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Northeast Regional Class AA predictions
February 28, 2013 - Mitch Rupert
106: 1, Cameron Newman, Line Mountain; 2, Angelo Barberio, Muncy; 3, Zack LeBarron, Warrior Run; 4, Corey Stauffer, Midd-West.
Notable: Line Mountain's Cameron Newman is the biggest unknown in this weight class. He struggled with his weight last week and just didn't seem to be wrestling like the state qualifier he is when he lost to Lewisburg's Brian Friery. A first-round match between Corey Stauffer and Zack LeBarron is regional-final worthy with the loser fighting an uphill battle to take second.
113: 1, Eric Hunt, Warrior Run; 2, A.J. Luton, GAR; 3, Taylor Johnson, Central Columbia; 4, John Tomasura, Lake-Lehman.
Notable: The biggest thing to come out of the District 4 tournament last week was the confidence Eric Hunt gained as a gold medalist. GAR's A.J. Luton cannot be overlooked. He wrestling Wyalusing's Collin Edsell to a 3-1 loss earlier this year and a potential semifinal matchup with Central Columbia's Taylor Johnson should be an absolute dandy. Lake-Lehman's John Tomasura is a darkhorse third-place finisher.
120: 1, Matt Welliver, Benton; 2, Zach Fry, Hughesville; 3, Lewis Williams, Central Columbia; 4, Collin Edsell, Wyalusing.
Notable: The truth is Matt Welliver is a step above everyone else in this bracket as a returning state fourth-place finisher. Central Columbia's Lewis Williams fought off his back early in his first match last week to work his way into the finals. He wrestled two dandy matches with Hughesville's Zach Fry this year, and should get him for a third time in the semifinals. Collin Edsell of Wyalusing is a freshman who's capable of sneaking into the top three.
126: 1, Kent Lane, Southern Columbia; 2, Logan Everett, Williamson; 3, Andrew Schutz, Wyoming Area; 4, Keith Batkowski, Montoursville.
Notable: Southern Columbia's Kent Lane made a big statement with a dominant win over Williamson's Logan Everett a week ago in the finals. He and Everett are likely top-4 finishers at states, and Wyoming Area's Andy Schutz is a returning state qualifier. This is a weight with five legitimate state medal-winning caliber wrestlers. Montoursville freshman Keith Batkowski had a huge tournament a week ago beating South Williamsport's Andrew Gipe and finishing third. He'll have to come up with at least one upset to move into the top 3. Gipe is a four-time regional qualifier who has never been to Hershey and is a threat to upset one of the three returning state qualifiers/placewinners in this field.
132: 1, Cole Walter, Mifflinburg; 2, Austin Harry, Lake-Lehman; 3, Trevor McWhorter, Williamson; 4, Zach Edwards, Blue Ridge.
Notable: Lake-Lehman's Austin Harry would likely be District 2's best chance for a regional champion except for Mifflinburg's Cole Walter being the top seed in this bracket. Walter is a returning state bronze medalist, but Harry is also 34-0 this year. Blue Ridge's Zach Edwards is a three-time regional qualifier and Williamson's Trevor McWhorter is coming off the best district tournament of his career. Walter and Harry are a step above the field, but the fith for third should be exciting.
138: 1, Zain Retherford, Benton; 2, Seth Lansberry, Line Mountain; 3, Demetri Probst, Bucktail; 4, Nick Heck, Wyoming Area.
Notable: Line Mountain's Seth Lansberry wrestled a beautiful match against Benton's Zain Retherford last week, but made two mistakes that cost him four points. He has the ability to wrestle evenly with Retherford on his feet, but can't make those small mistakes and give the junior world champion any kind of opening. Bucktail's Demetri Probst could become the Bucks' first-ever state qualifier with a repeat of his third-place finish a week ago.
145: 1, Colt Cotten, Benton; 2, Billy Barnes, Williamson; 3, Zach Heeter, Midd-West; 4, Aaron Johnson, Central Columbia.
Notable: Billy Barnes wrestled tentatively in his finals matchup with Colt Cotten a week ago, but still showed he's more than capable of competing with the three-time state placewinner. But Barnes' spot in the final this week is far from a given if he has to wrestle Midd-West's Zach Heeter in the semifinals. Heeter is as tough as they come and shouldn't be a surprise if he ends up in the finals. Keep and ever on Central Columbia's Aaron Johnson and Montoursville's Garrett Hoffman, two wrestlers worthy of being in Hershey but stuck in a loaded weight class.
152: 1, Ryan Preisch, Milton; 2, Blake Marks, Southern Columbia; 3, Kyle Barnes, Hughesville; 4, Beau Fuller, Western Wayne.
Notable: Anybody else surprised by Blake Marks' fall over Kyle Barnes last week? Shouldn't be. Marks' only losses this year are to Ryan Preisch, Zain Retherford and Colt Cotten. Reaching the final last week put Marks in a good spot to reach the finals again this week as Barnes and Preisch will likely meet in the semifinals. That's a state finals-caliber match nobody should miss. Keep and eye on Troy's Nick Stephani as someone who can make a run at a top three finish.
160: 1, Ty Walter, Mifflinburg; 2, Jeric Kasunic, Benton; 3, Isaiah Bobotas, Montgomery; 4, T.J. Cistrunk, Meyers.
Notable: Ty Walter's finals win over Jeric Kasunic was impressive last week, showing how focused the Mifflinburg senior is on returning to the state podium. He'll likely get another shot at Kasunic this week. Montgomery's Isaiah Bobotas is clearly the third-best wrestler in this weight class and is a favorite to make his first trip to Hershey. Sayre's Kyle Post is a candidate to pull a big first-round upset over District 2 champion T.J. Cistrunk.
170: 1, Alex Lieberman, Midd-West; 2, Ben Minnich, North Penn; 3, Brandon Lontz, Benton; 4, Derek Dragon, Lake-Lehman.
Notable: I had devised a plan to allow my cats to pick how this bracket went because they'd have more luck than I could with as even as this weight class is. Any one of the five wrestlers from District 4 are a threat to win, including last week's fifth-place finisher Brandon Lontz. Alex Lieberman opened some eyes with his District 4 title last week and is the favorite to win again. Lake-Lehman sophomore Derek Dragon is absolutely a threat as the bracket's top seed, if he can get past Lontz.
182: 1, Troy Hembury, Muncy; 2, Garrett Moser, Warrior Run; 3, Garrett Wesneski, Canton; 4, Brady Butler, Lake-Lehman.
Notable: Take a moment this weekend to appreciate what you're watching when Troy Hembury takes the mat. He's a three-time District 4 champion, ranked second in the state working on becoming a three-time state placewinner who won his 160th career match last week. He's heads and shoulders above the rest of the 182-pound field, but a semifinal match against Canton's Garrett Wesneski might be the best push he has until he gets to Hershey.
195: 1, Ryan Solomon, Milton; 2, Conner Rosensweet, Western Wayne; 3, Skylar Ebner, Muncy; 4, Chad Daugherty, Wellsboro.
Notable: Ryan Solomon talked last week about cherishing every chance he gets to wrestle at Williamsport, fans should do the same thing this weekend. Solomon is ranked No. 1 in the country by The Open Mat and Amateur Wrestling News for good reason. Western Wayne's Conner Rosensweet is a force here and is one of District 2's top threats to get to Hershey. Keep an eye on 100-match winner Skylar Ebner and his left-handed headlock as he looks for his first trip to Hershey.
220: 1, Brandon Smith, Lewisburg; 2, Dylan Otis, Wyalusing; 3, Eric McCracken, Central Columbia; 4, Zac Faust, GAR.
Notable: Brandon Smith is looking for his first regional title and proved more than capable of winning it after taking his first District 4 title a week ago. The real question is if anyone in the state is capable of beating Smith before he runs into Saucon Valley's Ray O'Donnell in Hershey next week. Shamokin's Zach Biddiscombe put together a brilliant tournament last week at districts and Western Wayne's Austin Swoyer has 35 wins.
285: 1, Nazar Mironenko, Mifflinburg; 2, Alex Shiber, Central Columbia; 3, Jake Becker, Southern Columbia; 4, Nate Kriner, North Penn.
Notable: Nazar Mironenko showed he's more than healthy after a shoulder injury he suffered late in the regular season against Lewisburg's Brandon Smith. He cruised through the District 4 tournament. Central Columbia's Alex Shiber has put together a brilliant season at 37-2, but North Penn's Nate Kriner was a district runner-up last year and Southern Columbia's Jake Becker was third last week. It's a deep field especially when you add in the likes of Lake-Lehman's Dustin Jones and Montrose's John Shaffer.
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