Looking back on this past wrestling season, it is obvious that all TN area teams enjoyed success at one point or another, whether through individual or team accomplishments.
Pleasant Valley produced one state qualifier in Kenny Yanovich and enjoyed a successful season as a team, qualifying for district duals. The Bears' lost last year's TIMES NEWS Wrestler of the Year, Sean Bianco, after only five matches, but their depth offset his loss and kept the team among the most prominent in the area.
Palmerton built on its success from last season, sending Zach Graver to Hershey to go along with an appearance at district duals. The team was positioned well to have even more representation at the PIAA State Wrestling Championships, but a number of factors prevented that from happening. There's no doubt the team will be among the strongest in the area next season.
Northwestern and Panther Valley both have quality programs, though one lacks the depth of the other. Northwestern was unable to field a full lineup, which forced the Tigers to forfeit a number of weight classes. Still, the team enjoyed a great deal of individual success, with one state qualifier and district champion, and a regional qualifier. The Panthers proved to be a force all season long, producing two regional qualifiers and earning a trip to district duals, picking up a win over Palmerton. With a number of starters returning next season, it's clear the foundation is set for a successful future.
While the number of state qualifiers dropped from 12 to four this past season, it is in no way an indictment on the quality of this year's TIMES NEWS all- star team or TN area wrestlers. The competition throughout the state was tough and a number of area programs lost a great deal of talent from a year ago. Five make return appearances on the all-star team this year, with two jumping from the second team a year ago to the first team this year.
The 14 selections (based on the number of weight classes but coming from any weight class) follow below with highlights from their season.
The wrestlers combined for a 397-105 record, with six reaching the 30-win plateau. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Mike Benner, Pleasant Valley
- Benner (23-6) was a second team TN All-Star selection a year ago.
- He did well to qualify for districts, but was unable to advance beyond that.
- Benner was a first team selection on the Mountain Valley Conference all-star team.
- Benner had 10 wins by fall, with five coming in under one minute.
Joe Bubble, Palmerton
- Bubble (24-9) turned in a very solid season for the Bombers, providing senior leadership on a fairly young squad.
- Bubble had no forfeit wins this past season and won 10 matches by fall.
- He advanced to regionals after finishing third at districts.
- He was an honorable mention Colonial League all-star.
Josh Evans, Palmerton
- Evans (29-3) makes his third consecutive appearance on the TN all- star team.
- Evans had a terrific season and was primed for a district semifinal showdown with Tamaqua's Colin Mashack, but was unable to compete after he failed to make weight.
- Three of Evans' losses came against some of the state's very best: Schuylkill Valley's Josh Giorgio (36-9), Upper Perkiomen's Dante Steffenino (37- 3) and Pen Argyl's Matt Williams (25-6).
- He has a career record of 89-19.
- He was a second team Colonial League all- star.
James Felipa, Pleasant Valley
- Felipa (25-11) had a very successful season and may have flown under the radar on a very talented Pleasant Valley squad.
- He just missed out on qualifying for states after falling at regionals, but was fourth at districts.
- He makes the jump to first team this season after earning second team honors last season.
- Felipa was a first team selection on the Mountain Valley Conference all-star team this season.
Connor Frey, Lehighton
- Frey (29-11) had a stellar freshman season for the Indians that almost resulted in a trip to states. He just missed out on advancing to Hershey after finishing sixth at the PIAA Class 2A Northeast Regional.
- 16 of his wins were by fall, with five coming in under a minute.
- He took fourth at districts and sixth at the Hurricane Classic.
- He was a first team selection on the Mountain Valley Conference all-star team.
Zach Graver, Palmerton
- Graver (31-9) makes his first appearance on the list.
- He was third at districts and joined Northern Lehigh's Ty Herzog at states in Hershey.
- Graver had 10 wins by fall and three by way of tech. fall.
- Graver was an honorable mention Colonial League all-star.
Ty Herzog, Northern Lehigh
- Herzog (316) makes his third consecutive appearance on the list.
- Herzog was a district and regional champion and finished fifth at states, which was the best finish of the four TIMES NEWS area wrestlers that were present.
- He earned his 100th win this past season and was the TN area wrestler of the year to cap a stellar high school career.
- 12 of his wins were by fall, with four coming in under a minute.
- He was a first team Colonial League all- star.
- Herzog will continue his wrestling career and education at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, where he will study Mechanical Engineering.
- He compiled a career record of 121-37.
Colin Mashack, Tamaqua
- Mashack (23-0) makes his second consecutive appearance on the list.
- Mashack was the Berwick Tournament champion at 120 pounds.
- He also missed about a month of the season due to a concussion, which certainly prevented him from racking up more wins.
- Nine of his wins were by fall and five were by way of tech. fall, showing just how dominant he was this season when he was on the mat.
- He was a district champion this past season, but had his season cut short prior to regionals due to a hip injury.
Richard Nase, Panther Valley
- Nase (28-13) was TN area second team selection a year ago.
- He had an incredible season for the Panthers after suffering from a serious skin condition a year ago.
- 11 of Nase's wins were by fall, with five coming in under a minute.
- Nase was third at the Christmas City Tournament and seventh at the Penn Manor Tournament.
- He was second at districts, but was unable to qualify for states after suffering two losses at regionals.
Brian Ohl, Jim Thorpe
- Ohl (31- 9) had a stellar senior season for the Olympians.
- He finished sixth at districts after advancing to the semifinals.
- Ohl had 15 wins by fall, with three coming in under a minute.
- He will continue his wrestling career at Alderson- Broaddus, a Division II school in West Virginia.
Michael Ortiz, Northwestern
- Ortiz (33-6) makes his second consecutive appearance on the list after a very successful senior season for the Tigers.
- He captured the PIAA District 11 Class 2A title at 170 pounds and was runner- up at the Class 2A Northeast Regional. His loss at regionals came to eventual state champion Pete Renda of Brandywine Heights, who finished the season 42-0. Ortiz was unable to earn a medal in his first trip to Hershey.
- Ortiz had 10 wins by fall and 6 by way of tech. fall.
- He was a first team Colonial League all-star.
Rian Shubeck, Panther Valley
- Shubeck (35-5) had a breakout sophomore season for Panther Valley and quickly established himself as one of the TIMES NEWS area's best wrestlers.
- Shubeck was the 285 pound champion at the Schuylkill League Tournament over Tamaqua's Luke Matsago.
- Shubeck was first at the Christmas City Tournament and third at the Penn Manor Tournament.
- Shubeck had 21 wins by fall, eight of which came in under a minute.
- He was second at districts and earned a trip to regioanls. Unfortunately, his season ended there with two losses. There's no doubt he will be primed for another successful season next year.
Jarrett White, Northwestern
- White (20-11) had only one forfeit win all season and routinely faced stiff competition both in and out of the Colonial League.
- He Defeated Lehighton's Tegan Durishin on 12/28/12 with 12- 2 maj. dec. and Panther Valley's Lenny Ogozalek, 5- 2 at districts. Both were ahead of him for much of the season in the TIMES NEWS Mat Rankings.
- He finished fourth at districts and advanced to regionals.
- Only a sophomore, the sky's the limit for White if he keeps on this track.
Kenny Yanovich, Pleasant Valley
- Yanovich (35-6) makes third straight appearance on TN all-star team.
- He advanced to states for the third straight season, picking up a win.
- Yanovich was runner- up at districts and regionals this season, falling to Parkland's Ethan Lizak, who is ranked eighth nationally at 113 pounds by InterMat Wrestling Rankings, both times.
- Yanovich was a Mountain Valley Conference first team all- star this season.
- He now has a career record of 112- 24.
Lenny Ogozalek, Panther Valley, Jr.
Tegan Durishin, Lehighton, Fr.
Zachary Kemmerer, Lehighton, Fr.
Zack Christman, Palmerton, So.
Joell Toledo, Pleasant Valley, Sr.
Mitchell Evans, Northwestern , Sr.
Hunter Deihl, Pleasant Valley, Sr.
Dominick Ammirato, Pleasant Vy., Sr.
Rich Smith, Panther Valley, Sr.
Dillon Masington, Palmerton, Sr.
Dylan Rynkiewicz, Tamaqua, So.
Cody Bowman, Northern Lehigh, Sr.
Jalil Aldridge, Pleasant Valley, Sr.
Garrett Gouger, Pleasant Valley, Fr.