Pleasant Valley wrestlers knew they had to step up their game heading into this weekend's Northeast Regional 3A tournament at Freedom. Evidence of that notion came to the forefront Friday night, as three Bears advanced to this morning's semifinal round with the hopes of securing a top three finish in order to cement a spot to Hershey.
Mike Pokrinchak (125), Jordan Toledo (130) and Jacob Chamberlain (135) all finished unblemished in the first day of action and now look towards more obstacles in today's competition.
Pokrinchak, who was upset in the quarterfinals by Parkland's Mike Marano last week at districts, came back with a vengeance at the regional tournament. He scored a 15-0 technical fall over Tunkhannock's Kevin Packer in the preliminary round and then outlasted Cody Ulmer of Jersey Shore 10-5.
Pokrinchak appeared to be heading towards a second consecutive tech fall Friday night, as he built a 7-0 first period lead on Ulmer by tilting him twice for five back points. However, he admittedly got tired in the third period and allowed Ulmer to score two takedowns to make the final score respectable.
"I've been cutting some weight and I went hard the whole bout and just relaxed at the end," said Pokrinchak, who finished fourth at districts and will now take on defending district champion, Zach Horan of Nazareth, in the semis. "It's still nice to have to good wins like I did, because I was sloppy last weekend and I've really just been trying to recover from that all week. I feel really good now."
One PV wrestler that always feels good on the mat is senior Jordan Toledo and he continued to have a good time Friday night. Toledo posted a fall over Northampton's Trey Daubert in 4:37 to open the tournament. He followed that up with a 14-2 major decision over Delaware Valley's Anthony Colletta in the quarters.
Toledo will now face Nazareth's Greg Noll in the semifinals, which is a rematch of last week's district semis. Toledo scored a 4-2 decision over the Blue Eagle to reach the championship round.
"After I lost in the finals last week, I really pushed myself in practice this week to not get tired," he said. "I just have to bring that same intensity to the semifinals because we all know that winning that bout locks up a spot in Hershey."
Chamberlain's route to the semifinals wasn't as easy as the aforementioned Bears, as he worked his way through a 3-0 quarterfinal win over Cody Zechman of Selinsgrove. The two remained scoreless going into the third period, before Chamberlain broke the deadlock with an escape at the 1:23 mark. Nearly twenty-seconds later, he scored the decisive takedown to set up a meeting with Crestwood's Hunter McGraw this morning.
The only familiarity Chamberlain has with McGraw is through their acquaintance as teammates on their club team - The Cosby Kids. Chamberlain only hopes that their semifinal bout isn't as funny as the team name.
"I don't really know much about him, but I do know he's good," said Chamberlain of McGraw. "I know it's going to be a good match either way, but this is also the time to step up. We've been doing it so far as a team, having three guys in the semis, but we know there's more to do."
Sean Bianco (103), Ernest Klingel (112) and Alex Yanovich (140) lost their preliminary bouts Friday and will have to battle back through the consolation brackets today.