Linkerhof, Corry
285: Brookville’s Nathan Taylor, whose lone loss is to 3A West super regional champ Isaiah Vance of Hempfield, is the favorite. Bishop McDevitt’s Riley Robell (28-0) is on the other side of the bracket with East runner-up Hogan Swenski of Bermudian Springs.
Predictions: 1. Nathan Taylor, Brookville; 2. Riley Robell, Bishop McDevitt; 3. Marvin Beatty, Marion Center; 4. Hogan Swenski, Bermudian Springs
106: Northampton’s Carson Wagner faces Williamsport’s Carl Nasdeo (19-2) in the quarterfinals. Nasdeo lost twice in the West Super Regional, including 2-1 to Manheim Township standout freshman Kaedyn Williams in the third-place match. A win likely would pit Wagner against Solanco’s Dominic Flatt (20-5) in the semis. Four of Flatt’s five losses are to Williams; the other is to Seneca Valley sophomore Tyler Chappell (34-2), the West champion. Stroudsburg’s Josh Jasionowicz gets Chappell in the other half of the bracket. Chappell, whose losses are at 113 and to a national prep competitor, won his last five matches by a total of nine points.
Predictions: 1. Kaedyn Williams, Manheim Township; 2. Dominic Flatt, Solanco; 3. Tyler Chappell, Seneca Valley; 4. Carson Wagner, Northampton
113: An absolutely loaded bracket for locals Charlie Bunting of Nazareth, Bethlehem Catholic’s Cael McIntyre and Quakertown’s Mason Ziegler. A top-4 finish would be outstanding. Ziegler gets returning state champion Vince Kilkeary (23-2) of Greater Latrobe — who is not the West Super Regional champion. McIntyre gets the West champ, Manheim Township freshman Kamdyn Williams (20-0) in the quarters in the bottom half of the bracket. Bunting gets Erie Cathedral Prep’s Jacob Van Dee (14-1) in the other quarter down there. Van Dee was a state runner-up to Kilkeary last year at 106. How hard was the West Super Region this year? Returning state runner-up Aiden Lewis of Cedar Cliff did not make it out (lost in SV to Van Dee in the blood round). This weight class is one example of how a reduced schedule hurt District 11 kids.
Predictions: 1. Vince Kilkeary, Greater Latrobe; 2. Kamdyn Williams, Manheim Township; 3. Jacob Van Dee, Erie Cathedral Prep; 4. Zach Jacaruso, Delaware Valley
120: It will be interesting to see how opponents approach Bethlehem Catholic’s Dante Frinzi (13-0), who can win a state title from the top position. His length will be a problem for everyone here. Waynesburg Central’s Mac Church (25-2), third last year at 106, is the other half of the bracket. Chambersburg’s Karl Shindledecker (21-1), who was third in the state two years ago, is a possible semifinal matchup for Frinzi.
Predictions: 1. Dante Frinzi, Bethlehem Catholic; 2. Mac Church, Waynesburg Central; 3. Karl Shindledecker, Chambersburg; 4. Mason Leiphart, Dover.
126: Tyler Kasak’s path to a state title will be more challenging than anything he’s faced so far this year. The Bethlehem Catholic sophomore gets Central Dauphin’s Matt Repos in the quarters. Repos was fourth in the state last year. Central Mountain standout freshman Luke Simcox could be next in the semis. Simcox beat returning state champion Ethan Berginc of Hempfield in last week’s West Super Regional. Berginc is in the other half of the bracket along with Franklin Regional’s Carter Dibert, a 2019 state champion who was third last year.
Predictions: 1. Carter Dibert, Franklin Regional; 2. Tyler Kasak, Bethlehem Catholic; 3. Luke Simcox, Central Mountain; 4. Ethan Berginc, Hempfield
132: Matt Mayer has one more chance at a state gold medal. The Bethlehem Catholic senior has a pair fourth-place finishes and nothing to show for last year. His road is not easy, beginning with Bellefonte’s Jude Swisher in the quarters. Swisher, fourth at state last year, avenged both his losses this year — to State College’s Pierson Manville and Waynesburg Central’s Colton Stoneking. Seneca Valley’s Dylan Chappell is likely waiting in the semis. The two-time state runner-up is ranked No. 1 this year. Stoneking is in the other half of the bracket, facing Coatesville unbeaten Nathan Lucier in the quarters. Lucier rallied to beat Mayer in last week’s East final.
Predictions: 1. Dylan Chappell, Seneca Valley; 2. Briar Priest, Hempfield; 3. Matt Mayer, Bethlehem Catholic; 4. Jude Swisher, Bellefonte
138: Another brutal path for a Bethlehem Catholic wrestler. Andrew Harmon gets DuBois senior Chandler Ho (25-5) in the quarters, with a semifinal against Franklin Regional junior Finn Solomon (32-2), who was a state runner-up two years ago and then did not make it out of regionals last year. Solomon avenged his 2021 regional final loss to Waynesburg Central’s Cole Home with a 12-2 major in last week’s West final. Council Rock North’s Kyle Hauserman is in the other half of the bracket with Homet.
Predictions: 1. Finn Solomon, Franklin Regional; 2. Kyle Hauserman, Council Rock North; 3. Cole Homet, Waynesburg Central; 4. Andrew Harmon, Bethlehem Catholic
145: An illegal slam unfortunately cost Waynesburg Central’s Wyatt Henson, a returning state champion, an unbeaten season and the West Super Regional title. That turn of events also cost Northampton’s Dagen Condomitti, who gets Henson in the quarters. The winner gets either West Chester Henderson’s Sam McMonagle, who beat Condomitti 3-1 in the East semis, or Hempfield’s Ty Linsenbigler in the semis. Most of Linsenbigler’s losses were at 152. He has lost twice by a point to Williamsport’s Riley Bower and once by a point to Norwin’s John Altieri, who was slammed last week by Henson. Altieri has a tie-breaker win over Bower in last week’s semis.
Predictions: 1. Wyatt Henson, Waynesburg; 2. John Altieri, Norwin; 3. Connor Eck, Bensalem; 4. Sam McMonagle, West Chester Henderson
152: These semifinals are going to be wars. Bethlehem Catholic’s Evan Gleason, if he can beat returning state fourth-place finisher Jared Keslar of Connellsville in the quarters, should get Waynesburg Central’s Rocco Welsh (24-4) next in the top half. Welsh’s four losses are to two-time state champion Alejandro Herrera-Rondon of Seneca Valley (36-0 this year, 172-14 career), who is in the other half with Erie Cathedral Prep’s Paniro Johnson (15-1), a three-time state medalist. Johnson’s lone loss this year was to Welsh in last week’s West semis.
Predictions: 1. Alejandro Herrera-Rondon; 2. Evan Gleason, Bethlehem Catholic; 3. Rocco Welsh, Waynesburg Central; 4. Paniro Johnson, Erie Cathedral Prep
160: The first weight class where a District 11 wrestler is a clear-cut favorite. Northampton’s Jagger Condomitti is ranked No. 1 in the state. Norwin’s Chase Kranitz (25-6), Bellefonte’s Ethan Richner (21-1) and Pine-Richland’s Cole Spencer (23-1) figure to be in Condomitti’s way.
Predictions: 1. Jagger Condomitti, Northampton; 2. Cole Spencer, Pine-Richland; 3. Ethan Richner, Bellefonte; 4. Chase Kranitz, Norwin
172: A rough path for Easton’s Dom Falcone and Nazareth’s Sonny Sasso, who both have to go through Waynesburg Central’s Luca Augustine (18-1). Sasso gets him in the quarters. Falcone has State College’s Lance Urbas in the quarters before perhaps a meeting with Augustine. Mifflin County’s Trey Kibe, a 2019 state champion, is the pick in the bottom half.
Predictions: 1. Trey Kibe, Mifflin County; 2. Luca Augustine, Waynesburg Central; 3. Dom Falcone, Easton; 4. Sammy Starr, Kiski
189: The path to a gold medal for the East trio of Spring-Ford’s Joey Milano, Nazareth’s Drew Clearie and Easton’s Isaiah Reinert got a little easier when State College’s Carson Manville was bounced from the West Super Regional for flagrant misconduct in the semis. Milano and Clearie could meet again in the semis up top. Reinert could get Bellefonte senior Ethan Rossman (22-2) in the semis down below. Rossman, a two-time state qualifier whose only two losses this year are to Manville by a point.
Predictions: 1. Joey Milano, Spring-Ford; 2. Ethan Rossman, Bellefonte; 3. Drew Clearie, Nazareth; 4. Isaiah Reinert, Easton
215: Five guys could win. Wilson-West Lawn senior Josh Harkless’ lone loss was avenged in the West Super Regional final (3-2) against Cumberland Valley’s Jacob Lucas. Lucas could see Sun Valley’s Ryan Catka (16-0), the East champion, in the semis. Catka has returning state sixth-place finisher Cole Weightman of Belle Vernon in the quarters. Delaware Valley’s Jason Henderson could see Harkless in the semis.
Predictions: 1. Ryan Catka, Sun Valley; 2. Jason Henderson, Delaware Valley; 3. Jacob Lucas, Cumberland Valley; 4. Josh Harkless, Wilson-West Lawn
285: It will be a major upset if Hempfield’s Isaiah Vance (33-1) and Selinsgrove’s Nate Schon (36-1) don’t meet in the finals. Vance won 7-2 in last week’s West final. Schon is a three-time state medalist, including first in 2019 and second last year. Easton’s Matt Cruise gets Schon in the quarters. Nazareth’s Sean Kinney could see Vance in the semis, if he gets past Hampton’s Dawson Dietz (34-5) in the quarters.
Predictions: 1. Nate Schon, Selinsgrove; 2. Isaiah Vance, Hempfield; 3. Sean Kinney, Nazareth; 4. Dawson Dietz, Hampton.