By BRIAN CARSON
I’ve been writing about the rise and dominance of private schools in high school wrestling in Pennsylvania, particularly in Class AA.
The latest rankings by PA Power Wrestling brought this point home clearly.
Faith Christian, a small school in Quakertown, was an unknown commodity three short years ago. Now, they are dominating 2A.
The Lions have an amazing 11–ranked wrestlers in their lineup. That is not a misprint. Faith Christian has 11 of their 13 kids state–ranked.
Here is the list:
107: Kole Davidheiser #10
114: Gauge Botero #2
127: Arment Waltenbaugh #11
133: Mason Wagner #7
139: Chase Hontz #4
145: Max Stein #6
152: Cael Weidemoyer #8
160: Luke Sugalski #5
172: Adam Waters #1
189: Jason Singer #12
215: Mark Effendian #4
If the rankings hold out, Faith Christian would have eight PIAA medalists. The record is nine by Bethlehem Catholic in 2014.The Lions would tie Reynolds for the AA mark. The Raiders did it in 2017.
It gets even more ridiculous. The Lions have nine freshmen and four sophomores in their starting lineup. Not one junior or senior.
In junior high, Faith Christian has four kids nationally ranked,with three at the top of their respective weights.
Junior High National Rankings:
85: Fred Bachmann #1 (7th grade)
90: Brayden Wenrich #3 (7th grade)
105: Joe Bachmann #1
145: Nick Singer #1
Two will be up next year, with Joe Bachmann being the top-ranked incoming freshman in PA, according to PA Wrestling Word. As you can see, both newcomers are tops in the nation at their weight.
Three years ago, Faith Christian was 7-6. They are 26-3 since. That’s the power of recruiting. Ben Clymer, a PIAA champion for Northwestern Lehigh at 171 pounds in 2008, coaches the Lions.
It will be fun to see Faith Christian and Bishop McCort next year once they lift the suspension off the Crusher wrestlers. I’m sure they’ll meet in the state duals.
Speaking of McCort, how frickin good is Jax Forrest?
The Bishop McCort ninth grader won the Edinboro Open last weekend at 125 pounds. And he did it in dominating fashion.
Forrest started his tournament with a 21-5 technical fall. He followed that up with a major decision in the quarters, a 21-3 tech fall in the semis, and a pin in the finals.
A ninth grader destroying college competition. We haven’t seen anything like this since a guy named Carey Kolat stepped on the mat all those years ago.
It wasn’t his first go-round, either. Forrest took third at the Clarion Open earlier in the season.
It would have been nice to see him at states, but he is ineligible this season.
The postseason is on the horizon, with districts kicking things off next week. For the first time, Class 3A and 2A will be held on the same weekend next Friday and Saturday, February 17-18. Class 3A is on Saturday only.
Below are the D6 AAA wrestlers who are state ranked:
Mifflin County (5)
121: Hunter Johnson, 12th, #9
133: Blake Aumiller, 11th, #18
145: Jacob Cunningham, 12th, #17
152: Parker Kearns, 11th, #12
160: Deakon Schaeffer, 11th, #21
Central Mountain (5)
133: Luke Simcox, 11th, #1
139: Dalton Perry, 10th, #3
145: Griffin Walizer, 11th, #7
189: Rocco Serafini, 11th, #11
285: Brayden Blackwell, 12th, #20
State College (5)
133: Hayden Cunningham, 12th, #3
139: Pierson Manville, 12th, #2
145: Asher Cunningham, 10th, #4
172: Carter Weaverling, 12th, #23
285: Nick Pavlechko, 10th, #2
107: Braiden Weaver, 9th, #7
127: Caleb Fasick, 12th, #17
152: Luke Sipes, 10th, #2