By Rich Rhoades
CLARION — It’s the second year for the District 4-9 Class AAA Wrestling Tournament at Clarion University’s Tippin Gymnasium. Action gets under way Friday afternoon.
The district’s five Class AAA teams — DuBois, Clearfield, Bradford, Punxsutawney and St. Marys — join up with District 4’s four schools, including Jersey Shore, Selinsgrove, Shikellamy and Williamsport.
The top four finishers in each of the 14 weight classes advance to next weekend’s Northwest Regional in Altoona.
— Four returning state qualifiers are back, including the lone medalist in DuBois senior Tom Sleigh, a third-place finisher at 170 pounds. Sleigh comes in highly regarded statewide. He’s ranked No. 1 in the state at 195 by PA Power Rankings. He’s a three-time district champion, defending regional champion and three-time state qualifier.
Other state qualifiers back are DuBois sophomore Shae Bloom and the Punxsutawney duo of senior Joel Bowers and sophomore Kaleb Young. They’re the only other D9 wrestlers ranked in the state in Class AAA. Young is No. 6, Bowers No. 11 and Bloom is No. 23.
— Among the District 4 teams, three wrestlers are state-ranked, the highest being Williamsport’s Roshaun Cooley, No. 10 at 120.
— Bloom (106), Bowers (120), Young (126) and Sleigh (170) are the lone returning district champions back from District 9. Shikellamy’s Dwayne Pepper is back to defend his 220-pound crown.
— Top seeds:
106: Hunter Zondory, Jersey Shore
113: Logan Gilbert, Clearfield
120: Roshaun Cooley, Williamsport
126: Shae Bloom, DuBois
132: Joel Bowers, Punxsutawney
138: Kaleb Young, Punxsutawney
145: Tyler Yetzer, St. Marys
152: Perry Arrington, Punxsutawney
160: William Gabor, St. Marys
170: Josh Cameroni, St. Marys
182: Dominic Loffredo, Jersey Shore
195: Tom Sleigh, DuBois
220: Dwayne Pepper, Shikellamy
HWT: Jacob Verchick, Clearfield
— The five District 9 teams have 58 wrestlers in the lineup. Of the 12 “no entries,” nine come from Bradford. Twenty-nine D9 wrestlers have a losing record, or half of the field.