CLARION, Pa. -The 2023 D9 Class 2A wrestling championships take place this coming weekend at Tippin Gymnasium on the campus of PennWest University Clarion.
For the first time in several years, perhaps owing to the additions of Clearfield and St. Marys to the field (both were reclassified from 3A), the tournament will be contested over the course of two days as opposed to one (Feb. 24-25).
Session I starts on Friday (Feb. 25) at 4 p.m. with a preliminary round. This will be followed by the quarterfinals, as well as the first and second consolation rounds. Three mats will be in use.
Session II gets underway at 10 a.m. on Saturday (Feb. 24) with the semifinals and consolation quarterfinals. The consolation semifinals will follow. Three mats will be used for Session II.
Session III commences at 3 p.m. Saturday with the fifth and third-place matches occurring on three mats. At 4:30 Bob Colgan will be recognized, followed at 4:35 by this year’s Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. The Parade of Champions begins at 5, after which the finals will be wrestled on a single mat.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class will advance to next week’s North West Regional tournament at Sharon High School (March 3-4).
(What follows is a preview looking at those wrestlers who have garnered the top five seeds in each bracket. It is not intended to be any type of prediction. Note: PA Power Wrestling [PAPW] state and regional [Districts 9 and 10] rankings are as of Feb. 20.)
Seed: 1st Dalton Wenner, Fr. (26-3) – Cranberry
2nd Damien Brady, Fr. (23-9) – Clearfield
3rd Andrew Coriaty, So. (16-4) – Oswayo Valley
4th Austin Gilliland, So. (19-11) – Curwensville
5th Michael Copello, Fr. (17-6) – Ridgway
Don’t Sleep On: 6th seed – Gage Park, Fr. (17-8) – Brockway
Notes: With the exception of Coriaty, this will be the first varsity-level district tournament for all of the top five seeds. A year ago, Coriaty finished third at 106 pounds to qualify for regionals. He was first at the early-season St. Marys Kick-off Classic and the recent Allegheny Mountain Championships. Of those making their district tournament debuts, Wenner is the most decorated this season; winning his weight at the NursePro Plus Tournament, Mid-Winter Mayhem, and Fred Bell Tournament. Wenner is ranked third in the state and first in the NW Region. Brady is the only wrestler other than Wenner among the top five seeds who carries a ranking into districts; entering at 22nd in Pennsylvania and third regionally. Brady was fourth at the Thomas Automotive Tournament. Gilliland got his season off to a good start with a fourth place at the Inter-County Conference Tournament. Copello took first at the Juniata Valley Invitational, third at the St. Marys Kick-off Classic, and fourth at the Tool City Tournament.
Seed: 1st Weston Pisarchick, Jr. (20-0) – Cranberry
2nd Jared Popson, Jr. (24-11) – Brookville
3rd Aiden Beimel, So. (16-4) – Saint Marys
4th Logan Powell, So. (19-11) – Clarion
5th Bryndin Chamberlain, Fr. (18-13) – Clearfield
Don’t Sleep On: 6th seed – Ian O’Shea, So. (20-10) – Port Allegany
Notes: Among the top five seeds are two returning state qualifiers (Pisarchick, Beimel) and a pair who advanced to regionals a year ago (Popson, Powell). Pisarchick, ranked eighth in the state and second in the region, is a two-time district champion; winning at 113 pounds in 2022 and as a 106-pounder in 2021. Last year he finished second at regionals en route to states. The so far undefeated Pisarchick has won the 2022 editions of the Darren Klingerman Invitational competing as a 121-pounder and Mid-Winter Mayhem at this weight. Popson advanced to regionals for the first time in his career last season after a third at districts. He is ranked 27th in Pennsylvania and seventh in the northwest. As a freshman last season, Beimel won districts and regionals at 106 pounds along the way to the 3A state tournament. Currently 17th in the state poll and 7th in the NW Region, Beimel was second at this year’s Fred Bell. Powell qualified for regionals last year after earning district runner-up status as a 106-pounder. He’s finished second at both the Patrick J. Morales Memorial Tournament and Mercer VFW Tournament this season. Chamberlain will be making his district debut. The first-year varsity wrestler is ranked 26th statewide and third regionally.
Seed: 1st Evan Davis, Sr. (22-8) – Clearfield
2nd Elijah Brosius, So. (24-8) – Cranberry
3rd Cole Bish, Sr. (23-7) – Redbank Valley
4th A.J. Barnes, Sr. (17-6) – Sheffield
5th Antonio Thornton, Jr. (9-16) – Brookville
Don’t Sleep On: 7th seed – Nick Wilfong, Fr. (14-11) – Port Allegany
Notes: Davis and Brosius are the only top five seeds entering the district tournament ranked – Davis is 15th in the state and second regionally, while Brosius is 16th statewide and third in the Northwest. A 3A state qualifier in 2022, Davis will be looking for his first district title after three consecutive runner-up finishes, last season’s coming at 113 pounds. He earned his first regional tournament placement a year ago, third, after failing to finish on the podium in his two previous trips. Davis placed in one tournament this season, a second at the Thomas Automotive. Brosius, competing at 106 pounds last postseason, won districts, was third at regionals, and eighth at states. This year he’s finished first at three tournaments – the NursePro Plus, Howland Invitational, and Fred Bell. Bish is a two-time regional qualifier, doing so at 113 pounds in 2022 after finishing second at districts. He placed third at the district tournament in 2021. Bish’s accolades this season include a third at the Hickory Invitational Tournament the first weekend of the season and fourth at the Bo Wood Tournament. Barnes, who did not compete in the postseason last year, has twice wrestled at districts, but never placed. He was first in his weight class at the Mercer VFW and Allegheny Mountain Championships. This will be Thornton’s first postseason appearance.
Seed: 1st Cole Householder, So. (29-5) – Brookville
2nd Colton Ryan, Fr. (18-11) – Clearfield
3rd Cole Neil, Sr. (14-8) – Saint Marys
4th Brandon Murray, Fr. (17-9) – Cranberry
5th Brett Moss, Sr. (14-12) – Coudersport
Don’t Sleep On: 7th seed – Dylan Deluccia, So. (19-9) – Curwensville
Notes: Householder finished seventh at 120 pounds in Hershey last season after winning both districts and regionals. Ranked fourth in the state and first regionally, he placed second at this year’s Mid-Winter Mayhem. This is Ryan’s first season as a varsity grappler. He’s ranked 28th in the state poll and sixth in the northwest. Neil was second at the 3A district tournament in 2022, qualifying for regionals as a 120-pounder. Like Ryan, this will be Murray’s first district tournament. Murray took third at the Howland Invitational. Moss will be looking to place for the first time at districts, missing out in 2022 and 2021. He was third at the recent Allegheny Mountain Championships.
Seed: 1st Parker Pisarchick, So. (27-5) – Brockway
2nd Brecken Cieleski, Sr. (21-11) – Brookville
3rd Conner Reszkowski, So. (25-8) – Cranberry
4th Collin Brown, Sr. (26-6) – Sheffield
5th Colton Bumbarger, Fr. (11-16) – Clearfield
Don’t Sleep On: 6th seed – Cullen Catalone, Fr. (9-2) – Saint Marys
Notes: Pisarchick is ranked 12th in the state and second in the NW Region. Last season he qualified for states at 132 pounds after finishing second at districts and fourth at regionals. This season Pisarchick was first at the Darren Klingerman Invitational. Cieleski was a first-time regional qualifier in 2022, having placed third at districts as a 145-pounder. He’s ranked 14th in Pennsylvania and third in the NW Region. Reszkowski was a regional qualifier a year ago at 120 pounds, finishing fourth at districts. This season he was third at the Nursing ProPlus and won his weight class at the Howland Invitational. Brown will be looking to qualify for regionals after coming up short the past three years. So far this season he was fourth at the Hickory Invitational, third at the Mercer VFW, and first at the Allegheny Mountain Championships. Bumbarger will be wrestling in his first varsity postseason.
Seed: 1st Brady Collins, So. (29-3) – Clearfield
2nd Dane Wenner, So. (28-7) – Cranberry
3rd Ben Reynolds, So. (12-9) – Saint Marys
4th Chase Kyler, Jr. (21-9) – Sheffield
5th Colton Ross, So. (19-10) – Brockway
Don’t Sleep On: 6th seed – Tony Ceriani, So. (8-12) – Brookville
Notes: Collins and Wenner are both ranked in the top five statewide – the former third (first regionally) and the latter fifth (third in the Northwest). A 3A state qualifier last year at 126 pounds, Collins was first at districts and third at regionals. This season he was runner-up at the Tom Best Memorial Top Hat and Thomas Automotive tournaments while finishing third at Mid-Winter Mayhem. Wenner placed third at districts competing as a 138-pounder a year ago, advancing to regionals. He won his weight class at the NursePro Plus and Howland Invitational and was third at Fred Bell. Reynolds, runner-up in the 145-pound class at this season’s St. Marys Kick-off Classic, is making his first district tournament appearance. Kyler qualified for regionals in 2021 but missed out last year when he competed as a 113-pounder. His tournament results include a fourth at the Hickory Invitational (127 pounds), a third at the Mercer VFW (139 pounds), and first at the Allegheny Mountain Championships (139 pounds). Ross qualified for regionals at 120 pounds last season after placing third at districts.
Seed: 1st Avery Bittler, Fr. (23-9) – Johnsonburg
2nd Jaden Wehler, So. (20-9) – Saint Marys
3rd Nik Fegert, Sr. (23-10) – Curwensville
4th Ty Aveni, So. (20-9) – Clearfield
5th Nolan Barnett, Fr. (13-14) – Redbank Valley
Don’t Sleep On: 8th seed – Jacob Henry, Fr. (21-9) – Clarion
Notes: Three of the top five seeds enter districts with a state ranking – Bittler 19th (third regionally), Wehler 21st (fourth regionally), and Fegert 24th (fifth regionally). This will be Bittler’s first varsity-level postseason. He was fourth at the season-opening Hickory Invitational, competing then as a 152-pounder. Wehler was at 138 pounds last postseason but did not advance out of 3A districts. He took first at the St. Mary’s Kick-off Classic that opened the current campaign. Fegert, first at the Inter-County Conference Tournament, has qualified for regionals the past two years. He was third at districts as a 132-pounder in 2022 and as a 126-pounder in 2021. Aveni qualified for regionals last year at this weight after finishing fourth at the 3A district tournament. This is Barnett’s first crack at districts.
Seed: 1st Mason Gourley, So. (27-4) – Clarion
2nd Reece Bechakas, Jr. (27-5) – Kane
3rd Devyn Fleeger, Jr. (23-11) – Cranberry
4th Andrew Wolfanger, Jr. (30-8) – Saint Marys
5th Kaden Dennis, Jr. (20-7) – Johnsonburg
Don’t Sleep On: 6th seed – Rylan Arnold, Jr. (22-8) – Port Allegany
Notes: The top four seeds carry state rankings into the district tournament – Dennis 17th (third in the NW Region), Gourley 20th (fourth in the NW Region), Bechakas 21st (fifth in the NW Region), and Wolfanger 22nd (sixth in the NW Region). Gourley was runner-up to Bechakas at district’s last year, both subsequently advancing to regionals at 145 pounds. Bechakas earned a berth in the state tournament after finishing third at regionals. In tournament competition this season, Gourley was third at the Patrick J. Morales Memorial and first at the Mercer VFW. Bechakas’s individual accolades for 2022-2023 include second at the Hickory Invitational, with firsts at the Patrick J. Morales Memorial and Allegheny Mountain Championships. Fleeger qualified for regionals last year at this weight following a runner-up finish at districts. He was third at the NursePro Plus to open the season and then took first at the Howland Invitational. Wolfanger, a 3A regional qualifier at 145 pounds after placing fourth at districts, won this season’s St. Mary’s Kick-off Classic and was fourth at the Panther Holiday Classic. Dennis won districts as a 172-pounder in 2022, going on to finish second at regionals and qualify for the state tournament. In 2021 he was district runner-up at 152 pounds, replicating his 2020 placement at 145 pounds. Competing as a 160-pounder, Dennis was second at the Hickory Invitational to open this season. He also competed as a 160-pounder at the Panther Holiday Classic, finishing fourth.
Seed: 1st Aiden Zimmerman, Sr. (26-5) – Johnsonburg
2nd Luke Ely, Sr. (23-10) – Kane
3rd Coyha Brown, Sr. (25-8) – Brookville
4th Logan Aughenbaugh, Jr. (27-8) – Curwensville
5th Mason Gordon, So. (13-14) – Port Allegany
Don’t Sleep On: 6th seed – Carter Freeland, Fr. (20-9) – Clearfield
Notes: Another bracket in which four of the top five seeds are state-ranked – Zimmerman 15th (fourth in the NW Region), Ely 16th (fifth in the NW Region), Brown 17th (sixth in the NW Region), and Aughenbaugh 20th (seventh in the NW Region). Zimmerman is a two-time state qualifier, placing sixth last year at 160 pounds. He’s won districts the past two seasons, doing so at 152 pounds as a sophomore. Zimmerman was the regional champion in 2022 and runner-up in 2021. Zimmerman opened the season at 172 pounds with a runner-up finish at the Hickory Invitational, took second at the Panther Holiday Classic (also at 172 pounds), and then wrestled as a 160-pounder at the Ultimate Warrior Tournament, finishing third. Ely is a three-time regional qualifier at three different weights – 160 pounds in 2022, 152 pounds in 2021, and 138 pounds in 2020. He had his highest finish at districts last season, placing second after coming in third as a sophomore and fourth as a freshman. Ely finished fourth at the Hickory Invitational, second at the Patrick J. Morales Memorial, and was runner-up at the Allegheny Mountain Championship. Brown qualified for his first regional tournament in 2022, having placed third at districts in this weight class. Aughenbaugh is a two-time regional qualifier, making the trip to Sharon a year ago as a 152-pounder after winning districts. He had a first-place finish at the Inter-County Conference Tournament to start his season. This is Gordon’s first varsity-level postseason. He was third at the recent Alleghany Mountain Championships.
Seed: 1st Waylon Wehler, Sr. (28-3) – Saint Marys
2nd Rayce Milliard, Sr. (28-9) – Johnsonburg
3rd Addison Plants, Sr. (17-7) – Kane
4th John Wright, So. (19-8) – Coudersport
5th Trenton Mead, Jr. (19-13) – Sheffield
Don’t Sleep On: 6th seed – Easton Belfiore, So. (13-12) – Brookville
Notes: Wehler was a 3A state qualifier in 2022, winning both districts and regionals at this weight. The year prior, he won the 3A district tournament in the 189-pound weight class. He’s had a pretty successful tournament run so far this season – firsts at the St. Mary’s Kick-off Classic (189 pounds) and Panther Holiday Classic, with thirds at Mid-Winter Mayhem and Fred Bell. He’ll enter his final district tournament ranked ninth in Pennsylvania and third in the NW Region. Milliard qualified for regionals at 132 pounds in 2021 but missed doing so in 2022 when he competed as a 145-pounder. Ranked 20th in the state and sixth regionally, Milliard started this season with a third-place finish at the Hickory Invitational wrestling as a 160-pounder. Plants recently won his weight class at the Allegheny Mountain Championships. He will be looking to advance to regionals for the first time in his career, coming up short at 152 pounds as a freshman and 172 pounds as a sophomore. Wright qualified for regionals at 160 pounds a year ago following a fourth place at districts. He had a third at the Hickory Invitational to start the season. Mead wrestled his first district tournament last year, doing so at 138 pounds. He has a pair of fourth-place tournament finishes this season – at the Hickory Invitational and Mercer VFW.
Seed: 1st Jackson Zimmerman, Sr. (29-4) – Brookville
2nd Seth Stewart, Sr. (24-5) – Brockway
3rd Carter Chamberlain, Jr. (29-4) – Clearfield
4th Juuso Young, So. (15-4) – Port Allegany
5th Chase Irwin, Sr. (22-12) – Curwensville
Don’t Sleep On: Unseeded – Beau Azzato, Sr. (12-4) – Cameron County
Notes: Zimmerman qualified for states at this weight last season, following a second-place performance at districts and a third at regionals. In 2021, he was district runner-up at 172 pounds. Ranked sixth in the state and first in the region, Zimmerman finished second at Mid-Winter Mayhem and took third at the King of the Mountain Tournament. Stewart is ranked 11th in Pennsylvania and second in the NW Region. He placed sixth at the state tournament a year ago at this weight, capping off a postseason that saw him win districts and earn the second step of the podium at regionals. Stewart also qualified for regionals in 2021 at 189 pounds. He’s placed first at two tournaments this season – the Darren Klingerman Invitational and Ultimate Warrior. Chamberlain finished eighth in the 3A state tournament last season at 189 pounds, following up a district championship and second place at regionals. He was the district runner-up at 172 pounds in 2021, qualifying for regionals. Chamberlain, ranked 9th in the state poll and second regionally, was third at the Tom Best Memorial Top Hat and Thomas Automotive tournaments. Young, who placed first at this season’s Allegheny Mountain Championships, was a regional qualifier in this weight class a year ago, having finished fourth at districts. This will be Irwin’s third attempt to place at the district tournament.
Seed: 1st Brayden McFetridge, Sr. (28-4) – Cranberry
2nd Miska Young, Jr. (23-3) – Port Allegany
3rd Gavin Ayers, Jr. (14-2) – Coudersport
4th Trenton Guiher, Jr. (21-10) – Curwensville
5th Logan Edmonds, Sr. (18-8) – Clarion
Don’t Sleep On: 6th seed – Gavin Hannah, So. (22-8) – Brookville
Notes: McFetridge qualified for his first regional tournament last season, going to Sharon as the district runner-up. It was his first time qualifying for regionals after failing to place at districts the two years prior. He has a pair of first-place tournament finishes so far this season – at the Howland Invitational and Fred Bell. He’ll enter his final district tournament ranked 19th in Pennsylvania and fifth in the NW Region. Young, ranked 16th in the state poll and fifth in the northwest, was a regional qualifier at this weight a year ago, taking third at districts. This season he was third at Ultimate Warrior and second at the Allegheny Mountain Championships. Ayers is ranked 15th statewide and third regionally. A winner at this year’s Mercer VFW and Allegheny Mountain Championships, Ayers finished fourth at districts last season at 215 pounds, advancing to the regional tournament. Guiher did not place in his only district appearance (2022), while Edmonds has never placed higher than sixth (2022) in three previous district tournaments. Edmonds was third at the Mercer VFW this season.
Seed: 1st Carson Neely, So. (27-0) – Port Allegany
2nd Gavin Thompson, Sr. (28-5) – Brockway
3rd Cooper Rossman, Sr. (20-5) – Coudersport
4th Baily Miller, Sr. (18-7) – Brookville
5th Gabe Carroll, Sr. (16-8) – Redbank Valley
Don’t Sleep On: 6th seed – Josh Beal, Jr. (18-5) – Clarion
Notes: Neely, entering his first district tournament, is undefeated this season after going 4-9 in 2021-2022. Ranked fifth in the state and first regionally, he won his weight class at Ultimate Warrior. Thompson won districts at this weight last season. He was district runner-up in 2020, qualifying for regionals. Thompson was second at this season’s Mid-Winter Mayhem and third at Ultimate Warrior. Rossman, ranked sixth regionally, opened the season with a third at the Hickory Invitational and, more recently, was second at the Allegheny Mountain Championships. He’s looking to advance to regionals after not placing high enough to do so in three previous attempts. Miller, making his district debut, is ranked 11th in the state poll and third in the regional. Carroll did not place in 2022, his only district appearance.