Blairsville trio among Heritage Conference wrestlers advancing to regionials
Three Blairsville wrestlers claimed individual titles last weekend at the District 6 Class AA wrestling championships in Altoona.
Noah Tarr (145 pounds), Andrew Doak (152) and Scott Thompson (182) took home first-place hardware at the event, as did Ligonier Valley's Josh Patrick (120). All four wrestlers were seeded No. 1 in their respective brackets.
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to the PIAA Southwest Regional tournament March 1 and 2 in Johnstown.
Patrick entered the tournament unbeaten on the season and stayed that way. After a first-round bye, Patrick collected a second-period pin, a 16-0 second-period technical fall and a 6-0 decision before taking the title with a 9-0 major decision over Cambria Heights' Joseph Davis (28-6) in the finals.
Patrick, who has signed on to wrestle collegiately at Rutgers next year, improved to 25-0 and looks to build on consecutive trips to the podium at the state tournament after finishing fifth at 113 pounds in 2012 and fourth at 112 in 2011.
Tarr, a two-time state tournament qualifier, wrestled at 138 pounds in the regular season but bumped up to the 145-pound weight class for the postseason with excellent results. None of his first three matches reached the third period following a first-round bye. Tarr (34-2) finished his run through the bracket with a 6-4 decision over the second-seeded 145-pounder at the tournament, Penns Valley's Seth Decker.
Doak beat Cambria Heights' Levi Niebauer 6-4 in his championship bout, improving to 34-1 on the year and defending the district crown he earned last year as a freshman.
Doak and Tarr each lost in the regional finals last year, Doak at 152 pounds and Tarr at 138. Doak finished seventh at the state tournament last year.
Thompson, sidelined for the majority of the regular season with a wrist injury, entered the tournament with an 8-0 record and a first-round bye. His conditioning wasn't tested until the finals as he breezed into the championship bout. His first match of the tournament ended with a first-period fall and his second and third matches were over in less than 3:00.
In the title match, Thompson (13-0) edged Penns Valley's Mike Rogers (33-2) by an 8-6 decision.
Ligonier Valley 113-pounder Justin Patrick (30-3) breezed through his first three matches before falling by 6-5 decision to Claysburg-Kimmel's Josh Brown (25-5) in the finals. Justin Patrick won the regional title last year at 106 pounds and finished fourth at the state tournament.
United's Tyler Oliver (27-3) also earned a second-place finish, losing 9-6 in the 195-pound finals to Moshannon Valley's James Stodart (29-2).
United 182-pounder Charles Hropovich qualified for the regional tournament with a fourth-place finish. Hropovich (20-4) reached the championship semifinals before dropping a 14-1 major decision to Rogers. He won his consolation semifinal before bowing out of the third-place match by injury default. Marion Center 106-pounder David Wiles (27-9) also took fourth in his weight class to advance.
Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.