Kenny Yanovich's first day at the District 11 3A wrestling tournament started just the way he had hoped.
Yanovich stormed his way to this morning's semifinals at Liberty's Memorial Gymnasium with two impressive victories to lead a contingent of three Pleasant Valley wrestlers into the semis.
Yanovich, a junior at 113-pounds, is the Bears best shot to reach the finals, which is something he expects to do.
"I feel pretty good and this is what I've been working my way towards all year," said Yanovich about a possible spot in the finals. "I want to take steps everyyear going forward and this was just another one tonight."
Yanovich (30-2) wasted no time in his preliminary bout against Freedom's Tyler Trapani, posting a fall in 28 seconds. He made it a Bethlehem sweep with a commanding 7-1 decision over Liberty's John Ritter in the quarterfinals.
That sets up a semifinal bout with Easton freshman Evan Fidelibus (28-9) this morning.
Neither wrestler has faced each other this year, but Yanovich is confident heading into his final four bout.
"I just have to keep working my takedowns," Yanovich said. "He won't be able to stop me if I keep scoring."
Bears' senior, James Felipa (120), entered the tournament as a sixth seed but reached the semis after surviving a 7-6 decision over Nazareth's third-seeded Tyler Tarsi to score the upset.
Felipa (24-9) jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the first period, thanks to a pair of takedowns, but found himself in a battle heading into the third period with the bout even at 5. He scored the pivotal takedown early in the third and held on for the win.
After finishing sixth last year at districts, Felipa has his mind set on a state qualifying run.
"My goal is to get a top three finish here [districts] and at regionals," Felipa said. "Getting this win was big for me, but I still have more work to do."
Felipa will meet Liberty's top-seed, Grimaldi Gonzalez, in the semifinals (28-2).
Felipa has lost to Gonzalez each of the past two years in the district quarterfinals. The Liberty senior is the favorite to win the weight class, but Felipa isn't worried about that.
"Grim is really tough," he said. "I just have to go out and wrestle."
Hunter Diehl (195) was the only other Bear to survive the quarters, as he scored a 12-3 major decision over over Pocono Mountain East's Celso Clemente.
Heavyweight Mike Benner, the second-seed in the tournament, fell culprit to Jeremy Candelario of Pocono Mountain East in the quarters, losing 2-1 in an upset.
Benner led 1-0 heading into the third period in the top position, but he was called for locking hands, and found himself trailing 2-1 when Candelario scored an escape that was enough to hold up for the win.
Other Bears that lost in the quarters included Bale Brannon (126), Garrett Gouger (132), Joell Toledo (152), Jalil Aldridge (170) and Dominick Ammirato (220).
Jason Jacobi (106) and Brody Keefe (145) lost their preliminary bouts, but Keefe was able to withstand the wrestle-backs. All of PV's wrestlers that lost in the quarterfinals came back to win their consi round bout.