By JEFFREY L. NORRIS
Tussey Mountain has five of its 10 entries seeded among the top four at their respective weight classes for Saturday’s District 5-AA Championship Tournament at Pitt-Johnstown.
Junior Hunter Horton (126) and sophomores Trevor Husick (106) and Matt Watkins (285) are seeded second, while junior Bryan Rankin (152) and sophomore Chad Weist (120) are seeded fourth
The rest of the Titan contingent will include: senior Nevin Sloan (113); juniors Brendan Wright (132) and Nick Brumbaugh (145); sophomore Kaden Musselman (138) and freshman Jayven Ritchey (220).
The one-day tournament will begin Saturday with weigh-ins at 9 a.m. Wrestling starts at 10 a.m. with the preliminary round, followed at 11 a.m. by championship quarterfinals, championship semifinals and consolation rounds. The consolation finals will open the evening session at 6 p.m. followed by the Parade of Champions at 6:45 and the championship finals at 7 p.m.
The top three place winners in each weight class will advance to the Southwest Class AA Regional Tournament at Indiana (PA) University Feb. 21-22. The fourth place finisher will serve as an alternate in the event one of the three higher place winners is unable to advance.
Husick (12-3) was the second place finisher at 113 as a freshman last year. He then lost in the second consolation round at the regional tourney.
He will begin his weekend with a quarterfinal bout against seventh-seeded Lucas DeArmitt (13-9), a Somerset freshman. Calan Bollman (30-3) of Chestnut Ridge is the top seed, while North Star’s Nathan Pelesky (27-5) is third and Reyan Imler (23-8) of Northern Bedford is fourth.
Horton (26-7) was a district runner-up at 120 a year ago and also lost in the second consolation round at the regional event.
He’ll open against Somerset’s Kaden Ammons (0-2) with the winner advancing against either sixth-seeded Jake Younker (5-16) of Everett or third-seeded Nick Ackerman (17-7) of Meyersdale. Ross Dull (32-7) is the top seed and Camden Koontz (18-9) of Bedford is seeded fourth.
Watkins (25-6) finished third at 285 in last year’s district tournament, then was eliminated in the consolation quarterfinals at regionals.
His opening opponent will be Gabe Fox (5-12) of North Star. He hopes to advance to the quarterfinals against either Noah Smith (13-15) of Chestnut Ridge or third-seeded Donovan Vogt (14-11) of Somerset. Myersdale’s Jaylen Stephens (28-1) is seeded first and Derek Beach (16-10) is Northern Bedford is the fourth seed.
Weist (16-5) is making his first appearance in the district tourney. He’ll open against Bedford’s Mat Emerick (16-5) with the winner to face either Griffin Keller (5-17) of Everett or top-seeded Nathan Holderbaum (27-9) of Chestnut Ridge. Gage Latuch (20-10) of Berlin is the fourth seed and Eli Brougher (30-8) of North Star is the second seed.
Rankin (15-12) was eliminated in the consolation semifinals of last year’s district tourney. He opens Saturday against Bedford’s Gavin Habinyak (12-14). The winner will likely get top-seeded Alex Supanick (28-5) of North Star. Berlin’s Clayton Lee (27-9) is seeded second and Luke Moore (25-12) of Chestnut Ridge is the third seed.
Brumbaugh (22-7) is a fifth seed. He ended last season in the consolation semifinals. His first bout Saturday will be against fourth-seeded Kolton Furry (23-13) of North Star. That winner will most like meet up with top-seeded Tristan Pugh (33-2) of Berlin.
Ritchey (14-12) is also seeded fifth and will begin his first district appearance against fourth-seeded Bryant Most (28-7) of Meyersdale. The winner gets top-seeded Duane Knisely (33-3) of Chesnut Ridge, who has a bye into the semifinal round.
Seeded sixth, Sloan (18-9) will begin his final district tourney against third-seeded Hunter Cornell (24-14) of Berlin with second seeded Trevor Donaldson (23-9) of Meyersdale the most likely semifinal foe for the winner.
Wright (6-5) is also seeded sixth and will open against third-seeded Jacob Dawson (20-10) of Bedford. The winner most likely will take on second seeded Lane Younker (22-6) of Everett in the next round.
Musselman (4-10) is seeded eighth and must get past Somerset’s Rodger DeArmitt (2-12) in a preliminary bout to move into the quarterfinals against top-seeded Kaden Cassidy (25-0) of Bedford.
Defending champion Chestnut Ridge is the odds on favorite to repeat with eight wrestlers seeded first. Tussey was fourth in an 11-team field a year ago.