Fans’ Guide To Thomas Chevrolet Tournament

Location: Bedford High School, Bedford

Teams competing (with top dual meet teams first): No. 4 Burrell, No. 6 Chestnut Ridge, No. 7 Greenville, No. 17 Freedom Area, No. 21 North Star, No. 24 Newport, Athens, Bedford, Berlin Brothersvalley, Beth-Center, Cambria Heights, Central, Central Cambria, Claysburg, Conemaugh Township, Everett, Jefferson-Morgan, North Schuylkill, Northern Bedford, Northern Garrett (Md.), Meyersdale, Mount Pleasant, Penn Cambria, Somerset, Tri-Valley and Tussey Mountain.


Friday: 10 a.m. – Pigtails

noon (approx.) – first round/1st round consolations

2:30 p.m. (approx.) – 2nd round consolations

4 p.m. – 30-minute break

4:30 p.m. (approx.) – 3rd round consolations

5:30 p.m. (firm) – Quarterfinals

8:30 p.m. – Projected finish

Saturday: 9 a.m. – 4th round consolations

10:30 a.m. (approx.) – Semifinals/Consolation quarterfinals

12:45 p.m. (approx.) – Consolation semifinals/7th-place matches

2:30 p.m. (approx.) – Session break (gymnasium cleared for 1 hour)

4 p.m. – Consolation finals, 5th-place matches

5:30 p.m. (approx.) – Finals

8:30 p.m. – Projected finish

Live stream:

Admission: Friday $10 all day; $5 after 5 p.m.; $3 for students.

Saturday: $15 for all day; or $5 morning and $10 finals; Students $6 all day or $3 individual sessions

The field

This is always offers a good preview of the Southwest Regional Class AA tournament as many of the top teams and individuals cram themselves into the Bedford High School gymnasium for two days. There is no transcendent talent like Gavin Teasdale last year or must-watch final like the 132-pound bout two years ago featuring Max Murin and Brian Courtney. What the field does have is some deep weight classes, especially in the upper weights.


Returning champions (with last year’s weight): Kai Burkett, Chestnut Ridge (106); Ian Oswalt, Burrell (113); Kenny Duschek, Freedom (120); Tristan Pugh, Berlin Brothersvalley (138), Jared McGill, Chestnut Ridge (170), Dominic Fundy, Beth-Center (182); Jacob McMaster, Greenville (220).

Weight to watch: Heavyweight. There are a number of contenders here, but the big boys just edge out their contemporaries at 220 and 182, which each feature six ranked wrestlers. The 285-pound class includes three guys who could end up on the podium in Hershey, with No. 2 Jalen Stephens of Meyersdale, No. 5 Kole Winfield of Southern Huntingdon – which was a late edition to the tournament – and No. 6 Max Wills of Greenville. Throw in No. 19 Ryan Weitz of North Schuylkill and No. 20 Dalton Seace of Chestnut Ridge, and this weight has high-end talent and depth.

Highlight match: The 132-pound final could be a rematch of the Panther Holiday Classic championship from December. No. 3 Garret Cornell beat No. 7 Kaden Cassidy 4-2 in that one. Don’t be surprised if Cassidy finds a way to avenge that loss in his home gym. No matter who wins, we could be seeing this a few more times, as the teams are scheduled to wrestle in a dual meet and they’ll likely meet in the District 5 finals next month.

Not again: When I talked to No. 3 Derek Brown of Penn Cambria after his 17-6 loss to No. 1 Jared McGill of Chestnut Ridge earlier this month, I pointed out that they could see each other again at the Thomas Tournament and the Southwest Regional – although McGuffey’s Christian Clutter likely will have something to say about that. We’ll miss out on at least one of those however, as Brown moved up to 182 for just the third time this season – one of which was for the dual with McGill. Winning a title at 182 is no guarantee either though, not with freshman phenom Dayton Pitzer there. The Mount Pleasant wrestler is 22-1 this season with 19 falls.

Darkhorse: Damien George, Mount Pleasant. The eighth seed could make some noise in a wide-open 126-pound bracket. Greenville’s Bryce Knauf is the top seed after dropping from 132 pounds, and Chestnut Ridge’s Gryphon Callihan is the second seed. George, who has posted 25-plus wins in each of his first two seasons, has the ability to knock of some of the top guys here.

MIA: Freedom Area will be missing two of its top wrestlers. 126-pounder Z.J. Ward wrestled for the first time in a month on Wednesday in a dual meet against Laurel. Coach Jim Covert said he’s healthy but not quite ready for the grind that the Thomas tournament brings. 182-pounder Bryson Miller, who missed two weeks before getting back in the lineup against Laurel, is in a similar situation.

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