January and early February is considered the dual-meet portion of the high school wrestling season in Pennsylvania.

But that changes for one week over the stretch. The prestigious Escape the Rock Tournament is one of the premier individual events of the season and provides one last preview to the postseason.

The event takes place this Saturday and Sunday at Council Rock South High School. Below is a Fan Guide previewing the tournament.

 

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (Revised)

 

 

RETURNING CHAMPIONS (Last year’s weight in parentheses)

Nico Nardone (106), Delbarton, NJ., So.

Anthony Clark (113), Delbarton, NJ., Jr., 113

Jackson Turley (170), St. Christopher’s, Va., Jr., 182

Jon Birchmeier (285), Broad Run, Sr., 285

 

TOP SEEDS

106: 1. Kyle Waterman, Council Rock South; 2. Eric Roggie, St. Christopher’s (Va.); 3. Kyle Hauserman, Council Rock North; 4. Matt Vulakh, Pope John Paul; 5. Joe Manno, St. Joseph (NJ); 6. Evan Holloway, New Kent (Va.); 7. Cole Skinner, LaSalle (OH); 8. Nasir Wilkinson, St. Paul’s (Md.); 9. Mason Prinkey, Connellsville; 10. Jay Maldanado, Boyertown; 11. Dante Frinzi, Bethlehem Catholic; 12. Sean Logue, Father Judge; 13. Matt Ellis, Legacy Christian (OH); 14. Braxton Appello-Fries, Easton; 15. Briar Priest, Hempfield Area; 16. Ethan Renager, J.W. Robinson (Va.).

113: 1. Nico Nardone, Delbarton (NJ); 2. Dustin Norris, LaSalle (OH); 3. Will Guida, St. Paul’s (Md.); 4. Kyle Burkholder, Hempfield Area; 5. Max Mendez, Council Rock South; 6. Dayton Delviscio, Malvern; 7. Jimmy Baxter, Canon-McMillan; 8. Georgio Mazzeo, Paulsboro (NJ); 9. Luke Kowalski, St. John’s (DC); 10. Kole Biscoe, Southern Columbia; 11. Julien Holley, Grassfield (Va.); 12. Alex Hanley, Northampton; 13. Luke Hart, St. Christopher’s (Va.); 14. Ethan Berginc, Hempfield Area; 15. Sammy Gerard, J.W. Robinson (Va.); 16. Logan Attisano, Legacy Christian (OH).

120: 1. Anthony Clark, Delbarton (NJ); 2. Lucas Byrd, LaSalle (OH); 3. Cam Enriquez, Stroudsburg; 4. Chris Kim, Germantown Academy; 5. Justin Bierdumpfel, St. Joseph’s (NJ); 6. Matt Mayer, Bethlehem Catholic; 7. Eamonn Logue, Father Judge; 8. Riley Starcher, Grassfield (Va.); 9. Jaekus Hines, Kissimmee-Osceola (Fla.); 10. Mackenzie Bell, Kingsway (NJ); 11. Camron Lacure, Legacy Christian (OH); 12. Sam Hanley, Northampton; 13. TJ England, William Tennent; 14. Logan Seliga, Belle Vernon; 15. Josh Pence, J.W. Robinson (Va); 16. Corey Cope, Quakertown.

126: 1. Samuel Alvarez, St. Joseph’s (NJ); 2. Joey Olivieri, Hanover Park (NJ); 3. Patrick Noonan, Stroudsburg; 4. Antoine Allen, LaSalle (OH); 5. Shane Hanson-Ashworth, Council Rock South; 6. Brandon Wittenberg, Battlefield (Va.); 7. Kenny Hayman, Canon-McMillan; 8. Luke Lucerne, Council Rock North; 9. Josiah Robinson, Northside; 10. Gavin Brown, Legacy Christian (OH); 11. Jared Kesler, Connellsville; 12. Liam Logue, Father Judge; 13. Colton Jordan, Neshaminy; 14. Evan Buchanan, Atlee (Va.); 15. Dominick Baker, New Kent (Va.); 16. Cole Grove, Chambersburg.

132: 1. Julian Chlebove, Northampton; 2. Kenny Hermann, Bethlehem Catholic; 3. Dominic Defrancescantonio, Hanover Park (NJ); 4. Andrew Clark, Collingswood (NJ); 5. Patrick Edmondson, Southern Columbia; 6. Casey Wiles, LasSalle (OH); 7. Nick Vafiadis, New Kent (Va.); 8. Finnegan McFadden, Kingsway (NJ); 9. Beau Curtis, Battlefield (Va.); 10. Anthony Collela, William Tennent; 11. Braden Ricchini, Council Rock South; 12. Christian Colman, Germantown Academy; 13. Liam Gordon, J.W. Robinson (Va.); 14. Zach Martin, Neshaminy; 15. Robert Lawlor, Father Judge; 16. St. Joseph’s (NJ).

138: 1. Malyke Hines, Kissimmee-Osceola (Fla.); 2. Matt Lackman, Bethlehem Catholic; 3. Dalton Harkins, Malvern; 4. T.T. Elhajj, Lower Dauphin; 5. Connor Alexander, St. Christopher’s (Va.); 6. Dylan Weaver, Lyndhurst (NJ); 7. Ty Lingenbigler, Hempfield Area; 8. Jake Niffennegger, LaSalle (OH); 9. Craig Manno, St. Joseph’s (NJ); 10. Jacob Perez-Eli, Paulsboro (NJ); 11. Robert Woodcock, Southern Regional (NJ); 12. Cheyney Kinner, Kingsway (NJ); 13. Cole Meredith, Owen J. Roberts; 14. LJ Kahn, Council Rock South; 15. Garrett Schrantz, Kellam (NJ); 16. Andrew Troczynski, Delbarton (NJ.).

145: 1. Ryan Anderson, Bethlehem Catholic; 2. Cam Robinson, Council Rock North; 3. Jagger Condomitti, Northampton; 4. Evan Widing, Pennridge; 5. Gabe Onorato, Paulsboro (NJ): 6. Anthony Petrocelli, Owen J. Roberts; 7. AJ Tamburrino, William Tennent; 8. Caesar Fountain, Father Judge; 9. Tate Nichter, Chambersburg; 10. Darnai Heard, LaSalle (OH); 11. Stefano Sgambellone, St. Joseph’s (NJ); 12. Eric Woloshyn, Council Rock South; 13. Tanner Rohaley, Canon-McMillan; 14. Aiden Rocha, St. John’s (DC); 15. Max Hammond, St. Paul’s (Md); 16. Nathaniel Fly, New Kent (Va.).

152: 1. Ryan Vulakh, Pope John Paul II; 2. Cole Handlovic, Bethlehem Catholic; 3. George Worthy, Paulsboro (NJ); 4. Elan Heard, LaSalle (OH); 5. Dan Mancini, Owen J. Roberts; 6. Nick O’Connell, Southern Regional (NJ); 7. Henry Hague, Malvern; 8. Michael Kistler, Northampton; 9. Justin Phillips, Liberty Christian (Va.); 10. Jackson Erb, Neshaminy; 11. Cole Flanagan, Council Rock South; 12. Sammy Toggas, Evangel Christian; 13. Nick Sansone, Kellam (Va.); 14. Dante Stefanelli, Delbarton (NJ); 15. Casper Hinklie, Connellsville; 16. Gannon Jones, New Kent (Va.).

160: 1. Thayne Lawrence, Frazier; 2. Luka Frinzi, Bethlehem Catholic; 3. Clayton Ulrey, Lower Dauphin; 4. Vincent Andreano, Delbarton (NJ); 5. Nick Feldman, Malvern; 6. Gaven Krazer, Easton; 7. Matt Colajezzi, Council Rock South; 8. Dillon Sheehy, Council Rock North; 9. Matt Kidwell, Father Judge; 10. Channing Connor, Kellam (Va.); 11. Nolin Eaddy, Kissimmee-Osceola (Fla.); 12. T.J. Stewart, St. John’s (DC).

170: 1. Luke Nichter, Chambersburg; 2. Angel Garcia, Mariana Bracetti; 3. Brandon Green, Paulsboro (NJ); 4. A.J. Lonski, Delbarton (NJ); 5. Leonard Pinto, Stroudsburg; 6. Nik Korbich, Council Rock South; 7. Jack Farinaro, St. Joseph’s (NJ); 8. Nick Zarra, Hanover Park (NJ); 9. Seamus Selmi, St. John’s (DC); 10. Isaiah Reinert, Easton; 11. Loudon Hurt, St. Christopher’s (Va.); 12. Kevin McEachin, Fauquier (Va.).

182: 1. Jackson Turley, St. Christopher’s (Va.); 2. Gerrit Nijenhuis, Canon-McMillan; 3. Trey Sizemore, LaSalle (OH); 4. Scott Joll, Belle Vernon; 5. Sam Fisher, Fauquier (Va.); 6. Santino Morina, Paulsboro (NJ); 7. Jack Parr, St. Paul’s (Md); 8. Nick Florschutz, Malvern; 9. Kieran Calvetti, Delbarton (NJ); 10. John Stout, Southern Regional (NJ); 11. Dominic Falcone, Easton; 12. Giani Gilch, Council Rock South.

195: 1. Gaige Garcia, Southern Columbia; 2. Michael Baker, LaSalle (OH); 3. Jacob Miller, Boyertown; 4. Anthony Morina, Paulsboro (NJ); 5. Luke Chakonis, Delbarton (NJ); 6. Joey Kurtz, Bethlehem Catholic; 7. Justin Cramer, Hempfield Area; 8. Logan Green, Pennridge; 9. Jack Files, Pope John Paul II; 10. Harrison Levans, Germantown Academy; 11. Jayden Bortz, Nothampton; 12. Evan Miller, Canon-McMillan.

220: 1. Thomas Mukai, J.W. Robinson (Va.); 2. Wade Wheeler, Amherst (Va.); 3. P.J. Casale, Delbarton (NJ); 4. Flynn Leaf, Paulsboro (NJ); 5. Dillon Ferretti, Hempfield Area; 6. Preston Zachman, Southern Columbia; 7. J.T. Cornelius, Southern Regional (NJ); 8. Mikey Keen, St. John’s (DC); 9. Shawn Horner, Kingsway (NJ); 10. Michael Toranzo, St. Joseph’s (NJ); 11. Avery LeBlanc, Grassfield (Va.); 12. Andrew Balackus, Easton.

285: 1. Jonathon Birchmier, Broad Run (Va.); 2. Isaiah Vance, Hempfield Area; 3. Sammi Khamis, Stroudsburg; 4. Jase Crouse, Bethlehem Catholic; 5. Kyle Wuestner, Lower Dauphin; 6. Cory Border, Parkland; 7. Hunter Werkeiser, Northampton; 8. Austin Mooney, Paulsboro (NJ); 9. Lear Quinton, Southern Columbia; 10. Giomar Ramos, Canon-McMillan; 11. Alex Hazard, J.W. Robinson (Va.); 12. Robert Brown, LaSalle (OH).

 

SLEEPERS (Wrestlers who could make noise)

106: Dante Frinzi, Bethlehem Catholic.

113: Kole Biscoe, Southern Columbia.

120: Eamonn Logue, Father Judge.

126: Colton Jordan, Neshaminy.

132: Zach Martin, Neshaminy.

138: Ty Linsenbigler, Hempfield Area.

145: Tate Nichter, Chambersburg.

152: Dan Mancini, Owen J. Roberts.

160: Matt Colajezzi, Council Rock South.

170: Nik Korbich, Council Rock South.

182: Jack Parr, St. Paul’s (Md).

195: Joey Kurtz, Bethlehem Catholic.

220: Dillon Ferretti, Hempfield Area.

285: Kyle Wuestner, Lower Dauphin.

 

STORYLINES TO FOLLOW

Watch the Golden Hawks: The Bethlehem Catholic administration made news recently, when they let head coach Rick Thompson go after a loss to Liberty and brought renowned head man Jeff Karam back into the fold. Karam was one of the top coaches in the state when he left the game, and he will put his stamp on the team in a hurry. Look for the Golden Hawks to respond with Karam in the room and carry that motivation into this weekend’s Escape the Rock at Council Rock South High School.

Best Weights: We used the word “weights” because this tournament is so loaded that you can’t pick one weight that stands out above all others. The 120-pound class is stacked with nationally ranked wrestlers Anthony Clark, of Delbarton (Va), and Lucas Byrd, of LaSalle (OH), occupying the top seeds. And don’t forget Stroudsburg’s Cameron Enriquez, who is ranked No. 2 in the state by PA Power Wrestling or the seventh seed Eamonn Logue, of Father Judge. The 145-pound and 160-pound brackets are also stacked with highly-ranked wrestlers and give 120 a run for its money.

Lower Dauphin’s Big 3: The Falcons trio of T.T. Elhajj (138), Clayton Ulrey (160), and Kyler Wuestner (285) are heavy hitters who have excelled this season. Now comes the challenge of dealing with a hefty Escape the Rock field that serves as a gauge to where these athletes are heading into the postseason. Elhajj is ranked No. 9 in the state and checks in as the No. 4 seed, with Ulrey, ranked No. 1 in the state, listed as the No. 3 seed. Wuestner is undefeated this year and is ranked fourth, but he is the No. 5 seed in this tournament. This is another chance for these three wrestlers to build momentum moving forward.

Team Chase: Seven of the top 15 teams in PA Power Wrestling’s Class AAA team rankings will be participating in this year’s Escape the Rock. Bethlehem Catholic (2nd), Northampton (5th), Council Rock South (6th), and Hempfield Area (10th) lead the way, with Stroudburg (12th), Canon-McMillan (13th), Owen J. Roberts (14th), and Boyertown (17th) in the field. Don’t forget Southern Columbia, the No. 2 ranked team in Class AA and fifth-place finisher in last year’s tourney. A year ago, the Golden Hawks outlasted LaSalle (OH) by 1.5 points and Delbarton (Va) by 5.5 points to take the crown. Both LaSalle and Delbarton are in the field this year. Look for another close finish in 2019.

The Weather: We hate talking about a storyline off the mat and out of the building, but weather is a concern heading into the weekend and could alter the schedule. Winter Storm Harper is heading into the Northeast and could make travel difficult. Snow is expected with a small system Thursday into Friday before Harper arrives Saturday. The Philadelphia area is expected to see one to three inches Saturday and a wintry mix on Sunday, but other areas of the state could see as much as eight inches to a foot depending on location. Details of the storm are still a little sketchy and could alter times and travel depending on its track.