Five things to watch at the Class AA Southwest Regional wrestling tournament
Friday, February 22, 2019 | 12:10 AM
For the wrestlers in Class AA from the WPIAL and Districts 5 and 6, this is the final chance they have to earn a trip to the PIAA individual wrestling championships March 7-9 in Hershey.
Over the next two days at the PIAA Southwest Regional at IUP’s Kovalchick Complex, 224 wrestlers, 16 in each of the 14 weight classes, fight to finish in the top six.
Here is look at five possible storylines.
1. No respect
Derry sophomore Ty Cymmerman (34-5) won his second consecutive WPIAL Class AA 126-pound title last week and is seeded No. 2 at the PIAA Southwest Regional. But in the state rankings (papowerwrestling.com) he is ranked behind Freedom senior Z.J. Ward (15-4) and McGuffey senior Jett Pattison (32-7).
Cymmerman dominated the competition last week at the WPIAL section and individual championships.
Now, he has his eye on a regional title. Glendale sophomore Brock McMillan (35-1), the District 6 champion, is the No. 1 seed. The District 5 champion is Tussey Mountain senior Brady Villa (27-4).
2. Collision course
Mt. Pleasant freshman Dayton Pitzer (35-1) couldn’t ask for a better first season wrestling on the varsity level. Heading into Friday’s first round of the Southwest Regional, he is seeded No. 2 behind West Branch senior Derek Yingling (29-1).
Pitzer has put together an impressive resume so far, winning the Penn Cambria, Southmoreland, Bedford and Penn-Trafford tournaments and placing second at the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association tournament, losing to Belle Vernon senior and West Virginia recruit Scott Joll.
The 182-pound wrestler defeated Joll in the Penn-Trafford tournament.
He’s on a collision course with Yingling.
3. Meet Mr. McGill
McGuffey senior Christian Clutter (37-2) is having a fantastic season. The WPIAL 170-pound champion, a Seton Hill football recruit as a running back, is seeded No. 2.
That’s because Chestnut Ridge senior Jared McGill (32-0) is seeded No. 1.
McGill, who placed third at the 2018 PIAA tournament, is ranked No. 1 in the state and Clutter is No. 2.
Penn Cambria senior Derek Brown (30-3) is ranked No. 3, and he and Clutter could meet in the semifinals.
4. Fischer facing challenge
South Park sophomore Joey Fischer (31-0) is ranked No. 1 at 106 pounds. But if he wants to win a regional title, he has some huge obstacles in his path.
The No. 2 seed is Chestnut Ridge sophomore Kai Burkett (30-3), and the field also includes Glendale freshman Suds Dubler (25-1) and Mt. Pleasant freshman Luke Geibig (28-10).
Fischer has had a special season, winning the Chartiers-Houston, Southmoreland, Bo Wood, Burgettstown and Allegheny County tournaments.
He defeated Elizabeth Forward’s Ryan Michaels, the WPIAL 113-pound champion, at Chartiers Houston.
He’s ranked No. 2 in the state.
5. Loaded weight class
If you’re looking for the toughest weight class this weekend, look no further than 132 pounds.
Quaker Valley sophomore Conner Redinger (30-5) is ranked No. 1. No. 2 is St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy sophomore Zack Whitmer (26-7).
The No. 3 seed is Bedford junior Kaden Cassidy (30-1) and Everett senior Garret Cornell (28-2) is seeded No. 4.
Also in the class is Derry senior Jason Baker (30-8), Burrell senior Bryan Gaul (20-9) and former Latrobe coach Tom Harbert’s grandson, Ryan Harbert (25-8), a freshman at Ligonier Valley.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .