WILLIAMSPORT — Wyoming Area’s Charles Johnson is headed back to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Wrestling Championships in Hershey.
Johnson became the first District 2 wrestler to qualify from this year’s Class AA Northeast Regional when he defeated Mike Stuart of Benton, 14-2, in Saturday morning’s 126-pound semifinals.
Johnson turned in one of Friday night’s most dominant performances and Scranton Prep’s Thor Balavage got locked up in one of the tightest battles.
The two juniors posted wins to advance to the semifinals.
Wrestling continued throughout the day Saturday when the top four finishers in each weight class earned spots in the March 5-7 PIAA Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Johnson and Balavage, an Avoca resident, improved their chances with wins in the quarterfinals, the only round wrestled Friday night in Class AA.
District 2 wrestlers struggled through the first night, going 8-34 against their counterparts from District 4.
The local district was winless through three weight classes before Johnson took the mat at 126 pounds and racked up a technical fall, 17-1, over Dalton Revels of Troy.
After Johnson shortened his bout with his dominance, Balavage wound up having to go more than the scheduled six minutes.
Balavage won the 220-pound quarterfinal, 3-1, in overtime over Mount Carmel’s Wesley Shurock.
Johnson’s three Wyoming Area teammates each lost Friday night.
Benton’s Anthony Vitale decisioned Patrick Heck, 5-1, at 132 pounds. Montoursville’s Gavin Hoffman shut out Jude Polit-Moran in an 11-0 major decision at 170. Lewisburg’s Logan Aikey pinned freshman Justin Joseph 57 seconds into their 182-pound bout.
Balavage was the only Scranton Prep wrestler in action.
Brandon Goodlavage won one bout and Jake Vaxmonsky took advantage of the opening bye he earned as District 2 champion as Pittston Area’s only two representatives made it through Friday night to start Saturday in the consolation brackets of the Class AAA Northeast Regional at Bethlehem Liberty.
Goodlavage bounced back from being pinned by Stephane Eugene of George Washington in 1:15 of the preliminary round. He stayed alive at 220 pounds with a 3-1 overtime victory over Miles Mims of Olney Charter.
Friday’s action trimmed the field to four winners’ bracket wrestlers and eight more in the consolation brackets at each AAA weight class.
Vaxmonsky received an opening-round bye at 220. He was then pinned at 1:55 of the quarterfinals by Jason Kocher of Northampton.