The weather report is dicey and arguably the best wrestler in the district has already scratched.
So why will a frenzied pack of wild fans cram into Souderton Area High School this weekend?
If you need to ask, then you just don’t get it.
Souderton will be the site for the PIAA Class AAA Southeast Regional Wrestling Tournament, to be contested Friday (5:30) and Saturday (9:30 start, 6 p.m. finals), and anyone who can distinguish an arm bar from a cradle will try and get a seat for at least a portion of the two-day event.
The threat of snow and the absence of Boyertown’s 220-pound standout Jordan Wood, who will miss the tournament due to a rib injury, has thrown a pall over the proceedings, but should only keep a handful of folks away.
The out and out favorite for the team title has to be Boyertown, fresh off a second-place finish at the PIAA Class Team Dual-Meet Tournament. But with Wood a no-go, the Bears will be missing a healthy handful of those team points that Wood’s presence all but guaranteed.
Does that open the door for Council Rock South or Owen J. Roberts or even Pennridge to make a run at the team trophy?
That remains to be seen.
But in the meantime, the biggest attraction over the weekend, as always, will be to witness the 56 District One wrestlers (four in each of the 14 weight classes) that will qualify for next weekend’s PIAA Championships in Hershey.
Nothing is neater than to see four smiling faces chomping on Hershey chocolate bars on the awards stand.
There are a few locks this weekend, to be sure. But if the regional tournaments of the past have demonstrated anything, it’s that very little is certain when it comes to earning one of the coveted state spots.
As for how we see it unfolding:
106: Let’s start with a mild surprise. OJR’s Luke Resnick topples Downingtown West’s Doug Zapf in the semis and goes on to outlast Souderton freshman Tyler Williams in a relatively calm final.
Predicted Finish: Resnick-Williams-Zapf-Hoopes.
113: The Matt Parker-Jakob Campbell final should be a corker, while CR North’s Aidan Burke slips past Downingtown East’s James Strommer in a wild consie final.
Predicted Finish: Campbell-Parker-Burke-Strommer.
120: Speaking of wide open, just about anything could happen here, considering two of the four favorites are freshmen.
Predicted Finish: Sheffield- Fuss-Mitch-Bach.
126: Can’t wait for this final in what is easily one of the tourney’s best weight classes. What’s going to be more entertaining, the final or the consie final? That’s how deep this weight class is.
Predicted Finish: Cummings-Rush-Miller-Palmer.
132: There’s no one in the region that’s going to defeat CR South’s Zack Trampe. The fun is in the chase for the other three spots.
Predicted Finish: Trampe-Mauger-Resnick-Vulakh.
138: Another crackerjack final on tap here, with the unbeaten Colin Cronin dueling CR South’s Riley Palmer. The battle for the No. 3 and 4 spots should be a hoot to watch, too.
Predicted Finish: Cronin-Palmer-Devlin-Cooley.
145: Love these weight classes that don’t have a true favorite. How about a wild finish just to shake things up?
Predicted Finish:: Folk-Edwards-Stone-Reddington.
152: You have to love Coatesville’s Chase Stephens here, even if CR South’s Dylan Schwartz is a major beast. Oh well, what the heck, there have to be upsets somewhere, or this wouldn’t be the regional tournament.
Predicted Finish: Stephens-Schwartz-Vogels-Seislove.
160: Yeah, Conestoga’s Dan Iredale is a true stud, as the zero in the right-hand column of his record indicates. But I just can’t see anyone in the district beating out Stillings.
Predicted Finish: Stillings-Iredale-Cox-Horne.
170: If you have a coin, toss it a few times. That’s what it will take to pick a winner here. How about Spring-Ford’s Rice, literally, getting (his picture) into the state program?
Predicted finish: Rice-Shalinsky-Zapf-Frank.
182: Yeah, I know Boyertown has wrestled the toughest schedule around, which accounts for some of the five losses suffered by Gregg Harvey. But those losses mean little when it comes to winning a regional title. And it says here that Harvey stuns Pennridge’s Kyle Gentile in the finals.
Predicted Finish: Harvey-Gentile-Hatzipavlides-McBride.
195: CR South’s Joe Doyle had a few heads shaking last weekend when he pinned his way to the 195-pound crown and OW at the District One East tourney. This week he shows that wasn’t a fluke.
Predicted Finish: Doyle-Kennerly-Walker-O’Connell.
220: That incredibly loud cheer you thought you heard this week emanated from Quakertown, where Panthers upper weight Gavin Caroff realized that Jordan Wood was out at this weight class. Caroff will win it, but it’s anybody’s guess (including mine) who will snare the remaining three state berths.
Predicted Finish: Caroff-Spriggs-Modugno-LaMarre.
285: Everybody loves Neshaminy’s big Bruce Graeber here, but somehow Boyertown will need to add a cherry to their regional championship sundae. So here goes.
Predicted Finish: Killoran-Graeber-Augustin-Walls.
And while the stands will be packed and the fur will be flying in Souderton, it will be no less crazy at the PIAA Class AA Championships at Wilson-West Lawn.
Traditionally, District One takes a pounding here, and don’t expect that trend to have changed radically come Saturday evening.
But if you’re looking for a few guys to throw down a couple of shekels on, try Lower Moreland’s Stefan Pylayev (145) and Arthur Aloian (285), New Hope-Solebury’s unbeaten Igor Lupisella (170), Church Farm School’s Sebastian Corrales (113) or Bristol’s Ricky Patterson (126).