WRESTLING: Seize the day: Dragon captains motivated for Northwest Region Class AAA Wrestling Tournament

Maybe it’s appropriate that the four Warren wrestlers that have advanced to this weekend’s Northwest Region Class AAA Tournament in Altoona were each voted a team captain at the beginning of the season.

There are two seniors – Garrett Smead and Cody Gunn – that are scratching and clawing to get there for the first time, and two juniors – D.J. Fehlman and Alex Streich – who want to build off last season’s success.

“The kids picked them. I think we told them to give us three or four (candidates), and they went with four team captains,” said Warren coach Glenn Baldensperger. “They’ve all had a good work ethic and earned their trip down there.”

Fehlman is a three-time District 10 champion, and advanced to states as a sophomore. He didn’t win a region title last season, but that hasn’t necessarily been the goal for Fehlman, who is fast approaching 100 career wins and who has a shot to become Warren Area High School’s all-time winningest wrestler in his senior season.

“With D.J. (29-1), you have expectations to go out and hopefully work to get a (PIAA) medal this year, but you can’t look that far ahead,” said Baldensperger. “There are quality kids in his (126-pound) bracket. He can’t look at the board (at the next match), and he won’t.”

Another junior, Alex Streich, is returning to regions.

“He’s put in quite a bit of time in, and I’m real pleased with what he’s been doing with his work ethic,” said Baldensperger of Streich (19-8), who was fourth at 220 pounds at the District 10 Class AAA Championships two weeks ago at Central Tech High School.

Streich and seniors Gunn (182) and Smead (170) were all fourth at districts, with the top four advancing to regions.

Smead’s story is downright inspirational.

Smead (13-4) actually lost by injury default in the semifinals of the D10 tourney, and then again in the third-fourth-place match, because he had already qualified and did not want to further injure himself.

“Garrett Smead, he’s put the most time in out of any of the kids in the room,” said Baldensperger. “If he hadn’t put the time in with the injury he wouldn’t be at regionals. His desire to be a good wrestler and compete speaks for itself – with him wanting to go on with his injury.”

Baldensperger said he was “probably 50 percent two weeks ago, but he’s better than that now.”

“This is something I’ve been working for since I was a kid,” said Smead. “The injury was just a setback, but I’m not going to let it slow me down.”

While Fehlman is predicted, at districttenwrestling.com, to finish among the top four in his weight class – albeit predicted second which may be more motivation, the other three are not.

“Oh, it definitely motivates me,” said Gunn (20-10), who has been fighting a flu bug. “It makes me want it even more. I think I have a chance to make it out of regionals if I wrestle like I know how to. But it doesn’t surprise me that we all moved on because we are all determined to win.”

Baldensperger said Dragons have upset their way to states before.

“We’ve had two good weeks of preparation,” he said. “The kids are feeling pretty good physically and mentally, and that’s where we want them right now.

“As far as captains go, they are class-act kids,” said Baldensperger. “They’re always doing the right things in the (wrestling) room. They lead by example.”

Here are the first-round pairings, barring changes, at the Northwest Region Class AAA Tournament beginning Friday at Altoona Fieldhouse (wrestling begins at 5 p.m. Friday, resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday, and the finals are set for around 7 p.m. Saturday):

Teams: Allderdice (All), Altoona (Alt), Bald Eagle Area (BEA), Bellefonte (Bell), Bradford (Brad), Brashear (Br), Carrick (C), Cathedral Prep (CP), Central Mountain (CM), Central Tech (CT), Clearfield (Clear), DuBois (Du), East (E), General McLane (GM), Hollidaysburg (Holl), Jersey Shore (JS), McDowell (McD), Meadville (Mv), Mifflin County (MC), Obama Academy (OA), Oil City (OC), Perry (P), Philipsburg-Osceola (PO), Punxsutawney (Punx), Selinsgrove (Sel), Shikellamy (Shik), State College (SC), St. Marys (SM), Strong Vincent (SV), Titusville (Tv), Warren (W), Williamsport (Will).

Championship bracket

First round

106 pounds: 9-1 Brock Adams, fr., Du, 18-12 bye; 6-2 Aaron Witherite, so., Bell, 23-7 vs. 10-4 Steve Machen, jr., Tv, 16-9; 8-2 Jaread Prude, so., All, 13-4 vs. 6-3 Geo Barzona, fr., CM, 20-13; 4-4 Braden Bower, so., Will, 19-10 vs. 10-1 Charlie Lenox, so., McD, 28-7; 8-1 Cory Bevan, so., Br, 8-7 vs. 6-4 Bryce Bennett, so., PO, 27-6; 9-2 Raymond Dent, sr., SM, 19-10 vs. 10-3 Brandon Sauers, so., CP, 16-13; 4-3 Hunter Zondory, so., JS, 28-7 vs. 10-2 Carmine Ciotti, so., SV, 23-2; 6-1 Cole Manley, fr., Alt, 26-5 bye.

113: 9-1 Logan Gilbert, so., Clear, 19-14 bye; 6-4 Noah Myers, fr., MC, 23-11 vs. 10-2 Ta’Nauz Gregory, so., CP, 18-5;8-2 Mikel Chadcleaf, so., P, 7-10 vs. 10-3 Aaron Ehrgott, jr., Mv, 26-5; 9-4 Cameron Resch, fr., SM, 20-2 vs. 6-1 Damian Huff, sr., Holl, 18-6; 8-1 Dorion Devaughn Long, sr., All, 15-5 vs. 4-3 Bryce Reichenbach, fr., Sel, 18-14; 6-2 Chris Thompson, sr., PO, 25-6 vs. 10-4 Kaleb Chase, sr., Tv, 23-10; 6-3 Luke Leathers, jr., Bell, 25-9 vs. 4-2 Tyler Harper, sr., Shik, 18-11; 10-1 Joe Wheeling, sr., GM, 31-1 bye.

120: 6-1 Brock Port, fr., Bell, 29-3 bye; 9-4 Josiah McClarren, so., Clear, 19-15 vs. 10-2 Josh Caban, sr., SV, 23-3; 8-2 Quinton Herriott, jr., P, 17-10 vs. 10-3 Keegan Fordyce, so., McD, 18-12; 6-4 Daniel Sills, sr., SC, 19-9 vs. 4-1 Roshaun Cooley, jr., Will, 15-0; 8-1 Isaiah Slappy, sr., All, 18-10 vs. 10-4 Hunter Wagner, fr., Tv, 19-10; 6-3 Coby Bainey, so., BEA, 19-11 vs. 9-2 Eli Lambiotte, so., Punx, 23-9; 6-2 Keenan Bottorf, jr., CM, 24-8 vs. 9-3 Kody Cox, sr., Du, 23-9; 10-1 Jake Gromacki, sr., CP, 25-2 bye.

126: 6-1 Anthony Myers, so., SC, 24-3 bye; 8-2 DeShon Hill, OA, 4-3 vs. 9-3 Noah Cline, jr., Clear, 23-8; 4-2 Noah Ulmer, jr., JS, 18-11 vs. 10-4 Hunter Hendricks, so., GM, 22-9; 6-4 Mark Kociola, sr., Holl, 11-14 vs. 10-1 D.J. Fehlman, jr., W, 29-1; 9-1 Shae Bloom, jr., Du, 28-4 vs. 6-3 Levi Hughes, fr., PO, 17-14; 10-3 Kyle Luben, so., Mv, 25-6 vs. 6-2 Chase Gardner, fr., Bell, 18-9; 10-2 Benji Yates, jr., McD, 22-8 vs. 4-4 Richard Lowrie, fr., Will, 14-13; 8-1 Josh Zinkovsky, jr., All, 6-3 bye.

132: 9-1 Joel Bowers, sr., Punx, 26-1 bye; 6-2 Isaac Underhill, jr., MC, 20-9 vs. 10-4 Owen Watkins, fr., GM, 15-10; 8-2 William Bechem, sr., All, 19-9 vs. 6-3 Dakota Weitoish, so., PO, 26-10; 9-4 William McGonnell, jr., SM, 13-20 vs. 10-1 John Ciotti, jr., SV, 23-4; 6-1 Trevor Corl, jr., Bell, 28-3 vs. 10-3 Noah Burkhart, jr., McD, 20-12; 9-2 Austin Gahr, sr., Du, 13-13 vs. 6-4 Dalton Long, fr., Holl, 23-11; 4-3 Nick Cashdollar, jr., Shik, 10-11 vs. 10-2 Alex Root, sr., CP, 15-8; 8-1 Cody Kirk, so., C, 16-12 bye.

138: 9-1 Kaleb Young, so., Punx, 27-0 bye; 6-3 Nate Rosenberger, jr., Bell, 22-11 vs. 10-2 Dalton Burns, jr., Tv, 19-9; 6-2 Mike Kaufman, sr., SC, 23-3 vs. 10-3 Andy Hutzel, sr., CP, 10-11; 9-4 Tallin Norris, so., Clear, 10-15 vs. 8-1 Jordon Oliver, so., Br, 7-6; 10-1 Keller Watkins, jr., GM, 27-5 vs. 9-3 Kyle Pecht, so., SM, 26-6; 4-2 Tristan Paul, sr., Shik, 24-4 vs. 6-4 Emery Watson, jr., CM, 18-15; 8-2 Ryan Campbell, jr., All, 8-12 vs. 10-4 Robert Harris, jr., CT, 18-10; 6-1 Hayden Hidlay, so., MC, 32-2 bye.

145: 9-1 Josh Schuckers, sr., Punx, 26-8 bye; 6-4 Tanner Day, sr., Bell, 13-16 vs. 10-2 Alex Hargenrader, sr., OC, 23-5; 8-2 Terrance Mair, so., C, 8-6 vs. 10-3 Teagan O’Sullivan, jr., CP, 17-10; 4-4 Jared Brown, jr., Shik, 10-11 vs. 6-1 Demetri Probst, jr., CM, 24-9; 8-1 Keron Jones, sr., P, 19-7 vs. 4-3 Hadyn Swortwood, so., JS, 21-10; 6-3 Caleb Shively, sr., PO, 25-10 vs. 9-2 Tyler Yentzer, sr., SM, 22-9; 6-2 Derek Horner, sr., SC, 15-6 vs. 10-4 Jake Paulson, fr., McD, 18-12; 10-1 Deane Twitchell, sr., GM, 29-8 bye.

152: 9-1 Perry Arrington, jr., Punx, 25-7 bye; 6-2 Noah Stewart, so., MC, 30-7 vs. 10-4 Jared Carlson, jr., SV, 24-7; 8-2 Jared Ramsey, jr., P, 6-3 vs. 6-3 William Roeshot, so., SC, 21-7; 4-4 Anthony Best, sr., Shik, 9-21 vs. 10-1 Ryan Dailey, McD, 18-11; 6-1 David Hollingshead, jr., Alt, 30-2 vs. 10-3 Connor Wurst, jr., CP, 14-9; 4-2 Colton Killion, sr., JS, 20-7 vs. 6-4 Dallas Kephart, sr., PO, 16-16; 9-3 Alex Feidbauer, sr., SM, 19-11 vs. 10-2 Mike Sutton, sr., GM, 24-4; 8-1 Cameron Jacobson, jr., All, 29-4 bye.

160: 10-1 Ehrin Lee, sr., Tv, 29-1 bye; 6-2 Brandon Wilson, so., MC, 3-2 vs. 9-4 Dustin Coles, sr., Brad, 13-10; 8-2 Marcus Hogan, sr., P, 13-6 vs. 6-3 Nick Patrick, so., PO, 18-12; 10-4 Cameron Demaison, sr., Mv, 9-17 vs. 9-1 William Gabor, sr., SM, 23-7; 6-1 Chad Reese, sr., CM, 31-6 vs. 10-3 Joe Campanella, sr., McD, 8-6; 10-2 Ethan Laird, fr., GM, 22-13 vs. 9-3 Keegan Fischer, jr., Punx, 14-14; 4-2 Seth Young, so., JS, 10-8 bye; 6-4 Brinton Simington, fr., Alt, 15-16 vs. 8-1 Mike Johnson, jr., C, 11-9.

170: 6-1 Gavin Caprio, jr., CM, 32-5 bye; 4-4 Max Mason, fr., JS, 17-15 vs. 10-2 Chris Starocci, sr., SV, 20-7; 8-2 Markus Kratochivil, sr., C, 16-13 vs. 10-3 Coleman Cousins, jr., McD, 24-8; 6-4 Noah Worley, so., Holl, 19-10 vs. 4-1 Nathan Bingaman, sr., Sel, 22-8; 8-1 Deontay Wadley, jr., P, 21-5 vs. 10-4 Garrett Smead, sr., W, 13-4; 6-3 Mitchell Taylor, jr., BEA, 14-13 vs. 9-2 Joshua Cameroni, sr., SM, 24-8; 6-2 Alexander Stover, sr., SC, 14-4 vs. 4-3 Joe Snyder, jr., Shik, 17-9; 10-1 Trent Zdarko, sr., OC, 23-5 bye.

182: 10-1 Tyree Spearman, sr., McD, 26-2 bye; 8-2 Leon Evans, sr., P, 14-11 vs. 9-3 Derek Taylor, jr., SM, 19-8; 9-2 Travis Ogden, so., Clear, 26-11 vs. 6-4 Cory Dreibelbis, so., SC, 5-4; 10-4 Cody Gunn, sr., W, 20-10 vs. 6-1 Trey Hartsock, so., MC, 26-10; 4-1 Dominic Loffredo, jr., JS, 26-6 vs. 6-3 Isaac Porter, so., CM, 16-12; 10-3 Dan Stearns, jr., Tv, 22-13 vs. 6-2 Dennis Lumadue, sr., PO, 26-7; 10-2 Michael Hughes, fr., CP, 19-9 vs. 4-4 Aaron Boob, so., Sel, 11-13; 8-1 Hakeim McKenzie, sr., C, 9-4 bye.

195: 9-1 Tom Sleigh, sr., Du, 29-0 bye; 6-4 Nathaniel Buckrop, sr., Alt, 18-8 vs. 10-2 Phil Selker, so., CP, 18-6; 8-2 Thaddeus Morris, sr., P, 9-11 vs. 10-3 Zack Rindfuss, sr., McD, 13-14; 9-4 Daniel Salinas, so., SM, 12-14 vs. 6-1 Tim Pearce, sr., MC, 29-7; 10-1 Chris Laird, sr., GM, 31-3 vs. 4-3 Nate Lose, so., JS, 21-10; 4-2 Austin Lewis, sr., Sel, 26-2 vs. 6-3 Loc Long, jr., CM, 19-7; 6-2 David Gawryla, sr., BEA, 16-7 vs. 10-4 Samson Kafando, jr., CT, 14-9; 8-1 Cody Wagner, sr., Br, 18-5 bye.

220: 10-1 Ian Mallory, jr., GM, 22-13 bye; 8-2 Nick Bruckner, jr., All, 4-7 vs. 4-3 Jacob Huling, jr., JS, 19-13; 4-2 Andrew Boob, jr., Sel, 21-4 vs. 6-4 Sheldon Davis, jr., SC, 9-15; 10-4 Alex Streich, jr., W, 19-8 vs. 6-1 Cameron Porter, sr., CM, 23-9; 4-1 Dwayne Pepper, sr., Shik, 19-3 vs. 6-3 Nick Gray, sr., PO, 27-3; 10-3 Luke Carr, jr., Mv, 22-7 vs. 6-2 Kyle Kahley, sr., MC, 10-4; 10-2 Ben Bish, so., McD, 18-10 vs. 9-4 Mike Wolfel, jr., SM, 14-15; 8-1 Jesse Reid, sr., C, 20-9 bye.

285: 6-1 Colton Craig, sr., MC, 18-10 bye; 8-2 Anthony Langford, jr., All, 6-6 vs. 9-3 Luke Shiock, jr., Punx, 14-12; 4-2 Bryce Charles, so., JS, 12-7 vs. 10-4 Jacob Lenhart, fr., GM, 15-15; 6-4 Logan Day, jr., PO, 12-8 vs. 10-1 Scot Augustine, sr., McD, 32-2; 9-1 Jacob Verchick, sr., Clear, 23-7 vs. 10-3 Jason Oakes, jr., Tv, 19-14; 10-2 Deiontre Plott, sr., E, 15-2 vs. 6-3 Joshua Fye, so., BEA, 23-7; 6-2 Bryce Hanley, jr., CM, 24-9 vs. 4-4 Jeremy Bacon, so., Shik, 10-18; 8-1 Mikel Betz, sr., C, 14-12 bye.