By TY R. STATES
Wrestling’s postseason heads into the next round with the Class 2A Southwest Regional at the Kovalchick Complex at IUP today. Advancing from the District Five and Six tournaments are seven area wrestlers from three schools.
Tussey Mountain has four wrestlers still in action with a pair of District Five champs. Huntingdon is sending two competitors and one District Six titlist, and Mount Union is sending one grappler.
The Titans are represented by D5 champs Hunter Horton (132) and Trevor Husick (120) and runner-ups Matt Watkins (285) and Chad Weist (138). Huntingdon’s Briar Deline is the D6 victor at 215 pounds. Myles Baney placed second at 189. Trojan Bryce Beatty (113) finished third to keep his senior season alive.
The pressure is really on the wrestlers this year to make it through to Hershey. The tournaments have been paired down to only eight competitors at each weight class, and there will be a Super Regional to survive before getting to the state championships.
Horton (13-1) has gotten better and better each season of his high school career. From district runner-up two years ago to the winner last season, as well as finishing fifth at regionals and making it to Hershey. That is where Horton wants to go again and try to come back with a medal.
Horton is now tied with Brady Villa for sixth on the Titans’ all-time win list at 83-35. So far this season in the top 10 he has passed Joe Hall, Mitchell Hall, and John Husick.
At IUP Horton wrestles Ty Watson (8-3) from Penns Valley in the quarterfinals. After that he will be tested with a likely match against three-time state placewinner Zack Witmer from St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy.
Husick (14-2) was the D5 runner-up two years ago. Last season he finished fourth. The junior is ready to see what he can do in the region tournament.
Husick will wrestle Tyrone’s Hunter Walk (14-2) in the quarterfinals. Walk is 107-38 for his career and was D6 runner-up last year, third at regions, and sixth at states.
Bearcat senior Deline (11-1) placed eighth last season at the D6 meet, after failing to do so the previous two years. Deline won the title this year, something he had dreamed of doing for a long time.
In the region quarterfinals Deline will wrestle Eli Reese (10-2) from Knoch.
Baney (8-4) has plenty of postseason wrestling experience to draw from as he goes to the region tournament for the third time. Baney qualified for states each of the last two years.
Baney will wrestle Bryce Salyers (13-9) of North Star in the quarterfinals. A win and Baney would likely see Quaker Valley’s Patrick Cutchember, who placed second at districts and region last year and seventh in Hershey.
Tussey Mountain junior Watkins (15-1) was D5 runner-up last year, sixth at region, and did not place in Hershey. He’s back at IUP for another shot at advancing through the postseason.
Watkins has a tough quarterfinal bout against Marvin Beatty (21-1) of Marion Center. Beatty has qualified for states each of the last two years.
Tussey’s other district runner-up is Weist (15-2). The junior was fourth in the district meet last year.
Weist faces Ligonier Valley’s Ryan Harbert (20-5). Harbert is at the Southwest Region meet for a third year in a row.
Beatty (10-1) is after the only thing he has gotten yet in his career — a state medal. This will be his fourth run at regionals. He went to states as a sophomore but missed that trip last season.
Beatty broke the career 100-win mark this season. He is now 107-29, good for 13th on the Trojans’ all-time win list.
The quarterfinals at 113 will see Beatty against Calan Bollman (17-2) from Chestnut Ridge.
The region tournament changed the schedule and will run four sessions throughout today. Session 1 begins at 8 a.m. The final session with the placing rounds starts at 7:30 p.m. Go to https://www.d6wrestling.com/ to see a press release detailing the full schedule. The top five place winners move on to the Super Regional back at IUP March 6.