Inclement weather always seems to hamper at least one big wrestling tournament every season.
This time, it’s the Wyoming Valley Conference Tournament that was set to be held today and tomorrow. Due to the snow storm that has been clobbering the Northeast section of the country, the decision was made on Thursday that the event will now be held on Saturday and Sunday at Lake-Lehman High School. It’s the second time in the last four years that the WVC Tournament was affected by winter weather.
Action will begin on Saturday at 11 a.m. and will continue throughout the day with the first two rounds of championship and consolation matches. Wrestling continues Sunday afternoon at 1 with the semifinals followed by the medal matches at 2 p.m. and will wrap up with the finals scheduled for 4 p.m.
The seeding meeting slated for Thursday night was also scratched. Seeds were still released, but the brackets won’t be finalized until Saturday morning.
There certainly won’t be a lack of excitement in any weight class, according to the announced seeds. While many weight classes will consist of intriguing matchups, a few stand out from the rest.
Beginning at 120 pounds, there are many ways the bracket could play out, and chances are it won’t be the way it’s seeded because — let’s face it — it’s rare that these things actually follow the exact way as projected. And the competition at 120 is stacked.
GAR’s returning state qualifier A.J. Luton is the top seed, and for good reason since he has many accolades on his resume. But there will be plenty of top competition in his way of picking up his first Wyoming Valley Conference championship. The No. 2 seed in the bracket is Wyoming Area’s Pat Heck, who stunned Luton at last weekend’s Tunkhannock Kiwanis Wrestling Tournament by winning in a rideout in the final overtime period. Seeded fifth is Wyoming Valley West’s Alex Tirko, who finished third at the tournament last season. And in what could be the lowest seed he may ever receive, Hazleton Area’s highly-touted freshman Jimmy Hoffman is No. 7.
The very next weight, 126, pits a pair of past champions as the top two respective seeds in Pittston Area’s Tyler Lutecki (2013) and Coughlin’s Bobby Hawkins (2012); Hawkins finished third last year.
At 138, past champion Austin Harry from Lake-Lehman is by far the top seed, but in his bracket is second-place finisher from last year in Valley West’s Jon Lagoski and a third-place finisher in Crestwood’s Dan Ritz.
Other returning champions from the past are Wyoming Valley West’s James Wright (113 pounds) and Travis Roper (132), Dallas’ Connor Martinez (170) and Pittston Area’s Jake Vaxmonsky (220). In a strange occurrence, only Roper is the No. 1 seed in his bracket of this group.
The remaining top seeds are Meyers’ Colin Pasone (106), Pittston Area’s Zack Meckes (113), Tunkhannock’s Ben Siegel (145), Berwick’s Zach Kyttle (152), Valley West’s Cody Cordes (160), Lake-Lehman’s Derek Dragon (170) and Brady Butler (182), Crestwood’s Ty Robinson (195), GAR’s Zac Faust (220) and Dallas’ Ryan Monk (285).
At 145, Siegel and the Spartans’ Nathan Cheek both placed second last season. At 160, Cordes was third in 2013 at a very tough weight, while Dallas’ Logan Brace was runner-up in another bracket; Brace is seeded fifth this time around.
Here’s some other notable tidbits from the seedings:
• There are just three unbeaten wrestlers with 10 or more wins entering in Harry (12-0), Siegel (13-0) and Pittston Area’s Kevin Wesolowski (10-0) at 170 pounds.
• Just one weight class (120) has a participant from all 14 WVC teams. There are 13 wrestlers at two weights (160, 182), and there are five brackets that will have 12 wrestlers (113, 138, 145, 170, 285). The bracket with the least amount of wrestlers is 195 with eight.
• Meyers’ Colin Pasone (106) and Dallas’ Ryan Monk (285) are tied for the most wins for any grappler in the event, each having a 14-2 record.
• Hanover Area’s Kyle Holmgren (126) and Anthony Eck (160) and Dallas’ Connor Martinez (170) enter with the most matches wrestled so far this season with 18 apiece.
• Seven wrestlers, with at least nine matches wrestled, enter the event with just one loss. They are Tunkhannock’s Bill Manley (120), Pittston Area’s Tyler Lutecki (126), Wyoming Area’s Charles Johnson (126), Valley West’s Travis Roper (132), Berwick’s Zach Kyttle (152), Lehman’s Brady Butler (182) and GAR’s Zac Faust.
• Pittston Area is the only team with a wrestler entered at every weight. Hazleton Area, Nanticoke, Tunkhannock and Wyoming Valley West have 13 wrestlers entered with just one empty weight. Berwick, Dallas, GAR and Wyoming Area each have 12 wrestlers slated to participate.