Sean Bianco knows the road to Hershey won't be any easier this weekend at the Northeast Regional 3A wrestling tournament, but he's packing a heavy dose of confidence after winning his first District 11 title Saturday night at Liberty's Memorial Gymnasium.
Bianco spearheaded a strong showing by Pleasant Valley, as the Bears finished fourth overall with 136 points, as well as advancing seven wrestlers to regionals.
Bianco was one of two finalists for PV, posting a 9-5 victory over Stroudsburg's Guesseppe Rea in the 113-pound finals. Temmate Alex Yanovich was overwhelmed by Northampton's Jason Stephen in the 138-pound finals, falling in an 11-3 major decision.
After taking sixth at districts a year ago, a more focused Bianco feels better prepared this year to make a bigger splash in the coming weeks.
"I'm looking to make the finals at regionals and finally get out to Hershey," said Bianco. "The past couple years I haven't been doing things the right way, like cutting weight and being focused, but this season I've changed my ways and I'm just looking to get back on top next week."
As Bianco finished his medal ceremony, he told Northampton's Zach Valley that he'll see him next week in the finals and the two grapplers may have that track.
Bianco trumped Valley 5-3 in the semifinals, in what he feels will be a potential finals bout at regionals.
"I have a good feeling that we'll see each other in the finals," Bianco said. "I felt that our semifinal bout really should have been the finals bout."
Head coach Mark Getz also has a feeling that Bianco could be on his way to an exciting end of year run.
"He has really come on this year and has built a lot of confidence," said Getz. "He's a tough kid and that's what makes him special. He's beat some really good kids this year, so I don't think this is much of a shock, but as we all know, it's a brand new weekend at regionals so no matter if you took sixth or first, you have to be ready."
Senior Michael Dahlstrom (126) is certainly looking forward to a brand new weekend, as the top-seed lost in the semifinals to Easton's Jose Roche when he got caught on his back and was pinned in 54 seconds.
Dahlstrom came back to take third following a 5-1 decision over East Stroudsburg South's Mason Byrne, but Getz knows he'll be motivated to improve this weekend.
"I think we had an up and down second day of the tournament, but Michael's loss in the semifinals will certainly motivate him this week," said Getz. "He knows he didn't wrestle his best and this will be a chance for him to regroup and show everyone what he can do."
Other PV wrestlers that advanced to regionals include: Kenny Yanovich (106, third place); James Felipa (120, sixth); Ernest Klingel (132, sixth) and Mike Benner (HWT, fifth).