Six area matmen advance to semifinals
ORWIGSBURG - So far this season, there has not been much that has slowed down Tamaqua's dynamic duo of Kolby Mashack and Garth Lakitsky.
The two Blue Raider juniors have a combined record of 41-1 after the opening night of competition at the Schuylkill League Wrestling Championships Friday night.
Despite each of them dropping down a weight class, the Tamaqua twosome had no trouble advancing to today's semifinal round, which will begin at 12 noon at Blue Mountain High School.
The Raiders have three in the semis, as senior Dustin Wentz also moved on at 215 pounds.
Also alive in the semifinals among TIMES NEWS area grapplers are Panther Valley's Nick O'Donnell (103) and Kevin Schaller (152) and Jim Thorpe's Dillon Smith (145).
Host Blue Mountain is soaring above the field as expected. The Eagles lead the team race after the second round of consolations with 107.5 points, advancing 11 of their matmen into the semis, including defending champs Corey Keener, Brandon Choate, Tyler Rauenzahn and Josh Kindig.
Mount Carmel is next behind the Eagles with eight semifinalists, followed by Pottsville and Tri-Valley with six apiece and Shamokin with five.
Tamaqua coach Jim McCabe said Lakitsky, who is top-seeded at 189, and Mashack, who is seeded third at 130, have adjusted well to the lower weights.
"They both feel comfortable," related McCabe. "It's a good start."
Lakitsky (22-0), the defending Schuylkill 189 pound champ, barely broke a sweat in his only bout, taking just 24 seconds to dispose of Panther Valley's Keith Cheadle by fall.
Next up for Lakitsky is junior Richie Batz of Schuylkill Haven in the semis,
Mashack (19-1) made his quarterfinal bout last longer than Lakitsky, but he was no less dominant, rolling to an 18-3 technical fall over Mount Carmel's Nick Dusendschine.
The 130-pound class is one of the toughest of the tourney, as it features State AAA runner-up Tyler Rauenzahn of Blue Mountain and Shamokin's Josh Lahr, who earned a sixth place State medal a year ago. Both are defending tourney champs.
Mashack, who was second at leagues as a freshman and third as a sophomore last year, will take on Lahr in the semis.
"It's a good thing for Kolby that he is in a tough weight class, because that's the kind of competition he wants," said McCabe.
With Lakitsky down at 189, Wentz (17-8) bumped up to 215 and has more than held his own, pinning Shamokin's Marc Anonia in 1:58 in the preliminaries, then posting a 10-5 win against Williams Valley's Brandon Wagner in the quarters.
"Dustin is doing well, since he's a light 215 pounder," noted McCabe. Wentz will take on second seeded Chris Forney of Upper Dauphin in the semifinals.
The Raiders currently sit in sixth place in the team race and still have Brandon Silkowski (140), Matt Edmonds (145), Brandon Turner (152) and Travis Veronsky (160) alive in the consolation round.
Panther Valley's O'Donnell (15-5), a junior, is seeded second at 103. A silver medalist a year ago, O'Donnell dumped Tri-Valley's Tanner Reed in 1:40 in his quarterfinal bout.
In the semis, O'Donnell will face Richie Koontz of Upper Dauphin.
The Panthers' other semifinalist, Schaller (15-5), is seeded third after dropping down to 152. Schaller, who placed fifth at 152 last year, polished off North Schuylkill's Brett Paul 7-0 in the quarters,
Next up for Schaller is second seeded Ty Gardner of Pottsville, who placed third at the weight clasS.
The Panthers, who are in ninth place with 40 points, also have five alive in the wrestlebacks: Tyler Heffelfinger (112), Brandon Gurka (119), Justin Christman (145), Alex Lorkowski (171) and John Scheaffer (215).
Jim Thorpe's lone semifinalist, Dillon Smith (16-3), is seeded third in one of the toughest classes in the tourney. The 145 bracket features State AAA champ Josh Kindig and State AA qualifier Allen Daubert of Pine Grove.
Smith, who scored a 17-5 major decision over the Panthers' Christman in the quarters, was runner-up at 140 at leagues last season, He will square off with Daubert as his semifinal opponent.
The Olympians, who are in 15th place with 12 points, still have a trio alive in the consolation round: Brian Ohl (103), Justin Mazzella (152) and heavyweight Tyler Mangold.
The tourney championships and consolation finals will be held at 6 p.m. this evening on three mats.