Celebrating the Best 42 Wrestlers in Northwestern Pennsylvania

Categories:  BloggERy    Sports
Friday, March 7th, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Celebrating the Best 42 Wrestlers in Northwestern Pennsylvania by David VanAmburg

Tomorrow's surgeons-in-training were on display this weekend at the Northwest Regional Wrestling Finals in Altoona, Pa. What do we mean by that?

It's March already. How are your New Year's exercise resolutions working out for you? This is a celebration of the 1 percent of our area high school youth whose dedication and self-discipline is almost beyond comprehension. They are wrestlers.

My mother doesn't care for wrestling. She thinks it's a bunch of boys rolling around on the ground, playing king of the mountain.

It's challenging to understand the sport if you didn't grow up in it. If you and my mother are from the same neighborhood, the quick video below explaining high school wrestling matches might interest you.

In a way, Mom is right. Most of us are competitive. But wrestling is much more than she has experienced. A friend I respect recently had knee replacement surgery. He elected to travel out of town to a surgeon who had been a state champion wrestler. Why? Because "they are highly focused, disciplined, and self-reliant," he told me.

So following years of diet, exercise, and “mat time,” this year’s elite winners of District Finals came to the Northwest Region Finals. When they graduate, they will likely choose challenging careers, like 2012 graduate Tim Wheeling of General McLane, who now studies engineering at West Virginia University and just won a starting spot on their NCAA Division I wrestling team.

But this week their goal was to earn a spot at next week’s State Finals.

Thousands started, 42 move on to Hershey.

Most experts agree that Pennsylvania is the toughest state for high school wrestling. The best 196 wrestlers from 32 schools across Northwest Pennsylvania came, but only 42 made the cut.

Here are the top four in 14 different weight classes. The top three wrestlers in each class now move on to the state championships this coming weekend in Hershey. (District, District place, Name, School, Year, Season record coming into Regionals). We've included a few championship matches for your viewing pleasure.


  1. 10-1 Charlie Lenox Erie McDowell, SO, 28-7
  2. 10-2 Carmine Ciotti Erie Strong Vincent, SO, 23-2
  3. 6-1 Cole Manley Altoona, FR, 25-5
  4. 6-3 Geo Barzona Central Mountain, FR, 20-13


  1. 10-1 Joe Wheeling General McLane, SR, 30-1
  2. 6-1 Damien Huff Hollidaysburg, SR, 18-6
  3. 6-2 Chris Thompson Philipsburg-Osceola, SR, 25-6
  4. 10-3 Aaron Ehrgott Meadville, JR, 26-5

Joe Wheeling, General McLane, defeated Damien Huff Hollidaysburg, WBD (Win by Decision) 5-3 (Video 8:59)


  1. 10-1 Jake Gromacki Erie Cathedral Prep, SR, 25-2
  2. 4/9-1 Roshaun Cooley Williamsport Area, JR, 15-0
  3. 6-1 Brock Port Bellefonte, FR, 29-3
  4. 6-2 Keenan Bottorf Central Mountain, JR, 24-8

Jake Gromacki, Cathedral Prep, defeated Roshaun Cooley, Williamsport, WBD 7-0 (Video 7:25)


  1. 4/9-1 Shea Bloom DuBois Area, SO, 28-4
  2. 10-1 D.J. Fehlman Warren, JR, 29-1
  3. 4/9-3 Noah Cline Clearfield Area, JR, 23-8
  4. 10-3 Kyle Luben Meadville, SO, 25-6


  1. 6-1 Trevor Corl Bellefonte, JR, 28-3
  2. 4/9-1 Joel Bowers Punxsutawney Area, SR, 26-1
  3. 10-1 John Ciotti Erie Strong Vincent, JR, 23-4
  4. 6-4 Dalton Long Hollidaysburg, FR, 23-11


  1. 6-1 Hayden Hidlay Mifflin County, SO, 32-2
  2. 4/9-1 Kaleb Young Punxsutawney Area, SO, 27-0
  3. 6-2 Michael Kauffman State College, SR, 23-3
  4. 10-1 Keller Watkins General McLane, JR, 27-5


  1. 10-1 Dean Twitchell General McLane, SR, 29-8
  2. 6-1 Demetri Probst Central Mountain, JR, 24-9
  3. 4/9-3 Hayden Swartwood Jersey Shore Area, SO, 21-10
  4. 4/9-1 Josh Schuckers Punxsutawney Area, SR, 26-8


  1. 6-1 D.J. Hollingshead Altoona, JR, 30-2
  2. 6-2 Noah Stewart Mifflin County, SO, 30-7
  3. 8-1 Cameron Jacobson Taylor Allderdice, JR, 29-4
  4. 10-2 Michael Sutton General McLane, SR, 24-4


  1. 10-1 Ehrin Lee Titusville, SR, 29-1
  2. 6-1 Chad Reese Central Mountain, SR, 31-6
  3. 10-2 Ethan Laird General McLane, FR, 22-13
  4. 4/9-2 Seth Young Jersey Shore Area, SO, 10-8


  1. 10-1 Trenton Zdarko Oil City, SR, 23-5
  2. 10-3 Coleman Cousins Erie McDowell, SR, 24-8
  3. 6-1 Gavin Caprio Central Mountain, JR, 32-5
  4. 10-2 Chris Starocci Erie Strong Vincent, SR, 20-7


  1. 6-1 Trey Hartsock Mifflin County, SO, 27-10
  2. 6-2 Dennis Lumadue Philipsburg-Osceola, SR, 25-7
  3. 10-1 Tyree Spearman Erie McDowell, SR, 25-2
  4. 4/9-3 Derek Taylor Saint Mary's Area, JR, 19-8


  1. 4/9-1 Tom Sleigh DuBois Area, SR, 29-0
  2. 10-1 Chris Laird General McLane, SR, 31-3
  3. 6-1 Timmy Pearce Mifflin County, SR, 29-7
  4. 4/9-2 Austin Lewis Selinsgrove Area, SR, 26-2


  1. 4/9-1 Dwayne Pepper Shikellamy, SR, 19-3
  2. 10-1 Ian Mallory General McLane, JR, 22-13
  3. 4/9-2 Andrew Boob Selinsgrove Area, JR, 21-4
  4. 6-3 Nicholas Gray Philipsburg-Osceola, SR, 26-3


  1. 10-1 Scott Augustine Erie McDowell, SR, 32-2
  2. 6-3 Josh Fye Bald Eagle Area, SO, 23-7
  3. 4/9-1 Jacob Verchick Clearfield Area, SR, 23-7
  4. 6-2 Bryce Hanley Central Mountain, JR, 24-9

Scott Augustine, McDowell, defeated Josh Fye, Bald Eagle, WBD 3-1 (Video 8:07)

General McLane Wins the 2014 Team Award

General McLane High School scored the most points (126.5) and won the 2014 PIAA Northwest Region award for only the second time in the school's history.

McDowell came in second (107), followed by Central Mountain (88), and Mifflin County (86). Strong Vincent was 10th (48.5),Cathedral Prep 11th (48), East 27th (7), can Central Tech 28th (4).

The Northwest Regional Finals tournament in Altoona was a pleasure to attend. Fans, coaches, and media all commented on how well it was run. The only request made by dozens of people is that going forward, the refs and tournament directors define critical scoring criteria to be used consistently, such as when wrestlers will be called out of bounds. This will allow takedown calls to be made consistently by all refs.


Coach Josh Arl created these two short videos to explain wrestling matches to parents new to wrestling. Unless you're a wrestling expert, you might enjoy them. 

Part 1  (5 minutes)

Part 2 (3 minutes)

If you want a bit more detail, U.S Youth Wrestling has a nice introduction to wrestling.


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