BETHLEHEHEM - Mark Getz talked about how none of the wrestlers on this year's Pleasant Valley squad had placed in the top six at the District 11 3A wrestling tournament before. So, after a joyous first day that saw four Bears reach the semifinals, day two was a reality check for his inexperienced contingent. None of PV's semifinalists reached the finals, but five Bears did advance to this weekend's Northeast Regional 3A tournament back at Liberty's Memorial Gymnasium.
Kenny Yanovich (103), Sean Bianco (112), Ernie Klingel (125), Mike Dahlstrom (130) and Alex Yanovich (140) all moved onto round two of the wrestling postseason after taking top six finishes over the weekend and Getz hopes their experience from Liberty will boost them towards making their first trips to Hershey.
"I think overall we did some good things, but I think our guys found out how much more difficult things become as you advance," said Getz. "These guys needed that experience they got from the semis because they've never been there before, so I thought that was important for us moving forward."
No PV wrestlers took top three finishes at districts, as Kenny Yanovich and Sean Bianco both finished in sixth after consolation round losses, while Ernie Klingel was the only Bear to win his consolation round, as he knocked off Josh Fritz of Emmaus 2-1 to take fifth. Dahlstrom and the elder Yanovich both took fourth after their consy round losses. Dahlstrom lost a 2-1 decision to Easton's Calvin Daly, while Yanovich followed shortly with an 11-4 defeat to Northampton's Zach Wilson.
Dahlstrom might be PV's best shot to take a top three finish from regionals, as he lost to Blue Mountain's Brandon Choate 3-2 in the semifinals. Dahlstrom could have grabbed a third place finish, but he was penalized a point for fleeing the mat late in the bout to leave his head coach scratching his head.
"I don't really know what that call was about, but that's what ended up costing Mike," said Getz. "I thought he wrestled Choate really well and he should have a lot of confidence heading into regionals."
The unfortunate aspect of Dahlstrom's seed for this weekend comes with him being paired in the same bracket as district champion Zach Horan. Should he reach the semifinals, Horan will likely be waiting.
Alex Yanovich is also in the top-seeds bracket, as Mitchell Minotti, who beat Yanovich 12-1 in the semis on Saturday, could be a likely contender, should Yanovich knock off Cody Zechman of Selinsgrove in the prelims along with Pittston Area's Justin Wilk in the quarters.
Ernie Klingel is the only other Bear paired in the top bracket, as he could see Nazareth's Franco Ferraina as early as the quarters this weekend.
Sean Bianco will take on Nazareth's Chase Zemenak in the first round to leave him as the only Bear to face a Lehigh Valley Conference wrestler in his opening round, but Kenny Yanovich may have gotten the best seed, as he's placed in the top part of the bracket, but that doesn't include district champion Brett Marino from Liberty.
Marino is ranked first in the state, but is seeded third at regionals, as Jamie Scaratino of Pittston is the top-seed. Jake Whitmer of Shikellamy is the second seed. Yanovich, who wrestled Marino tough during a 10-5 loss in the semifinals over the weekend, would see Scaratino in the quarterfinals should he get past East Stroudsburg South's Colby Ems in the prelims.
Either way, having the District 11 top dog out of your side of the bracket is always a welcoming agenda, but Getz knows it's going to take more than matchups to have his wrestlers advance to Hershey.
"We just need to refocus and get set on a whole new week of wrestling," he said. "We just need to get back to the drawing board to get these guys ready for a new week of wrestling."