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TN Wrestling Rankings

There’s no rest for the weary.

The Schuylkill League and Coal Cracker tournaments have brought plenty of success for area wrestlers the past two weekends.

And provided plenty to write about.

The second set of Times News Wrestling Rankings recaps those events and other matches that have taken place since the previous edition was released on Jan. 12.

But it also serves as a good time to look at what lies ahead, which includes a new format for this weekend’s Colonial League Tournament.

Gone is the four-team dual format from years past. In its place is an individual championship event, which will be held on Sunday, Jan. 29 at Catasauqua High School starting at 1 p.m.

The individual tournament format is single elimination, with a consolation round to determine the third- and fourth-place winners.

Team action returns the following weekend with the District 11 Team Championships, which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 4 at Freedom High School. Invitations will be issued to the top eight teams in both Class 2A and 3A based on the power ratings system.

Currently, Lehighton (9-4) is fourth in Class 2A, while Jim Thorpe (7-7) is eighth. The Indians claimed the team title at the recent Schuylkill League Tournament.

The quarterfinals for the 2A team event will begin at 9 a.m., while the 3A quarters will be held at 11. The 2A and 3A semifinals will be held at 1 p.m., with the championships for both classes set to take place at 5:30.

Look for highlights from those events and more in the next set of TN Wrestling Rankings, which will appear on Thursday, Feb. 9.

Bout minimum: 15

(must be .500 or above to qualify; through Jan. 23)


- 1. Aiden Schlier, Tamaqua, So. (24-9), 2. Connor Dugan, Lehighton, Fr. (13-11), 3. Samuel Kenna, Jim Thorpe, Fr. (12-12)

Honorable mention - Ethan Nothstein, Lehighton, Jr. (16-6)

NOTES: Aiden Schlier capped a stellar tournament with a dominant run to the 107-pound title at the Schuylkil League Tournament. The sophomore took control of his final match against Dugan early with a takedown for a 2-0 lead, and created more separation with two back points before the end of the first period for a 4-0 lead. The momentum carried over into the second period, where Schlier needed 0:24 to finish the match and secure the title. Schlier had a bye in the first round, before picking up a pair of technical falls in his next two matches. The sophomore topped Blue Mountain’s Cole Fry (15-0, 3:33) in the quarters and dispatched Jim Thorpe’s Samuel Kenna (17-1, 2:14) in the semis. Schlier also topped Dugan 15-12 on Jan. 18. Schlier went 3-2 at the Coal Cracker Tournament this past weekend ... After a first-round bye, Dugan pinned Schuylkill Haven’s Carter Williams in 2:40 in the quarters before picking up an 11-4 decision against Tri-Valley’s Owen Wolfgang in the semis at the Schuylkill League Tournament. Dugan advanced to the finals at the Coal Cracker JV tournament, falling to Berwick’s Carmen Malt 5-2 in the 109-pound championship match ... Kenna was sixth at the Schuylkil League Tournament ... Nothstein

, who was previously ranked first in this weight class, drops into the honorable mention spot, having not competed since the Indian Duals on Jan. 7.


- 1. Aidan Gruber, Lehighton, Jr. (27-3), 2. Steven Korte, Jim Thorpe, Fr. (22-7), 3. Justin Kuehn, Panther Valley, Jr. (13-7)

NOTES: Gruber drops down from 121 pounds in the last set of rankings to 114 this time, where he has gone 8-1 since the last wrestling report. The junior picked up an 8-3 decision over North Schuylkill’s Noah Gilgore in the 114-pound final at the Schuylkill League Tournament. A state qualifier last season, Gruber started fast against Gilgore, scoring twice in the first 30 seconds to build a 4-0 lead. Gruber got another takedown in the waning moments of the first period to push his lead to 6-2. The junior got another takedown near the edge of the mat in the second period, and kept Gilgore down for the remainder of the period with an 8-3 lead. Gruber, who had a first-round bye, wasn’t on the mat for a minute combined in his first two matches. The junior pinned Panther Valley’s Tevin Walsh in 0:10 in the quarters before finishing Williams Valley’s Xzavion Tennis in 0:48 to reach the finals. Gruber reached the final as the top seed at the Coal Cracker. He had two first-period pins before recording a technical fall to reach the quarters. Gruber fell 5-1 to Sullivan County’s Colton Wade in the finals. Wade is 22-2 and was section, district and regional champion last season as well as a state qualifier. Gruber was impressive in reaching the finals. The junior pinned Korte

in 1:44 in the quarterfinals, before moving past Stroudsburg’s Zachary Berwick with a 15-4 major decision in the semifinals ... Korte capped his tournament with a 9-1 major decision over Wilson West Lawn’s Isaac Eidle in his 116-pound seventh-place match at the Coal Cracker. Korte, seeded eighth, had a bye in his first match before recording two pins to reach the quarters. The freshman was fifth at the Schuylkill League Tournament. Korte continues to show improvement. After getting pinned by Williams Valley’s Xzavion Tennis on Jan. 14, Korte has now won their last two matches, with a major decision and a pin.


- 1. Gabe Erbe, Tamaqua, Jr. (25-9), 2. Cody Mazzocca, Northern Lehigh, So. (13-9), 3. Josh Merkel, Palmerton, So. (15-13)

NOTES: Erbe advanced to the finals at 121 pounds at the Schuylkill League Tournament against North Schuylkill’s Kaden Casey. Erbe and Casey were scoreless after the first period. Casey went ahead 1-0 in the second period, and took a 3-0 lead with a reversal in the third period. He was able to keep Erbe down for much of the final period to secure the win. Erbe reached the finals with a pair of pins in his first two matches. The junior topped Mahanoy’s Victor Hanley in 1:21, before pinning Lehighton’s Jake Hall in 1:01 in the semifinals. Erbe went 3-2 at the Coal Cracker, including a 9-1 win over Mazzocca ... Mazzocca posted a 14-10 win over Merkel

on Jan. 23.


- 1. Edward Lauritsen, Pleasant Valley, Sr. (18-7), 2. Blake Muffley, Lehighton, Fr. (14-14)

NOTES: Lauritsen won the 123-pound championship at the Coal Cracker JV Tournament. Lauritsen posted a 2-0 decision over Honesdale’s James Davis in the finals ... Muffley

was fourth at the Schuylkill League Tournament at 127 pounds.


- 1. Evan Wentz, Lehighton, Fr. (21-7), 2. Ridge Snyder, Jim Thorpe, Sr. (19-11), 3. Dillon Lombardi, Palmerton, So. (20-9)

NOTES: Wentz advanced to the 133-pound final against Pottsville’s Connor Demcher at the Schuylkill League Tournament. Demcher built a 7-2 lead in the first period with two takedowns and three near-fall points, and increased his advantage to 14-2 in the second before finishing the match in 3:06. Coming off a first-round bye, Wentz recorded a 9-2 decision over Tamaqua’s Chase Zeigenfuss in the quarterfinals, before pinning Pine Grove’s Aston Owens in 0:36 to reach the finals ... Snyder had a strong showing at the Coal Cracker, going 4-2 with a pair of pins and major decision victories ... Lombardi

was 2-2 at the Coal Cracker.


- 1. Nicholas Zeigenfuss, Lehighton, Sr. (19-11), 2. Hunter Greenawalt, Northwestern, Fr. (11-8)

NOTES: Zeigenfuss

was third at the Schuylkill League Tournament at 139 pounds.


- 1. Derek King, Palmerton, So. (22-7), 2. Richard Kenna, Jim Thorpe, Jr. (15-13), 3. Bryce Smith, Palmerton, So. (10-9)

NOTES: King has already surpassed his win total from last season (18). The sophomore went 2-2 at 139 pounds at the Coal Cracker ... Kenna

was fifth at the Schuylkill League Tournament at 145 pounds.


- 1. Jacob Ferguson, Lehighton, So. (23-11), 2. Jacob Schlier, Tamaqua, Sr. (24-13)

NOTES: Ferguson posted a 7-4 decision over Schlier

in the 152-pound third-place match at the Schuylkill League Tournament. Ferguson also posted a 4-3 decision over Schlier on Jan. 18.


- 1. Luke Fugazzotto, Northwestern, Fr. (23-6), 2. Bradley Whalen, Tamaqua, So. (22-12)

NOTES: Fugazzotto, seeded 10th, advanced to the quarters at 162 pounds of the Coal Cracker Tournament, posting three pins to move on. A loss to Pottsville’s Nick Kunstek, the No. 2 seed, in the semifinals snapped a run of 14-straight wins for the freshman, 13 of which came by pinfall. Fugazzotto finished the tournament 3-2 ... Whalen

was fourth at the Schuylkill League Tournament at 160 pounds. He went 4-2 at the Coal Cracker Tournament.


- 1. Dalton Clymer, Northwestern, Jr. (29-3), 2. Jacob Hehn, Tamaqua, So. (24-11), 3. Brok Solt, Lehighton, So. (16-10)

Honorable mention

- Chase Moffit, Northern Lehigh, Jr. (14-11)

NOTES: Clymer powered his way to the Coal Cracker quarters at 174 pounds, ripping off three first-period pins to advance as the No. 2 seed. A state qualifier last season, Clymer rebounded from a tough loss in the quarterfinals with an impressive run through the consolation bracket. It started with a 15-4 major decision over Jarod Bullington of Selinsgrove Area. He followed that up with decisions over Hazleton’s Robert Anderson and Palisades’ Danny Haubert. Clymer then punctuated the run with a 3-1 decision over Wilson West Lawn’s Blaise Eidle in the third-place match. Eidle went ahead 1-0 in the second period with an escape, but Clymer answered with an escape of his own early in the third period to tie it before getting a takedown with 0:02 remaining to secure the win. Clymer lost by technical fall to Faith Christian Academy’s Adam Waters (29-1) in the quarters. Waters, the seventh seed, went on to post a major decision in the semifinals, before winning the title with another technical fall ... There is a switch at the second spot at 172 pounds. Hehn avenged a loss earlier in the season by pinfall with a pin against Solt

on Jan. 18. Hehn went 3-2 at the Coal Cracker after placing sixth at 172 pounds at the Schuylkill League Tournament ... Solt was third at the Schuylkill League Tournament, but did not wrestle at the Coal Cracker.


- 1. Lucas Miller, Northwestern, Sr. (25-5), 2. Deven Armbruster, Lehighton, So. (16-16) 3. Jason Schubert, Pleasant Valley, Jr. (9-7)

NOTES: After picking up a pin in his first match, Miller posted two close decision wins to reach the 191-pound quarters at the Coal Cracker, topping Northern Lehigh’s Jack Tosh 4-2, before edging Faith Christian Academy’s Jason Singer 3-2 in the next round. Seeded fourth, Miller fell to Gettysburg’s Tyler Withers, the fifth seed, in the quarters. Miller, who also qualified for states a season ago, came back to place seventh with a 14-3 major decision over Central Dauphin’s Eli Poyer ... Armbruster

was fifth at 189 pounds at the Schuylkill League Tournament.


- 1. Noah Schlofer, Northwestern, Jr. (20-10), 2. Wyatt Sherer, Lehighton, Jr. (18-13), 3. Dartanyon Delillo, Northwestern, Sr. (10-8)

Honorable mention

- James Barruzza, Pleasant Valley, Sr. (15-5)

NOTES: Schlofer takes over the top spot at 215 pounds, going 4-2 at the Coal Cracker, with his losses coming by a combined five points. He has gone 7-2 since the last set of rankings ... Sherer was third at the Schuylkill League Tournament at 215 pounds. He had three pins at the Coal Cracker Tournament ... Delillo enters the rankings after going 6-2 since the last set was released ... Barruzza

has not wrestled since a loss to state champion Sonny Sasso of Nazareth on Jan. 11.


- 1. Reese Balk, Lehighton, Jr. (26-5), 2. Sam Frame, Northern Lehigh, Jr. (17-10)

NOTES: Balk’s breakout season has shifted into high gear over the last few weeks. The junior held on for an 8-7 victory over Tri-Valley’s Justis Troutman to win the 285-pound title at the Schuylkill League Tournament. Balk showed his mettle against Troutman, a regional qualifier last season. The junior erased a 2-0 deficit in the second period, tying the match with a reversal before building an 8-2 lead with back points on two occasions. With the pair starting the third period on their feet, Troutman cut Balk’s lead to 8-4 with a takedown. Troutman nearly pulled out the win at the wire. After a reset with 0:11 remaining and Balk starting from the down position, Troutman was able to turn Balk for three near-fall points as time expired to make it 8-7, but Balk wasn’t about to get pinned. Balk was impressive after his first round bye. The junior moved past Williams Valley’s Cameron Green with a technical fall (16-0, 4:00) and reached the finals by pinning Blue Mountain’s Trevor Manbeck in 0:41 in the semis. Balk kept the momentum going at the Coal Cracker, posting three pins to reach the quarterfinals, where he knocked off No. 2 seed Logan Kurzweg of Wilson West Lawn with a 9-2 decision, before pinning Parkland’s Michael Gavrilesku in the semis. Maxwell Roy, the District 12 champion of St. Joseph’s Prep, topped Balk 8-2 in the finals, still a remarkable run for Balk as the 10th seed ... Frame

had an impressive run at the Coal Cracker as the 19th seed. He bounced back from a loss in his first match to win five straight in the consolation bracket – including a 5-4 win over Parkland’s Max Pugach, a 4-2 win over Crestwood’s Chris Smolenak in sudden victory overtime, and an 8-4 decision against Salisbury’s Mitchell Miller, who placed fourth at districts and qualified for regionals last season. He also pinned Scranton’s Javon James, who placed sixth in District 2, in 0:40. He fell to Stroudsburg’s Nicholas Khamis 3-2 (UTB) in his 287-pound seventh-place match.

(Compiled by Patrick Matsinko)

Derek King, Palmerton
Aiden Schlier, Tamaqua