ALTOONA -- It was a full evening of wrestling Friday as the first two championship rounds of competition in the Northwest Class AAA Regional Tournament were completed at the Altoona High School Field House.
The three Sun-Gazette coverage area teams - Central Mountain, Jersey Shore and Williamsport - combined to qualify a total of 23 wrestlers for the championships.
Central Mountain and Jersey Shore led the way with 10 wrestlers each vying for regional honors, while the Millionaires qualified three wrestlers with hopes of attaining regional honors.
Here is a closer look at how each of these teams fared in those two championship rounds:
The Wildcats had a solid first round as they advanced eight of 10 wrestlers into the quartefinals.
First-round winners were Geo Barzona with a fall, Demetri Probst with a forfeit win, Chad Reese with a major decision, Gavin Caprio with a bye, Isaac Porter with a decision, Loc Long and Cameron Porter with falls and Bryce Hanley with a decision.
The only two Wildcats to come up on the short of their final verdicts were Keanan Bottorf and Emery Watson. Bottorf held a 7-1 lead at one point before falling 10-9.
"I think overall we wrestled pretty well and we came out 8-2," said CM head coach Doug Buckwalter about the Wildcats Round of 16. "Obviously Keanan's loss was a tough one to take. He was up pretty good (7-1), wrestling well and he let it get out of his hands a little bit. He is a battler and he'll come back in the next round. I thought the guys who won wrestled very well, taking advantage of the opportunities that were there and I was happy with that."
In quarterfinal results, the Wildcats still have four wrestlers alive for a possible gold medal as Probst, Reese, Caprio and Hanley all advanced to this morning's semifinals.
The Bulldogs ran into some tough customers as well experiencing some hard luck as they finished 4-6 in the opening round.
Advancing to the quarterfinals were Haydn Swartwood with a fall, Colton Killion with a 7-2 decision, Seth Young with a 4-1 decision and Jacob Huling with a fall in 2:32.
Not as fortunate as that quartet were Hunter Zondory, Noah Ulmer, Max Mason, Dominic Loffredo, Nate Lose and Bryce Charles.
"Although we wound up 4-6 in that round, I thought we were in some of the other matches that got away from us," said Shore head coach Shawn Weaver. "Right now we just have to continue to battle and go back out and wrestle hard again. When you lose you just have to find a way to survive and move on. You have to have that type of mindset because at this point, it is win or go home. If you lost in that first round, you have to fight, claw and find a way to win. I think they understand the finality of the situation so they have to out, wrestle hard and if they do that, good things will happen for them."
In the quarters, the Bulldogs went 2-for-4 as Swartwood and Young both won to advance to the semifinals.
Swartwood decked Jared Brown of Shikellamy to complete his 2-0 day, while Young also wound up 2-0 with a 13-6 decision over Mike Johnson of Carrick.
The Millionaires went 1-for-3 in the opening round. Roshaun Cooley advanced with a fall, while Braden Bower fell by fall to Charlie Lennox of McDowell and Richard Lowrie was also the victim of a fall at the hands of Benji Yates of McDowell.
"Cooley went out, pushed the pace and got the first takedown," said WHS head coach Joe Eaton. "He was patient, looked for a good turn and he just continued to pound him until he stuck him. He might have been just a little bit tight because it was the first round.
"Braden wrestled Lennox who is one of the best kids in the bracket," continued Eaton. "We knew he was going to run into a buzz saw there so now we are looking at what he can do to come back and stay alive in the next round. Richie went out and got the first takedown and was in position to win the match at the end of the second period. But then he made some mental errors and maybe started questioning himself a little bit. He is a ninth grader so it was his first time wrestling at this level so maybe the atmosphere got to him a little bit. He (Lowrie) has a bye in his next match so he is going to be wrestling on day two so that is big for him."
In his quarterfinal match, Cooley advanced to the semifinal round by tossing a 6-0 shutout at Keegan Fordyce of McDowell.
In the consolation round, Bower stayed alive with a fall, while Lowrie also lived to wrestle another day with a bye.