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District 4 Class AA predictions

February 20, 2014 - Mitch Rupert

106: 1, Brian Friery, Lewisburg; 2, Brian Courtney, Athens; 3, Angelo Barberio, Muncy; 4, Josh Haley, Wyalusing; 5, Alan Diltz, Benton; 6, Collin Klinger, Line Mountain.

Key to the weight: Brian Courtney returned from an appendectomy with a bit of flair last week winning with a technical fall and a major decision over Wyalusing's Josh Haley. The freshman is more than capable of winning this weight, but Friery has the experience of the stage of Williamsport and really is poised for a run deep into the state tournament. Muncy's Angelo Barberio was stellar in his Central Section victory, and a potential semifinal match with Courtney would be a rematch of Courtney's 4-2 win over Barberio in the Bob Rohm Duals.

113: 1, Cameron Newman, Line Mountain; 2, Ethan Calkins, Troy; 3, Eric Hunt, Warrior Run; 4, Kyle Drick, Montgomery; 5, Jordan Gessner, Lewisburg; 6, Brock Horton, Athens.

Key to the weight: Cameron Newman always seems to be at his best on the big stage, but he's a two-time district third-place finisher. But it's hard to ignore a 12-3 win over Troy returning state qualifier Ethan Calkins last month. It's a weight which features three returning state qualifiers with a combined 12 losses between them, so they've been tested. Kyle Drick is 78-16 in his career at Montgomery but has never qualified for the regional tournament, but the senior is wrestling at his best right now, as his last two matches with Hunt have proven.

120: 1, Zack LeBarron, Warrior Run; 2, Tyrus Hamblin, Williamson; 3, Todd Lane, Southern Columbia; 4, Nick Secules, Towanda; 5, Brian Earlston, Line Mountain; 6, Mike Stuart, Benton.

Key to the weight: Southern Columbia freshman Todd Lane in the X-factor in this weight class. He's the No. 2 seed in the tournament but is one of the top freshmen in District 4 this year. In a weight with two state qualifiers (LeBarron, Hamblin), Lane will play a big part. Line Mountain's Brian Earlston is an exciting, energetic wrestler, and Milton's Logan Bennett has won 13 of his last 18 bouts after starting 2-8.

126: 1, Lewis Williams, Central Columbia; 2, Shawn Nitcznski, Sullivan County; 3, Brian LeBarron, Warrior Run; 4, Dante Taylor, Lewisburg; 5, Andy Aguilar, Muncy; 6, Noah Kuba, Mifflinburg.

Key to the weight: Lewis Williams' victory in the Central Sectional was impressive in a loaded weight class. Now the Central Columbia junior is the top seed in a weight class which is only getting tougher. He's likely going to get either a rematch with LeBarron or a match with former regional qualifier Noah Kuba. Add in Sullivan County's Shawn Nitcznski, Williamson's Herman Briggs (23-4) and Muncy's Andy Aguilar (26-6) and nobody is going to have an easy road to the finals. The consolation matches will be just as good as the championship bracket matches.

132: 1, Keith Batkowski, Montoursville; 2, Zach Fry, Hughesville; 3, Collin Edsell, Wyalusing; 4, Tanner Ebright, Midd-West; 5, Terrick Vargason, Towanda; 6, Steve Shannon, Central Columbia.

Key to the weight: It's hard to bet against Batkowski with the way he's wrestling now. He controlled his sectional final against state qualifier Fry last week. Collin Edsell is a deserving top seed as a returning state qualifier whose only losses are to a AAA state qualifier and to Fry. Midd-West's Tanner Ebright is the wrestlers that has to be watched. He's quietly gone 26-5, including a sectional title last week. Towanda's Terrick Vargason showed that he's back to almost full strength with a strong performance last week at sectionals, and there's no reason he can't be a finalist.

138: 1, Kent Lane, Southern Columbia; 2, Nathan Jones, South Williamsport; 3, Trevor McWhorter, Williamson; 4, Charlie Andrews, North Penn; 5, Nolan Ott, Montoursville; 6, Cody Klinger, Bloomsburg.

Key to the weight: South Williamsport's Nathan Jones is one of two undefeated wrestlers in the weight class along with Williamson's Trevor McWhorter, and both are on the same side of the bracket. A matchup between the two in the semifinals would likely be the best matchup of the season for both wrestlers. Kent Lane rolled through the South Sectional tournament a week ago coming off an injury, but he'll be tested more this week. Lane may be the most talented wrestler in the bracket, but he'll be pushed with a few six-minute matches.

145: 1, Billy Barnes, Williamson; 2, Dakota Nixon, Muncy; 3, Zack Bennett, Milton; 4, Tristan Decker, Towanda; 5, Sam Miller, Bloomsburg; 6, Devin Remley, North Penn.

Key to the weight: Billy Barnes, a junior, enters the tournament with 99 career wins and should hit the 100 mark Friday night. Barnes is head and shoulders better than the rest of the field, but the rest of the field is very evenly matched. Muncy's Dakota Nixon is a threat and showed off last week how tough he could be down a weight class from the rest of the season. Towanda's Tristan Decker and Milton's Zack Bennett have flown under the radar for much of the year, but both have the abilities to be state qualifiers.

152: 1, Cole Walter, Mifflinburg; 2, Blake Marks, Southern Columbia; 3, Dominic Vitale, Benton; 4, Austin Saxer, Northeast Bradford; 5, Thomas Goetz, Montgomery; 6, Kirah Thompson, Williamson.

Key to the weight: Blake Marks had a lead on Cole Walter in last week's South Sectional final before he got caught in a cradle and pinned. Tough to see a scenario where a rematch ends in a fall again. But don't assume Marks and Walter will have a finals rematch. Benton's Dominic Vitale is no slouch. He lost to Marks 8-2 in their dual-meet this year, but is probably best suited to throw a wrench into the rematch. The moving of Marks in the bracket to separate he and Walter puts Austin Saxer in a spot for a bye, and Saxer has a great shot of qualifying for regionals.

160: 1, Ryan Preisch, Milton; 2, Jeric Kasunic, Benton; 3, Nick Stephani, Troy; 4, Dayton Wickwire, Towanda; 5, Max Reed, Lewisburg; 6, Elias George, Warrior Run.

Key to the weight: Jeric Kasunic is very sound technically and Troy's Nick Stephani is a bull who is wrestling up a weight class from where he was most of the season, but had his weight just under 160 prior to sectionals. Five wrestlers in this weight class are ranked in the state, including Milton's Ryan Preisch who is second and Kasunic who is third. Lewisburg's Max Reed might be one of the most athletic wrestlers in the field. Towanda's Dayton Wickwire can't be taken lightly, even as the North Section runner-up. Preisch is the favorite, but it'll be a fight for a top-5 spot.

170: 1, Garrett Hoffman, Montoursville; 2, Brandon Conrad, Bloomsburg; 3, Alex Lieberman, Midd-West; 4, Robert White, Hughesville; 5, Logan Aikey, Lewisburg; 6, Justin Griffith, Wyalusing.

Key to the weight: This may be one of the most balanced weights in the entire tournament that could come out differently every time it's wrestled. It's tough to bet against Hoffman who was impressive last week with wins over Robert White and Brandon Conrad by a combined 14-2. Conrad may be the biggest threat for Hoffman as a similar kind of wrestler. And Lewisburg's Logan Aikey can't be overlooked because of his pure strength. Danville's David Burke still has just two losses this season and can't be counted out.

182: 1, Isaiah Bobotas, Montgomery; 2, Brad Miccio, Benton; 3, Matt Herr, Hughesville; 4, Lucas Shaheen, Montoursville; 5, Gage Heller, Milton; 6, Dalton Claupein, Towanda.

Key to the weight: Isaiah Bobotas rightly gave me an “I told you so” following his win in the Central Sectional last week. The senior returning state qualifier put on a brilliant performance with wins over Lucas Shaheen and Matt Herr. Bobotas is as talented as anybody in the weight class, and at his best is capable of beating anybody. Benton's Brad Miccio is a wrestler to watch. He's much stronger than in years past and he nearly pulled an upset over Herr in the semifinals at sectionals. Gage Heller has lost just once since the new year and is a deserving second seed.

195: 1, Garrett Wesneski, Canton; 2, Logan Womelsdorf, Benton; 3, Brandon Stokes, Milton; 4, Dakotah Manning, Towanda; 5, Tyler Betz, Montgomery; 6, J.J. Schriner, Montoursville.

Key to the weight: Milton's Brandon Stokes has shown to be quite ready for competition since returning from a broken collarbone, as his South Section title will attest. The sophomore faces a tough road to the finals which will likely include 25-win Tyler Betz and returning state qualifier Logan Womelsdorf. Canton's Garrett Wesneski is the overwhelming favorite as a returning state eighth-place finisher whose only loss is an overtime decision to Wyalusing's Dylan Otis. But the combination of Stokes, Womelsdorf and Towanda's Dakotah Manning could push Wesneski.

220: 1, Dylan Otis, Wyalusing; 2, Ben Cerney, Montoursville; 3, Connor Route, Canton; 4, Ethan Barnes, Hughesville; 5, Zach Longacre, Midd-West; 6, Jeremy Sheets, Towanda.

Key to the weight: Returning state qualifier Dylan Otis has had a brilliant season and is likely the favorite to win the tournament. Otis has just one loss since the turn of the new year, and only four of his wins have been by decision. But he'll get a fight from Canton's Connor Route who is used to wrestling up a weight class at 220 and has a history with Otis. Montoursville sophomore Ben Cerney has had a great year, posting 33 wins. Hughesville's Ethan Barnes lost to Otis, 7-3, and 5-0 in two matches at the District 4 Duals, but has proven he's capable of hanging with anyone.

285: 1, Dalton Chilson, Wyalusing; 2, Garrett Pratt, Towanda; 3, Connor Bassett, Montoursville; 4, Dylan Brennan, Troy; 5, Jordan Troup, Bloomsburg; 6, Matt Kilgus, Warrior Run.

Key to the weight: Towanda's Garrett Pratt may have been the biggest surprise winner of any sectional champion last weekend, but it shouldn't have been that much of a surprise. The senior has been a stalwart for the Black Knights this year and continues to pull off big win after big win. Wyalusing's Dalton Chilson is probably the most talented wrestler in a wide-open bracket, but his loss to Pratt last week opens things up even more. Montoursville's Connor Bassett, even at just over 200 pounds, understands how to wrestle with any type of heavyweight and is a tough out.


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