BETHLEHEM One path seems clearer than the other to the Northeast Regional AAA finals for two of Pleasant Valley's wrestlers, but at least both of have a chance heading into Saturday's slate of wrestling.
Kenny Yanovich (113) and James Felipa (120) moved on to this morning's semifinals at Liberty's Memorial Gymnasium. Yanovich was always favored to reach the finals after last week's district championship appearance and he moved into the regional semifinals quite easily, dispatching Central's (Philadelphia) Jonathan Guevara with a fall in 1:00 during his preliminary bout.
Yanovich then had little trouble against District 12 champion, Chad Haegele of Arch Bishop Wood, posting an easy 9-2 decision to set up another semifinal appearance against Easton's Evan Fidelibus (32-10).
Yanovich toasted the Easton freshman a week ago by a 13-3 margin in the district semis. He watched Fidelibus win an 8-0 major decision in his quarterfinal match over Dallas's Dominick Degraba and was hoping to capitalize on some of his short-comings.
"I can capitalize on him wrestling on one knee," said Yanovich, who upped his record to 33-3 on the season. "I took him down three or four times last time and I think I'm wrestling pretty good.
"I thought my match against a district champion [quarterfinals] would be tougher, but it didn't work out that way."
Felipa (27-11) scored two first period takedowns to jump out to a quick 4-1 lead over Wallenpaupack's Chase Gallick in the quarterfinals and held on for a 5-3 decision.
He'll now take on Liberty's Grimaldi Gonzalez (31-2) in the semifinals, someone he lost to 9-2 in last week's semis.
"I just have to prepare myself for Grim," Felipa said. "I need to shoot more and just let it all out. It's my last year and I want to get to Hershey."
Head coach Mark Getz felt both of his wrestlers battled the way he expected them to. Now it's a new day for both with a trip to Hershey on the line.
"James is gonna have to knock Grimaldi off or get past the kid from Nazareth," Getz said. "He's got to wrestle smart and have a lot of confidence. He beat the Nazareth kid once already and it may be the deciding match for him to move on.
"Kenny knows what he has to do, but he can't take Fidelibus for granted."
Tyler Tarsi (19-13) is the referenced Nazareth wrestler from above and he'll take on Northampton's Zach Valley (32-6) in the semifinals. Valley will be a heavy favorite, as well as Gonzalez, which could set up a Felipa-Tarsi third place bout with a trip to Hershey on the line.
At districts, Felipa snuck out a 7-6 decision over Tarsi in the quarters, but lost to him by fall in the third place consolation.
"If I lose to Grim, it's not going to be difficult for me to refocus because I've been there before," Felipa said. "We know each other pretty well and I just have to be confident that I can beat him."
Bears' freshman Garrett Gouger (132) was eliminated on Friday losing his first two bouts of the day to end his season.
The final nail came in Friday's consolations, as Emmaus's Jacob Younger ousted Gouger with a 10-7 decision. Gouger finishes the season at 20-19.