By BRIAN CARSON
ALTOONA—Nine area wrestlers battled through the Southwest Regional Class 2A championships on Saturday to finish in the top six and advance to Hershey.
Bald Eagle Area crowned two champions in Lucas Fye (121) and Caleb Close (172), with Coen Bainey (127) finishing third.
Penns Valley had one champ in Tyler Watson (152) and qualified Colten Shunk (133) and Kollin Brungart (215), who were fifth and sixth, respectively.
Juniata’s Taylor Smith took third at 139; Bellefonte’s Gage Long (145) was fifth, and Philipsburg-Osceola got a sixth from Caleb Hummel (107).
Fye reached the finals with a 10-0 major decision over McGuffey’s Lucas Barr in the semis. The Eagle junior eked out a tough 4-3 decision over United’s Gideon Bracken in the finals. Fye had a takedown in the first and two escapes in the second period.
Close breezed into the semifinals with consecutive falls before beating Isaac Lacinski of Burrell 3-0 and Tyrone’s Kyle Scott in the finals 5-0.
Bainey, the top seed, fell 8-1 to Bentworth’s Chris Vargo in the semifinals. The BEA senior battled back with a fall in 2:03 over Montour’s Anthony Orlandini, and a 2-0 win over Kobi Burkett of Chestnut Ridge for third, thanks to a third-period reversal.
Watson won his championship with a 6-0 victory against Frazier’s Ryan Celaschi. The Ram senior made the finals with a 4-2 win over Beth-Center’s Tyler Berish.
Shunk qualified for states with a pin in 4:04 over Hunter Forcellini of Forest Hills in the blood round. He defeated Mason Weyandt of Chestnut Ridge 7-6 for fifth. The difference being a takedown and three nearfall points in the second.
Brungart punched his ticket to Hershey with a fall in 1:19 over Central Cambria’s Karter Quick in the consolation quarterfinals. Brungart dropped a 4-3 decision to Christian McChesney of Greensburg-Salem for fifth.
Smith came up short in the semifinals to eventual champion Joey Sentipal of Burgettstown, 7-0. The Indian senior eked out a 7-6 decision over Bentworth’s Owen Ivcic in the blood round. Smith reversed Burrell’s Niko Ferra to his back for a 12-8 win in the tiebreaker of their third-place bout.
Short pinned Frazier’s Jonah Erdely in 4:35 for fifth place. The Red Raider advanced to states with a 5-4 victory over Beth-Center’s Tyler Debner. Hummel advanced with a 6-3 win over Derry’s Anthony Mucci in the consolation quarters. The Mountie freshman dropped a 1-0 match to United’s Jacob Sombronski in the ultimate tiebreaker for fifth.
Placing seventh were Penns Valley’s Jack Darlington (114), and Brayden Lisowski (121), along with Jeffre Pifer (152) from BEA.
Finishing eighth for the Mounties were Nate Fleck (133) and Marcus Gable (114). The Eagles got an eighth from Cameron Dubbs (189).
BEA finished second in the team race with 96.5 points. Penns Valley was sixth with 69 points. Chestnut Ridge came in first with 127.5 points.
The PIAA Class 2A championships begin on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. at the Giant Center in Hershey.