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Charleroi's Gavazzi moving toward AA gold

| Saturday, March 2, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Charleroi junior Nick Gavazzi (behind) wrestles Highlands junior Nolan Wise during their 138-pound quarterfinal bout at the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional wrestling tournament Friday, March 1, 2013, at the Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review

The number of wins climbs, but Nick Gavazzi keeps his head in check.

A perfect record for the season has yet to shake the Charleroi junior 138-pounder, who improved to 33-0 and advanced to the semifinals in the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional championships Friday at the Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown.

Gavazzi, who placed fifth in the tournament last season, will continue his quest for his first regional gold Saturday afternoon when he'll square off with Richland junior Nicholas Naglic, the District 6 runner-up.

“It's just a number,” Gavazzi said of his record. “It doesn't mean anything. You just focus on the next match.”

The recipient of a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed, Gavazzi started in the quartefinals, where he defeated Highlands' Nolan Wise, 12-5.

“You've got to get the errors and all the bad stuff out,” said Gavazzi, who defeated Wise, 12-2, in the WPIAL semifinals.

His one match out of the way, Gavazzi returned to his mission of making a two-day stay in Johnstown fun.

“Just being a kid,” Gavazzi explained. “You mess around. You've got to balance the fun and the seriousness. … You've got to find some fun around the hotel.”

Bentworth had less reason to leave the arena in a light-hearted mood. Of its six regional qualifiers, only one managed to avoid elimination.

Junior 113-pounder Jake Rothka, a fourth-place finisher in the WPIAL, lost his first-round bout, 7-0, to a returning champion, Ligonier Valley's Justin Patrick. But Rothka recovered with a 6-0 decision in his first consolation bout, and he won the following match, 7-3.

He'll begin his Saturday against Beth-Center's Zach Swarrow in a rematch of the WPIAL third-place bout, which Swarrow, won, 7-1.

Senior 132-pounder Trevor Wood, a sixth-place finisher in the WPIAL, started Friday with a surprising 6-3 upset of District 5 runner-up Mason Replogle of Northern Bedford. He then lost, 6-4, in the quarterfinals and dropped a 7-0 decision in the consolation match.

No other Bentworth wrestlers reached the quarterfinals.

Semifinals begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, and the medal matches begin at 5:15 p.m. The top five finishers in each weight class advance to the

PIAA championships, which start Thursday at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at wwest@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

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