ALTOONA â€” Entering Friday's opening rounds of the Northwest AAA Regional Tournament, Punxsy's wrestling team had high hopes but no set expectations for its grapplers but to give it their all.
A pair of Chucks â€” sophomore Joel Bowers and senior Carl Langley â€” met their highest expectations and earned a pair of victories to open the tournament, putting them each one win away from the PIAA State Tournament next weekend in Hershey.
Bowers advanced with some good luck in the opening round of 16 via forfeit with Obama's Malik Green not answering the bell, but earned his place in the semi-finals with a close 2-1 victory over District X's king seed, Coleman Cousins, of McDowell.
With the victory, Bowers earned a spot in the semis, where there will be a rematch from last Saturday's D-IX championships against St. Marys' Evan Smith.
Smith defeated Bowers, 7-3, last weekend at the D-IX tournament, but, as Punxsy head coach Eric Eddy said going into the regional tournament, anything can happen on any given weekend.
Langley, who spent the majority of the season ranked No. 1 in District IX at 170 pounds before DuBois' powerhouse Geno Morelli switched to the class, earned both his wins in impressive fashion.
The first came via fall in the opening round at 2:44 over General McLane's Chris Laird. In his second bout, Langley earned a 20-4 technical fall at 5:22 over District VIII's king seed, D'Andre Caviness, of Obama.
This morning, Langley will face Bald Eagle's Jacob Taylor â€” the District VI king seed â€” with hopes of earning a win and a berth at States in his senior season.
Eight other Chucks made the trip to Altoona, and were still alive in the consolation bracket at Spirit press time.
Andrew Bullers, at 106 pounds, opened the tournament against Carrick's Vinnie Mion and ended up falling victim to a late third-period fall at 5:31 to fall to the consolation bracket.
At 120 pounds, Devan Snyder opened the tournament against Altoona's D.J. Hollingshead, who earned a fall at 3:05 before bowing out of the top bracket himself in the quarter-finals.
Josh Schuckers, Punxsy's representative at 126 pounds and D-IX's No. 3 seed, lost via fall to Central Mountain's Logan Bechdel, District VI's second seed, at :56 of their opening round bout.
Senior Neko Cappella fared better in the opening round at 132 pounds with a 5-1 overtime win over Bellefonte's Cody Fisher in the opening round.
Cappella's second bout went to overtime as well, but he lost a close 5-3 decision to D-VIII's No. 1 seeded Ean Disilvio to fall to the consolation bracket.
Perry Arrington had earned a bye with his District IX championship at 138 pounds last weekend, but lost a hard-fought bout to Strong Vincent's Jared Carlson in the quarter-finals, 9-7.
Senior Seth Spack, also a D-IX champion who earned a first-round bye, was unable to score in a tight 2-0 bout against Cathedral Prep's Garrett Chase in the quarter-finals, knocking Spack into the consolation round.
Senior Josh Neal entered the tournament D-IX's No. 2 seed, but met his match in General McLane's Alex Thayer. Thayer earned a 10-2 decision to bump Neal to the consolation round.
Punxsy's final participant, Tyler Titus at 220 pounds, fell victim to East's Pat Williamson at 1:21 of their bout to fall to the consolation round.
The consolation round was underway, but final results were not posted at Spirit press time.
Action continues today in Altoona, with the consolation rounds, semi-finals and finals slated to begin at 9 a.m.
For more on the Chucks' performances at Regionals, see Monday's edition of Spirit Sports.View more articles in: