WRESTLING: Best of the best: Ike’s Johnson, Head, Youngsville’s Durlin, Sivak advance; Johnson reaches 100-win mark
SHARON – The final four.
For the second year in a row, both Eisenhower and Youngsville high schools will have a pair of wrestlers competing at regions after the District 10 Class AA Wrestling Championships Saturday at Sharon Area High School.
For Eisenhower, 195-pound senior Jake Johnson was third with freshman 145-pounder Louie Head sixth. For Youngsville, juniors Jaykup Durlin (220 pounds) and Stone Sivak (182) were fourth and sixth respectively. Johnson and Durlin will make their second trip to regions with Sivak and Head making their first.
Eisenhower’s Johnson had arguably the most memorable weekend of all. Not only did he complete a 4-0 Saturday to finish third and extend his high school career by a week, he also surpassed 100 career wins – the second Ike wrestler in two years to do so after Dylan Baker in 2011-12.
Johnson (28-8) lost his first match on Friday, but roared back with a vengeance Saturday. His 5-3 decision over Fort LeBoeuf’s Garrett Reinwald to start Saturday got him to 100 wins, but the senior wasn’t done. He then knocked off Cambridge Springs’ Zach Stafford, 5-4, and avenged Friday’s loss to Jamestown’s Jason Shappee with a 6-2 win. To close things out, Johnson won his consolation finals bout over Franklin’s Dan Geer, 6-2, ending his weekend with 103 career wins.
“100 wins was a big burden on me,” said Johnson. “My goal has always been to be better than my brothers and none of them ever reached 100 wins. My confidence is at an all-time high. I can’t think of a better way to go into regions than with four wins in a row.”
Johnson’s teammate, Head, may have ended the weekend with three straight losses, but he did enough to become Ike’s first freshman regional qualifier in nearly two decades by finishing sixth. His Friday victories over Hickory’s John Sims and Conneaut’s Talor Ellis were enough to add a week to an already impressive freshman season that sees Head with 24 wins and 12 losses.
“I’m excited to get two guys out,” said Ike coach Kiel Woodburn. “The effort they’ve each given all season is outstanding. I think we figured out Louie is the first freshman at Eisenhower to reach regions since the mid 1990’s so obviously that’s outstanding. Jake reaching 100 wins is incredible. It took him three matches to get from 99 to 100 and I think it was weighing on him. After he got 100, the flood gates open and he wrestled better and better each match. He’s a confident kid now and a confident kid is a scary one for the competition.”
The Eagles were led by the efforts of Durlin who has now compiled a record of 29-5 this season in qualifying for regionals for the second time with a fourth-place finish. He secured his berth Friday by advancing to Saturday’s championship semifinals.
There, Durlin was pinned by Cochranton’s Cam Cyphert, but the junior rebounded to finish the weekend with two strong matches. First, Durlin pinned Corry’s Tim Suydan to advance to consolation finals. In the third-place match, Durlin lost a close 3-1 decision to Reynolds’ Logan Rickert.
Sivak (24-13) will join Durlin in Sharon on March 1-2 after finishing the weekend with an even 3-3 record. Sivak’s Saturday started with an injury default win over former teammate Alex Suydan of Corry. Next, Sivak locked up his spot at regionals with a pin of Girard’s Vitaliy Kleschevinikov.
The junior would lose his last two matches of the weekend – to Greenville’s Justin Reynolds and Maplewood’s Isiah Stearns – but the sixth-place finish places Sivak in next weekend’s bracket.
“We took two guys down and have two boys moving ob. I can’t complain about that one bit,” said Youngsville coach Scott Ishman. “Stone showed great character in getting to where he is right now and Jaykup wrestled some very strong kids extremely hard. I feel good about where we are going into this next round.”
Eisenhower’s Dylan Raines (285 pounds), Robbie Wilston (152 pounds) and Tyler Gourley (132) also competed this weekend and finished 0-2.
The PIAA Class AA Northwest Regional Tournament will take place this Friday and Saturday at Sharon Area High School.