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3 State College wrestlers earn Regional titles, 2 Centre County girls win districts

Last year, State College had five PIAA Class 3A Northwest Regional finalists, and all five won.

This year, the Little Lions had five finalists again, but only three were able to claim gold on Saturday.

James Whitbred (133 pounds), Asher Cunningham (160) and Nick Pavlechko (285) are all headed to Hershey with regional titles under their belts. Noah Young (107) and Pierson Manville (145) will be joining them, but they’ll be looking to bounce back from finals losses.

Cunningham and Pavlechko pinned their way into the finals. They added bonus points in the finals.

State College’s Asher Cunningham controls Mifflin County’s Deakon Schaeffer in their 160-pound PIAA Class 3A Northwest Regional final match on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 at Altoona. Cunningham beat Schaeffer, 27-11, in 4:41.
State College’s Asher Cunningham controls Mifflin County’s Deakon Schaeffer in their 160-pound PIAA Class 3A Northwest Regional final match on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 at Altoona. Cunningham beat Schaeffer, 27-11, in 4:41.

Cunningham snapped off a total of 13 takedowns against Mifflin County’s Deakon Schaeffer. He had five in the first period to lead 10-4.

The second period saw Cunningham rattled off seven more takedowns to grow his lead to 24-11.

The junior had a quick escape and a final takedown to secure a 27-11 technical fall in 4:41. It was his third straight regional title.

“It’s nothing different. It’s just more matches. I’m just building for the state tournament,” Cunningham said. “I feel no different. I feel ready to go, so we’ll see what happens.”

Pavlechko faced off with a familiar foe in Hollidaysburg’s Wyatt Maines.

State College’s Nick Pavlechko looks to finish off a takedown of Hollidaysburg’s Wyatt Maines in their 285-pound PIAA Class 3A Northwest Regional final match on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 in Altoona. Pavlechko pinned Maines in 59 seconds.
State College’s Nick Pavlechko looks to finish off a takedown of Hollidaysburg’s Wyatt Maines in their 285-pound PIAA Class 3A Northwest Regional final match on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 in Altoona. Pavlechko pinned Maines in 59 seconds.

A week ago, Pavlechko pinned Maines for his third district title in 56 seconds.

The results were the same on Saturday with Pavlechko sticking Maines again, except this one took 3 seconds longer. It was the Indiana commit’s third regional crown.

“This is just another step, so yeah, pretty cool. It’s pretty good. I’m just going to keep working on things back in the room,” Pavlechko said.

Whitbred has flown under the radar all season long as a freshman, but it’s safe to say everyone knows who he is now.

State College’s James Whitbred controls Punxsutawney’s Jordan Rutan in their 133 pound PIAA Class 3A Northwest Regional final on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 in Altoona. Whitbred beat Rutan, 9-3, for his first regional crown.
State College’s James Whitbred controls Punxsutawney’s Jordan Rutan in their 133 pound PIAA Class 3A Northwest Regional final on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 in Altoona. Whitbred beat Rutan, 9-3, for his first regional crown.

After topping a state qualifier, he topped the District 10 champion in Hickory’s Dylan O’Brien, 3-0, to make the finals. Whitbred then dominated the District 4/9 champion in Punxsutawney’s Jordan Rutan, 9-3.

Whitbred opened with a takedown. He had a reversal in the second period to lead 4-2. The third period saw the freshman tack on another takedown and put Rutan to his back for nearfall points.

“I was real excited. I was looking forward to this opportunity. It was a big opportunity to come in here, wrestle to the finals and win it,” Whitbred said. “It feels really good. It’s exciting. It makes me real confident for the up and coming stuff.”

Young and Manville each suffered losses to a pair of Central Mountain wrestlers in differing fashions.

State College’s Pierson Manville, right, and Central Mountain’s Luke Simcox looking for a scoring opportunity in their 145 pounds PIAA Class 3A Northwest Regional final on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 in Altoona. Simcox topped Manville, 3-2, in ultimate tiebreaker.
State College’s Pierson Manville, right, and Central Mountain’s Luke Simcox looking for a scoring opportunity in their 145 pounds PIAA Class 3A Northwest Regional final on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 in Altoona. Simcox topped Manville, 3-2, in ultimate tiebreaker.

Manville made his third regional final by pinning Cathedral Prep’s Gabe Dorman in 40 seconds. He took on the Wildcats’ Luke Simcox, who injury defaulted to Manville in the district finals last week.

This time the pair squared off and showed fans what could be the PIAA final in two weeks.

They traded escapes in regulation. They then traded escapes in rideout periods. Simcox had the choice for the final period since he scored the first points.

He choose to start from the bottom position and escaped 4 seconds in to secure a 3-2 win, and his fourth regional crown.

State College’s Noah Young looks to finish off a shot attempt on Central Mountain’s Gavin Heverly in their 107 pound PIAA Class 3A Northwest Regional final on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 in Altoona. Heverly pinned Young in 4:40.
State College’s Noah Young looks to finish off a shot attempt on Central Mountain’s Gavin Heverly in their 107 pound PIAA Class 3A Northwest Regional final on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 in Altoona. Heverly pinned Young in 4:40.

Young, who is a freshman, made his first regional final by shutting out Mifflin County’s Andrew Alexander, 10-0, in the semifinals.

He took on another freshman in Central Mountain’s Gavin Heverly. The pair were tied midway through the second period, but things changed in Heverly’s favor.

The Wildcats wrestler escaped to a 4-3 lead and took Young down before the second period ended. Heverly took Young down a third time in the third period, but this time pinned the Little Lion in 4:40.

“It was great having Noah in the finals, to get some great experience. He had a tough match as Central Mountain is tough. He did a nice job and hung in,” State College coach Ryan Cummins said. “I’m sure it’ll definitely probably push (Manville) here this next next week and a half to states. It gives him some other things to work on. It’s as close as it gets. It was a great match, and I imagine we’ll probably see it again.”

Jon Whitbred (114) and Jacob Campbell (139) had a great run through the consolation bracket after dropping down with quarterfinals losses on Friday.

Whitbred opened with a 9-0 major decision over Shikellamy’s Max Hallman. He used a tough 3-0 win over DuBois’ Antonio Giambanco to reach the consolation semifinals.

Whitbred was pinned by Williamsport’s Collin Nasdeo in 2:45. He then finished fifth with a 4-2 win over Hollidaysburg’s Logan Krupka.

Campbell made short work of his first consolation opponent in Carrick’s Mason Maxwell with a pin in 50 seconds. The senior then rallied for an 8-6 victory over Altoona’s Wyatt Young in sudden victory.

He suffered a 17-2 technical fall in 4:50 to DuBois’ Davey Aughenbaugh. Campbell saw his high school career end with a fifth-place finish after topping Hickory’s Mikey Reardon, 5-1.

The day didn’t start too well for the Little Lions as they saw Jonathan Coates (0-2, 121 pounds) and Nick Berrena (1-2, 127) get eliminated early.

Centre County pair claim first girls district titles

The first district tournament for girls wrestling took place on Saturday inside the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown’s arena.

There were 23 schools that competed from Districts 5, 6 and 9.

Bald Eagle Area, Philipsburg-Osceola and State College combined to send four wrestlers into the finals with the Lady Eagles having two of those finalists.

BEA’s Angelina Grieb and the Lady Mounties’ Isabella DuVall were able to claim the first district titles in the schools’ and county’s history.

Grieb’s teammate Grace Crestani and the Lady Little Lions’ Anna Lackey were the other finalists.

In all, there were 13 wrestlers looking to make next weekend’s regional at Milton High School. Twelve of those wrestlers secured spots by finishing in the top six of their weight class.

“It was a packed house. It kind of freaked out some of the girls at first. It took a little bit to calm their nerves,” P-O coach Chris McCully said. “It was the biggest crowd that any of our girls wrestled in front of. I think they were shell shocked, but it was great.”

DuVall and Grieb each saw success last year in the girls state championships with the latter coming away with a second-place finish. Each recorded bonus points throughout their entire championship run.

Bald Eagle Area’s Angelina Grieb won the 148 pound District 5/6/9 title on Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. Grieb earned a 19-6 major decision over Curwensville’s Gabrielle Bambarger.
Bald Eagle Area’s Angelina Grieb won the 148 pound District 5/6/9 title on Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. Grieb earned a 19-6 major decision over Curwensville’s Gabrielle Bambarger.

Grieb pinned Juniata’s Elizabeth Fultz in the semifinals in 48 seconds.

In the finals, she racked up a 19-6 major decision to top Curwensville’s Gabrielle Bambarger.

“It feels amazing. Honestly, just the fact that we are making history now, and I get to be part of BEA’s first champion in our first district tournament is just amazing,” Grieb said.

DuVall opened by flattening State College’s Christine Armstrong in 18 seconds in the semifinals.

Her finals match took longer than she wanted, but the result was the same, a pin of Bamberger’s teammate in Savannah Carfley in 3:29.

“I was kind of mad because it was harder than I wanted it to be,” DuVall said. “I was also super excited because I freaking won.”

Lackey and Crestani had similar paths en route to their second place finishes.

State College’s Anna Lackey and Bald Eagle Area’s Eden Eveleth finished second and third, respectively, at 106 pounds in the first girls District 5/6/9 tournament on Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.
State College’s Anna Lackey and Bald Eagle Area’s Eden Eveleth finished second and third, respectively, at 106 pounds in the first girls District 5/6/9 tournament on Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.

Lackey earned a first-period fall of Crestani’s teammate in Eden Eveleth in the semifinals. The victory came with 5 seconds remaining.

In the finals, Lackey was pinned by Northern Bedford’s Kaylee Ebersole in 51 seconds.

“She’s been a really amazing leader this season. I was telling her that I admire her a lot for only being committed to wrestling for two years,” State College coach Eshia Willingham said, “and the amount of technique and strength she has, is amazing to me. I’m proud to be associated with her, and be her coach. She’s put the hard work in and it shows.”

Crestani, who was the No. 2 seed, had a bye into the semifinals.

She collected a first-period pin of Redbank Valley’s Keyanna Schimp in 1:16. In the finals, she took on Bishop McCort’s Alyssa Favara, who claimed a state title last year.

Favara snapped off two quick takedowns on Crestani, and pinned her in 41 seconds.

“She is quite an athlete. She is the real deal. We might not see her again,” Lady Eagles coach Eddie Hockenberry said, “so that will be a positive outlook, knowing that the next couple of girls that we wrestle, we’ll be pretty competitive against. Grace is just coming off being sick for a couple of weeks, so we are pretty happy.”

Philipsburg-Osceola celebrates their six district medalists after the District 5/6/9 Tournament on Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.
Philipsburg-Osceola celebrates their six district medalists after the District 5/6/9 Tournament on Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.

P-O has the most regional qualifiers with six.

DuVall will be joined by Veda Kephart (sixth, 118 pounds), Marleana DuVall (fourth, 130), Charli Hunt (fourth, 136), Annabella Hunt (sixth, 142) and Daisy Glessner (fourth, 170).

“We’ve had a good year. We’ve expected all season long we’d have all seven through, but we fell one shy,” McCully said. “We wrestled pretty well today. There is a lot of things we need to fine tune. We got caught in a lot of headlocks today. We had some bright spots from girls who placed higher than expected to.”

Bald Eagle Area’s (from the left) Grace Crestani, Angelina Grieb and Eden Eveleth celebrate winning their first district medals together at the District 5/6/9 Tournament on Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.
Bald Eagle Area’s (from the left) Grace Crestani, Angelina Grieb and Eden Eveleth celebrate winning their first district medals together at the District 5/6/9 Tournament on Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.

Eveleth will be joining her teammates, Grieb and Crestani, as she rebounded from the loss to Lackey by placing third.

All of Lackey’s teammates, Sophia Fomichev (fifth, 100), Armstrong (fifth, 124) and Starlynn Emel-Rash (fifth, 170) will be joining her next week.

“Overall, we were really nervous. We knew at least one of them would have a spot into regionals,” Willingham said. “It was a very long day, and I think that might have affected a couple of them at the end of the day. They still worked really hard. I couldn’t ask for more.”

PIAA Class 3A Northwest Regional

At Altoona

Team key: Altoona (A), Bradford (B), Brashear (BS), Carrick (C), Cathedral Prep (CP), Central Mountain (CM), Columbia Montour Vo-Tech (CMVT), DuBois (D), Hickory (HY), Hollidaysburg (H), Jersey Shore (JS), McDowell (M), Meadville (MV), Mifflin County (MC), Obama Academy (O), Punxsutawney (P), Selinsgrove (S), Shikellamy (SY), State College (SC), Taylor Allderdice (T), Westinghouse (W), Williamsport (WS)

Team scores: 1. Central Mountain 177, 2. Mifflin County 155, 3. Shikellamy 153, 4. State College 151, 5. Cathedral Prep 126, 6. Selinsgrove 109; 7. Meadville 104, 8. Hickory 100, 9. Altoona 92, 10. DuBois 77

Saturday’s results

Finals

107: Gavin Heverly, CM, pinned Noah Young, SC, 4:40; 114: Elijah Scriven, HY, dec. Braiden Weaver, A, 4-2; 121: Aiden Kunes, CM, dec. Brody Bishop, HY, 6-1; 127: Keegan Oler, CP, dec. Brady Slicker, HY, 9-5; 133: James Whitbred, SC, dec. Jordan Rutan, P, 9-3; 139: Brock Weiss, JS, dec. Dalton Perry, CM, 9-8; 145: Luke Simcox, CM, dec. Pierson Manville, SC, 3-2 (UTB 2); 152: Luke Sipes, A, dec. Griffin Walizer, CM, 3-0; 160: Asher Cunningham, SC, tech. fall Deakon Schaeffer, MC, 27-11 (4:41); 172: Connor Wetzel, SY, major dec. Avery Aurand, MC, 9-1; 189: Tucker Teats, S, pinned Nariq Burks, WS, 1:45; 215: Rocco Serafini, CM, dec. Brody Rebuck, SY, 1-0; 285: Nick Pavlechko, SC, pinned Wyatt Maines, H, :59

5th-Place Match

114: Jon Whitbred, SC, dec. Logan Krupka, H, 4-2; 139: Jacob Campbell, SC, dec. Mikey Reardon, HY, 4-1

Consolation Semifinals

114: Collin Nasdeo, WS, pinned Jon Whitbred, 2:45; 139: Davey Aughenbaugh, D, tech. fall Jacob Campbell, SC, 17-2 (4:50)

Semifinals

107: Young, SC, major dec. Andrew Alexander, MC, 10-0; 133: Ja. Whitbred, SC, dec. Dylan O’Brien, HY, 3-0; 145: Manville, SC, pinned Gabe Dorman, CP, :40; 160: Cunningham, SC, pinned Bo Martucci, CP, 1:38; 285: Pavlechko, SC, pinned Jack Peters, S, 3:25

Consolation Quarterfinals

114: Whitbred, SC, dec. Antonio Giambanco, D, 3-0; 139: Campbell, SC, dec. Wyatt Young, A, 8-6 (SV)

Consolation Second Round

114: Jo. Whitbred, SC, major dec. Max Hallman, SY, 9-0; 127: Gavin Ciampoli, A, major dec. Nick Berrena, SC, 9-1; 139: Campbell, SC, pinned Mason Maxwell, C, :50

Consolation First Round

121: Zander Billings, CMVT, pinned Jonathan Coates, SC, 4:00; 127: Berrena, SC, pinned Hunter Dobson, P, :21

District 5/6/9 Girls Championships

At University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Johnstown

Team key: Bald Eagle Area (BEA), Bedford (B), Bellwood-Antis (B-A), Bishop McCort (BM), Bradford (BF), Central Mountain (CM), Chestnut Ridge (CR), Clearfield (C), Curwensville (CW), Johnstown (JT), Juniata (J), Meyersdale (M), Moshannon Valley (MV), Northern Bedford (NB), Penn Cambria (PC), Philipsburg-Osceola (P-O), Punxsutawney (P), Redbank Valley (RV), Southern Huntingdon (SH), State College (SC), Tyrone (T), United (U), West Branch (WB)

Team scores: 1. Bishop McCort 121, 2. Curwensville 97, 3. Central Mountain 93, 4. Philipsburg-Osceola 69, 5. Chestnut Ridge 68, 6. Northern Bedford 64, 7. Bald Eagle Area 56, 8. United 53, 9. Redbank Valley 51, 10. State College 46

Finals

100: Autumn Shoff, MV, pinned Emma Taladay, RV, 1:37; 106: Kaylee Ebersole, NB, pinned Anna Lackey, SC, :51; 112: Lane Fordyce, BM, pinned Cayla Jenkins, SH, :18; 118: Jovie Forrest, BM, pinned Amelia Smith, J, 1:21; 124: Isabella DuVall, P-O, pinned Savannah Carfley, CW, 3:29; 130: Patron Plummer, CR, pinned Emily Dennis, NB, :14; 136: Jordyn Fouse, BM, pinned Kalea Dey, CR, 1:09; 142: Violette Lasure, CR, pinned Sayona Harris-Haye, JT, 2:56; 148: Angelina Grieb, BEA, major dec. Gabrielle Bambarger, CW, 19-6; 155: Raegan Snider, NB, pinned Camryn Steinbuch, B, 1:21; 170: Jael Miller, P, forfeit Kendall Wagner, CM; 190: Alyssa Favara, BM, pinned Grace Crestani, BEA, :41; 235: Mylah Steinbuch, B, pinned Ashlyn Miller, CM, 3:01

Consolation finals

106: Eden Eveleth, BEA, major dec. Holly Schnarrs, WB, 8-0; 130: Kennedy Metzger, CM, pinned Marleana DuVall, P-O, 1:30; 136: Lilliana Rodriguez, BF, pinned Charli Hunt, P-O, 4:15; 170: Aylee Johnston, C, pinned Daisy Glessner, P-O, 1:54

5th-place Match

100: Sophia Fomichev, SC, pinned Abbegail Stake, SH, 2:09; 118: Rylee Horner, U, pinned Veda Kephart, P-O, :49; 124: Christine Armstrong, SC, dec. Bethany Reichard, J, 5-4; 142: Sophia Hoy, CM, injury def. Annabella Hunt, P-O, :01; 170: Starlynn Emel-Rash, SC, pinned Makenna Monrean, RV, 4:05

Consolation Semifinals

100: Sierra Oleksa, U, dec. Fomichev, SC, 5-3; 106: Eveleth, BEA, pinned Jordin Peoples, CW, 2:36; 118: Skylar Turner, CW, pinned Kephart, P-O, 3:55; 124: Jessica McGuire, BM, pinned Armstrong, SC, 2:19; 130: M. DuVall, P-O, pinned Matilyn McCracken, CW, :38; 136: C. Hunt, P-O, pinned Austynn Falls, CM, 4:24; 142: Tessa Queen, CW, injury def. A. Hunt, P-O, :01; 170: Glessner, P-O, pinned Emel-Rash, SC, 1:55

Consolation Quarterfinals

170: Emel-Rash, SC, pinned Kylee Hilterman, CW, 2:33

Semifinals

100: Taladay, RV, pinned Fomichev, SC, 4:39; 106: Lackey, SC, pinned Eveleth, BEA, 1:55; 118: Smith, J, pinned Kephart, P-O, 4:45; 124: I. DuVall, P-O, pinned Armstrong, SC, :18; 130: Dennis, NB, pinned M. DuVall, P-O, 1:31; 148: Grieb, BEA, pinned Elizabeth Fultz, J, :48; 170: Miller, P, pinned Glessner, P-O, :43; 190: Crestani, BEA, pinned Keyanna Schimp, RV, 1:16

Consolation Second Round

112: Carliegh Grubbs, BF, pinned Halee Grubb, P-O, 2:08

Quarterfinals

100: Fomichev, SC, pinned Stake, SH, 1:22; 106: Eveleth, BEA, dec. Schnarrs, WB, 8-2; 112: Cayla Jenkins, SH, pinned H. Grubb, P-O, 3:11; 118: Kephart, P-O, pinned Alissa Bowser, RV, 1:49; 124: Armstrong, SC, dec. Reichard, J, 6-2; 136: Rodriguez, BF, pinned C. Hunt, P-O, 3:38; 142: Shelby Shirley, BF, injury def. A. Hunt, P-O, :01; 170: Glessner, P-O, pinned Monrean, RV, 1:34; Johnston, C, pinned Emel-Rash, SC, 1:07