Five TN teams set for District Duals
bob ford/times news filephoto Nikko Stevens (top) and the rest of the Northern Lehigh wrestling team will be in action on Friday when the District 11 Duals are held at Freedom High School.
The fields are almost set for the District 11 Team Wrestling Championships, to be held at Bethlehem Freedom High School this weekend.
Ten teams each in Class AAA and AA will participate at District Duals, with the top two finishers to advance into PIAA State Duals competition next week, culminating with the finals at Hershey's Giant Center on Saturday, Feb. 13.
Teams qualify for the District 11 Duals based on a rating system that awards three points for a win over a Class AAA team, two points for a victory over a Class AA team, one point for a loss to a AAA team and no points for a AA loss. The point total is then divided by the number of matches to determine a seeding average.
It is important to note that only matches against Pennsylvania teams will count towards District seeding. Northampton, for example, was 13-2 heading into Monday night but its two losses were to non-Keystone State teams, namely Phillipsburg, New Jersey and Blair Academy, so as far as the District ratings are concerned, the Konkrete Kids are unbeaten at 13-0.
Only matches up to and including Wednesday, Feb. 3, will be considered, so that means the K-Kids battle with arch-rival Nazareth, which is scheduled for Wednesday, will be figured into the ratings.
While the District 11 Wrestling Committee will meet on Thursday morning to determine the seedings, a good idea already exists as to who will be in the tournament.
The District Duals field at Freedom is expected to include five TIMES NEWS area team: Northern Lehigh, Northwestern, Lehighton and Panther Valley in Class AA and Pleasant Valley in Class AAA.
The Class AA field has been set, regardless of the outcomes of this week's competitions.
Entering Monday, the unofficial ratings have Pen Argyl (11-0, with an average of 3.273) heading the AA pack, followed by Saucon Valley (19-2, 2.952), Pius X (17-3, 2.900), Bethlehem Catholic (8-3, 2.818), Tri-Valley (15-6, 2.429), Northern Lehigh (13-4, 2.412), Lehighton (2.357), Northwestern (12-8, 2.300), Panther Valley (9-7, 1.813) and Catasauqua (10-9, 1.789).
Those 10 are etched in stone, it seems. Even with last night's loss to Selinsgrove, Panther Valley drops down to 1.765. The lowest Catasauqua can finish is 1.700 if it loses to Notre Dame of Green Pond on Wednesday. Wilson, which was vying for a spot, does not wrestle until Thursday and has a rating of 1.625.
The only question will be the final seeding order of those 10. Seeding for District Duals is based on the decision of the D-11 committee, not on seeding average, which is used just to determine which 10 will be in the event. So there could be some shuffling involved.
In Class AAA, it appears nine of the teams to be invited have been determined and will include Northampton (13-0), Parkland (16-1), Nazareth (9-0), Stroudsburg (9-2), Whitehall (14-3), Blue Mountain (7-1), Liberty (9-4), Pleasant Valley (7-3) and Easton (7-3). The records in parentheses are for Pennsy matches only.
The 10th slot is apparently a battle between Mountain Valley Conference teams Pocono Mountain East (10-6) and East Stroudsburg South (10-9), with both scheduled to be in action Wednesday, with P.M. East facing Pleasant Valley and Eastburg South taking on Stroudsburg.
According to District projections, if both PM. East and Eastburg South have the same outcome, P.M. East gets the 10th slot. If P.M. East wins, the Cardinals are in. Eastburg must defeat Stroudsburg and hope for a P.M. East loss.
Wrestling is set to begin on Friday at 4:30 p.m. with the 7-10 and 8-9 preliminary round matches. Those winners will advance to the quarterfinal round, which will be held at 6 and 7:45 p.m.
The semifinals will be held at Freedom on Saturday, with the AA semis at 11 a.m. and the AAA semis at 1 p.m. The finals for both AAA and AA will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday.
PANTHER VALLEY ROUND ROBIN - Panther Valley is scheduled to host its inaugural eight-team round robin tournament on Saturday, and the field has been finalized.
This is the second tournament the Panthers are hosting this season, following last month's Anthracite Duals.
The participating teams will include Panther Valley, North Schuylkill, Jim Thorpe, Allentown Central Catholic, Harrisburg, Norristown, Brockway, and Lake-Lehman.
Each school must have its line-up submitted by Wednesday, with the weight classes to be seeded on Friday.
The tournament will be held at Panther Valley High School, using four mats. The first round of wrestling is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Medals will be awarded to the top three wrestlers in each weight class. An Outstanding Wrestler trophy will be presented. A team champion will be determined based only upon finishers; no advancement points are awarded.
The Panthers could have a busy weekend if they qualify for the District 11 Duals, which they are projected to do. However, if they do make the cut, they will be one of the lower seeds and may have to win twice on Friday in order to stay alive on Saturday, which will be a challenging proposition, to say the least.
If the Panthers do wrestle at District Duals, each of the teams at the PV Round Robin will be given an additional one-pound allowance for Saturday's competition.