WHERE — Giant Center, Hershey
SCHEDULE — Thursday: Preliminary round, 9 a.m.; First-round consolations, 12:15 p.m.
Friday: Quarterfinals, 9 a.m.; Second-round consolations, 10:45 a.m.; Semifinals and Third-round consolations, 6:30 p.m.; Fourth-round consolations, 9 p.m.
Saturday: All place bouts and championship finals wrestled simultaneously starting at 2 p.m.
WHAT’S AT STAKE — Medals, of course. Top-eight finishers in each 16-man bracket receive a medal.
COVERAGE — Live bracket updates on www.piaa.org. Finals aired on the Pennsylvania Cable Network. Check your local listings.
NOTE: Mark Dugan’s Off the Mat rankings are referred to below. It ranks wrestlers based on predicted finish at states.
106 Pounds: Ryan Carlson, Brockway, Soph., 26-6
He’s the District 9 and NW Region champion in his first trip to states. Carlson, ranked No. 14, opens with No. 5 Aaron Burkett of Chestnut Ridge. It’s a rematch of their meeting at the Ultimate Duals in Brookville in January. Burkett won that bout, 4-2. Carlson has lost just once since, a 15-2 major to Franklin Regional powerhouse Devin Brown.
113 Pounds: Taylor Ortz, Brookville, Soph., 34-3
Ortz’s dominating run through the season has been impressive. Of his 34 wins, 27 are pins. In the postseason, he’s 6-0 with six pins. He’s ranked No. 6 and on the same side of the bracket as last year’s 106 runner-up and No. 1 Luke Karam of Bethlehem Catholic. They wouldn’t meet until the semifinals. Three returning state medalists are on the other side of the bracket: No. 2 Jacob Wasser of Palisades, No. 8 Cameron Newman of Line Mountain and No. 9 Austin Griffiths of Southmoreland.
120 Pounds: Willie Gruver, Redbank Valley, Sr., 32-6
Back for the third time and trying to improve on last year’s seventh-place medal at 113, Gruver actually opens with the same opponent as he did a year ago, Tri-Valley’s Caleb Bordner, whom he beat 4-3 with a late takedown. Bordner actually went on to finish sixth. Gruver is ranked No. 3 this year and a possible semifinal opponent is last year’s 106 state champ and top-ranked George Phillippi of Derry Area.
126 Pounds: Cody Blankenship, Kane, Sr., 30-1
126 Pounds: Tanner Altobelli, Redbank Valley, So., 32-8
Blankenship is a three-time state qualifier after going 1-2 the last two years, including 113 last year, while Altobelli is making his first trip to states. Both are on opposite sides of the bracket. Blankenship opens with No. 15 Stone Kepple of Derry Area while Altobelli, ranked No. 16, meets No. 12 Shawn Nitcznski of Sullivan County. No. 1 Zeke Moisey of Bethlehem Catholic, a two-time state runner-up, is on Altobelli’s side of the bracket.
132 Pounds: Dalton Zimmerman, Brookville, Jr., 25-8
He was sixth last year at the same weight and he’s just one of five three-time state qualifiers — teammate Brock Zacherl became one this year as well — in Brookville history with a year to go. No Raider has gone to states four times. Zimmerman is ranked No. 12 and meets no. 7 John Andrejcik of Burrell in what will be a rematch of their Ultimate Duals matchup in January won by Andrejcik, 3-1, the sudden victory period. The bracket is headed by No. 1 Ian Brown of Hanover, who was third at 132 last year.
138 Pounds: Brock Zacherl, Brookville, Sr, 37-2
The Raiders’ two-time state medalist goes to Hershey as the top-ranked wrestler in the state and thus the favorite to become the Raiders’ first state champion since 1999. He’s the only returning state medalist on his side of the bracket and three are on the other side — No. 2 Kent Lane of Southern Columbia, No. 3 Jake Wentzel of South Park and No. 10 Nick Monico of Saegertown. Zacherl opens with No. 16 Wyomissing’s Angel Canela. A likely semifinal opponent for Zacherl would be No. 4 Josh Evans of Palmertown.
145 Pounds: Zach Vroman, Brookville, Sr., 29-5
Credit Vroman for dropping from 170 at the beginning of the year to a weight class that features one of the top wrestlers in the state regardless of classification. Kittanning senior and Penn State recruit Jason Nolf is a two-time state champion and three-time medalist with a 131-1 career record. Last year, he won at 132 and beat Brock Zacherl last fall in the Super 32 finals. Vroman, ranked No. 6, could meet No. 1 Nolf in the quarterfinals. Vroman was sixth a year ago at 145 and seeks his second state medal.
152 Pounds: Brodie Zacherl, Brookville, Sr., 35-3
He’s ranked No. 9 by Off the Mat and opens with No. 14 Anthony Snyder of Tri Valley. Seven returning state qualifiers and four medalists are in the bracket, headed by No. 1 Andrew Doak of Blairsville. Doak beat Zacherl in Brookville in their dual meeting in December, 2-1, in the ultimate tiebreaker period. Doak would be a semifinal possibility for Zacherl. No. 2 Steven Edwards of Burrell is on the other side of the bracket. Zacherl and Edwards did not meet at the Ultimate Duals.
160 Pounds: Kyle Bova, Coudersport, Sr., 32-0
160 Pounds: Jimmy Miller, Brookville, Jr., 23-9
160 Pounds: Sam Colebert, Oswayo Valley, Sr., 30-4
It was obviously a deep weight class for the district, which swept the three state berths at last week’s regionals. Bova is the top-ranked wrestler in the state and beat Miller two weekends in a row in the finals at districts and regionals. Last year, Bova was the state runner-up at 152. Bova could meet No. 3 Jeric Kasunic of Benton in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Ryan Preisch, third last year at 142, is on the other side of the bracket from Bova with Miller and those two could meet in the quarterfinals. Colebert is ranked No. 8 and is also on Miller’s side of the bracket. He could meet No. 5 Jared Walker of South Fayette in the quarterfinals.
170 Pounds: Evan Delong, Kane, Sr., 32-0
The other returning state runner-up from last year, Delong was second at 160 and is now up to 170 where he’s the top-ranked wrestler in the state. On the other side of the bracket is No. 2 Nick Cortopassi of Bethlehem Catholic, a state qualifier at 170 a year ago. Delong, a three-time state qualifier who was seventh as a sophomore, could meet No. 3 Nick Mort of Fairfield in the semifinals.
182 Pounds: No District wrestlers
Cranberry’s Zach Bruce finished third at regionals, but suffered a serious knee injury and scratched out of the postseason.
195: No District wrestlers
220: No District wrestlers
HWT: Ben Carrillo, Redbank Valley, Sr., 28-3
Carrillo is a state newcomer in a weight class with five returnees, including defending champion and top-ranked Sam Breese of Lakeview. No. 6 Austin Buttry was fifth last year while No. 5 Brady Mutton of Pen Argyl, No. 2 Jake Beistel of Southmoreland and No. 3 Allen Beattie of Burrell were state qualifiers. Carrillo opens with Buttry with a possible quarterfinal bout with Mutton. Breese and Beattie are on the other side of the bracket. Two of Carrillo’s three losses are to Breese, including one in last week’s regional finals.
It’s been quite a ride for Carrillo. This feature story ran a few weeks ago in the Leader-Vindicator in New Bethlehem.