Friday night at 8 P.M. inside the GIANT Center in Hershey, PA the 2019 PIAA State Dual Team Semifinals will take place in both Class 2A and 3A.
I heard a comment earlier this week that we could save everyone a lot of time and money by just skipping ahead to a #1 Reynolds vs. #2 Southern Columbia dual for the PIAA Team Wrestling Championship in 2A.
While it’s not quite that bad, the top-ranked Raiders and #2 Tigers have been every bit as good as advertised through the first two rounds in Hershey.
Reynolds has outscored Notre Dame-Green Pond and Westmont Hilltop 101-27 in its two duals.
On Friday afternoon, against a pretty well-balanced lineup from Westmont Hilltop, the Raiders didn’t allow a single point in eight of the 14 matches, and they didn’t trail in a bout until halfway through the dual.
Southern Columbia has outscored Conneaut Area and Brookville 113-27 in advancing to the semifinals.
The Tigers have gotten bonus points in 17 of the 28 scheduled bouts in those two duals, including 13 that brought six points (12 pins and a forfeit).
So, sure Reynolds and Southern Columbia have been head and shoulders above everyone they’ve faced so far in Hershey. But there’s a chance that they could be pushed in the semifinals.
I asked Chestnut Ridge coach Greg Lazor, whose #6 Lions have looked pretty formidable themselves in crushing #23 Freedom Area and #13 Hamburg, how difficult the task will be against Southern Columbia tonight.
“They’re loaded,” Lazor said. “It’s hard. They only have a couple guys here and there that we might even be favored in, but if there’s one team dumb enough to go and knock them off, it’s us.”
#3 Saucon Valley has the talent to push Reynolds, but the Panthers will need to spring some upsets.
How about at the lightest weight? Returning state champion Gary Steen will be favored, for sure, but freshman Chris Arciuolo, who is ranked ninth, has been excellent. If he could pull the upset, it would put Saucon Valley in a much better position.
In 3A there is a similar situation occurring as #1 Bethlehem Catholic has outscored their opponents (109-20). The Golden Hawks are soaring but so are the #2 Kiski Area Cavaliers who took out #6 Cathedral Prep in the quarterfinals (39-30) after forfeiting the final four bouts of the dual. Let’s not forget that #4 Liberty and #5 Nazareth are sitting at home.
Like the Reynolds and Saucon Valley meeting I think the Bethlehem Catholic vs. Council Rock South match will be a fight at most weights with some competitive bouts throughout.
Here are the potential meetings between ranked opponents that could go down tonight:
#2 Southern Columbia vs. #6 Chestnut Ridge
132 pounds: #17 Patrick Edmondson (Southern Columbia) vs. #20 Trevor Weyandt (Chestnut Ridge)
182 pounds: #13 Austin Crouse (Chestnut Ridge) vs. #24 Tyler Waltman (Southern Columbia)
195 pounds: #9 Preston Zachman (Southern Columbia) vs. #12 Duane Knisely (Chestnut Ridge)
#1 Reynolds vs. #3 Saucon Valley
106 pounds: vs. #1 Gary Steen (Reynolds) vs. #9 Chris Arciuolo (Saucon Valley)
132 pounds: #1 Josh Jones (Saucon Valley) vs. #10 Kaeden Berger (Reynolds)
160 pounds: #3 Matt Arciuolo (Saucon Valley) vs. #19 Hunter Thompson (Reynolds)
285 pounds: #9 Nick Warnke (Saucon Valley) vs. #17 Derek Skeehan (Reynolds)
#1 Bethlehem Catholic vs. #7 Council Rock South
106 pounds: #4 Kyle Waterman (Council Rock South) vs. #7 Dante Frinzi (Bethlehem Catholic)
113 pounds: #5 Matt Mayer (Bethlehem Catholic) vs. #6 Maximino Mendez (Council Rock South)
145 #1 Ryan Anderson (Bethlehem Catholic) vs. #11 Eric Woloshyn (Council Rock South)
152 pounds: #2 Cole Handlovic (Bethlehem Catholic) vs. #18 Cole Flanagan (Council Rock South)
160 pounds: #1 Luca Frinzi (Bethlehem Catholic) vs. #19 Matt Colajezzi (Council Rock South)
170 pounds: #17 Jaden Youwakim (Bethlehem Catholic) vs. #19 Nik Korbich (Council Rock South)
#2 Kiski Area vs. #3 Northampton
145 pounds: #5 Jagger Condomitti (Northampton) vs. #21 Enzo Morlacci (Kiski Area)
152 pounds: #3 Cam Connor (Kiski Area) vs. #9 Michael Kistler (Northampton)
285 pounds: #11 Hunter Werkheiser (Northampton) vs. #24 Stone Joseph (Kiski Area)