HERSHEY >> For Souderton’s Tyler Williams and North Penn’s Owen Verespy, the opening day of action at the PIAA Class AAA Wrestling Championships offered a chance for redemption, as neither left their first trip to states with as much as a win. But both remain in medal contention this year, along with seven other area grapplers.
Williams (132 pounds) racked up four takedowns and a set of nearfall with a tilt to cruise to an 11-3 major decision victory over Seth Andrus of Central Mountain to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round.
“I was 0-2 when I made it as a freshman, and was really hoping to get back last year, but got injured,” said Williams. “So it felt great to come out here and get on a roll quickly. Just have to keep it going.”
Verespy (220) was up 6-0 over Milton Hershey’s Dylan Byrd in their preliminary round match, when all of a sudden, he had Byrd on his back. Verespy took advantage and got the pin call at 3:14 for his 100th career victory.
“There are no easy matches here,” said Verespy. “So when I saw I could stick him, my eyes kind of lit up. After losing both matches last year here, it feels good to know I’m still wrestling tomorrow.”
Verespy dropped his next match to Sun Valley’s Hunter Catka, but the win over Byrd keeps him in medal contention tomorrow.
Methcton’s Kibwe McNair (132) was scoreless late in his preliminary round match against Dallstown’s Dalton Daughety when he broke free for an escape, then came out of a scamble with a cradle hookeup up to cinch a victory and a chance to wrestle Friday. McNair lost his second match, and will be in consolations.
William Tennent’s Yusuf Aladinov (195) won his prelim over Tyler Neglia 7-3 to secure a spot in Friday’s action, but fell to consolations following a heartbreaking 8-7 loss in the final seconds of his first round match-against Connelsville’s Nate Ansell.
Josh Stllings began his march towards a return to the state finals with an emphatic statement, storming out to an early lead before decking Hampton’s Justin Hart in 2:55 in the 182 first round.
Both of the Vulakh brothers will be moving on for Pope John Paul II, with Matt Vulakh (106) staying alive with a consolation round win over Henderson’s Matt McGonnigle, 7-0, and Ryan Vulakh a 4-0 winner over Garrett Rigg of Bald Eagle Area at 145.
In Class AA action, it was a solid first day for Bishop McDevitt, with both of its wrestlers advancing.
“We’re excited to see both of our guys still alive and wrestling on Friday,” said McDevitt coach Chris Whelan. “Both have a win under their belt and momentum on their side. They are wrestling with confidence and just have to keep wrestling hard.”
Tyrone Fowler, wrestling at 182, won his first match of the day with a third period pin over Austin Crouse of Chestnut Ridge. Still scoreless in the third, Fowler locked up a crossface cradle to get the fall at 4:26. A loss by fall to Gaige Garica from Southern Columbia in the next round drops Fowler into the consolation rounds, but he remains in medal contention.
Southeastern Regional runner-up Nassir Pettus (220) shook off a 3-1, first-round loss to Huntingdon Area’s Landon Fisher, rebounding to deck Southmoreland’s Ryan Mauro with a crossface cradle to keep his medal hopes alive.
Faith Christian’s Jonathan Vizcarrondo, competing at 182-pounds, was 0-2 on the day, and was eliminated from competition.
Pennridge’s Evan Widing (145) with an 11-0 consolation win over Methacton’s Roman Moser
North Penn’s Patrick O’Neill (160) with a 2-1 consolation win over Henderson’s Ray Martin
Bruno Stolfi (Soud) (195) with a 3-1 consi win over Downingtown East’s Josh Wileczek
Hatboro-Horsham’s Nick Chapman pinned Skylar McLeod, Pottsgrove, 1:18 in consolations
LaSalle’s Garrett Zobel (285) moves to quarterfinals with a 9-1 win over Meadville’s Nick Morelli
North Penn’s Ryan Cody (285) lost first round but got a bye in consolations.
Roman Moser (Meth 145)
Michael Blakemore (Meth 160)
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