CLARION — Led by a two-time state runner-up, a trio of Punxsy wrestlers will compete in the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling State Championship Tournament this weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre.
Kaleb Young, a runner-up at the PJW state tournament the past two years, will once again compete at states, which take place Friday and Saturday.
For the second-straight year, Young will be joined by Josh Schuckers and Troy Peace after all three finished within the top two places of their weight classes and age divisions at the Area V Tournament last Saturday at Clarion University.
All three will compete in the 13- and 14-year-old age division. Of Punxsy's 29 wrestlers to qualify for the Area V Tournament, only Young (102 pounds), Schuckers (107) and Peace (212) were able to advance to states.
Both Young and Schuckers won Area V titles, and both will receive a first-round bye at states. The two grapplers are four consecutive victories away from a state title.
Peace was the No. 2 212-pounder out of Area V, meaning he will have to compete in the pigtail round Friday and will need to win five-straight times for a state crown.
Young will meet either Reynolds' Nick Nottingham or Waynesburg's Terry Victor, who were each runners-up from their respective areas, in his first bout Friday.
Schuckers' first bout will take place against either Bloomsburg's Sam Miller or South Park's Jacob Wentzel, who were each area runners-up.
Peace's first match Friday will be versus Belle Vernon's Roger Durka, the Area IV runner-up. The winner of that bout opposes Connellsville's Gunnar Lynch, who won the Area I title.
Peace lost in the semifinals at 212 pounds, but a victory in the consolation final led to his earning a true second match, which he won to advance to states.
A number of other Punxsy wrestlers fell one victory short of advancing to the state tournament.
Punxsy's Conner Giavedoni, Eli Lambiotte and Levi Campbell each lost true second-place matches and had to settle for third place.
Giavedoni suffered a decision defeat in his final bout, Lambiotte lost by a 2-1 decision, and Campbell lost in the ultimate tiebreaker.
Derek Conrad, Travis Perry, Zoie Smith, Brandon Ishman and Brandon Parcell, of the Mathog Wrestling Club, each finished in fourth place for Punxsy.