Honesdale, Western Wayne and Wallenpaupack Area will each be well-represented at this weekend's Northeast Regional wrestling tournament. The Hornets and Buckhorns travel to Bethlehem Liberty, while the Wildcats trek to Williamsport Area.
From the very beginning of the 2007-’08 scholastic wrestling season, Wallenpaupack Area’s Steve Krushnowski has been touting Roberto Rivera as a legitimate state contender.
So far, Rivera hasn’t let his coach down. A gifted, battle-tested senior, Roberto lost just one bout in the regular season, then rolled to his first ever-District Two title. Paupack’s 112-pounder now has his sights set on a trip to the podium at regionals and a berth in the PIAA championships.
“We’re very excited about Bobby’s chances,” Coach Krushnowski told TWI Sports Friday afternoon. “He’s been here twice before and hasn’t won a match. So, getting off on the right foot is going to be very important. We love his draw. We think Bobby matches up well and has an excellent shot at advancing.”
Another local wrestler with a genuine chance at moving on states is Mark Turner of Western Wayne. A three-time District Two champion, Turner is looking to close out his storied varsity career with a PIAA medal.
“Mark has a very tough bracket, but I can definitely see him in the finals,” Wildcat Coach Rich Walker said. “There aren’t any easy bouts at regionals, but I think Mark is focused and ready to go. We just want to get him through to states. And, after that...who knows?”
Honesdale is taking four wrestlers to the Class AAA tourney. Bobby Kinsman, Peter Mesko, Luis Rivero and Ryan Smith will represent the Hornets at regionals.
This year’s edition of Northeast Regionals is being held in two locations. Class AAA teams (which include Honesdale and Paupack) will be wrestling at Bethlehem Freedom. Class AA teams (Western Wayne among them) are at Williamsport Area.
Breakin’ It Down
Rivera was slated to begin his quest for a regional crown last night. Paupack’s top gun earned an opening round bye in the 112-pound bracket. He entered the fray with an outstanding 31-1 record.
In all likelihood, Rivera will face Jordan Glykas of Northampton in the quarterfinals. A sophomore who sports a 26-15 overall mark, Glykas must first face Stroudsburg’s Matt Valentin (22-14) in a preliminary bout.
“Bobby’s 0-4 at regionals the past two years, so getting that first win is huge,” Coach Krushnowski said. “Right now, it’s all about confidence. We know Bobby can beat anyone from the neutral position and that’s what we’re going to stress. If somebody beats him on his feet, then they deserve to win.”
In addition to Rivera, Paupack is also represented this weekend by Jared Herringer. A largely unheralded senior who’s been flying under the radar of late, Jared battled his way to a fourth place finish at districts.
Herringer will step onto the mat at Bethlehem Freedom with a 22-11 record. He’ll begin his 125-pound journey in the first round against Nazareth’s Ryan Krecker. Just a freshman, Krecker has compiled a 32-12 record this season.
“I know he’s a talented kid, but it’s still a freshman versus a senior and I like those odds,” said Coach Krushnowski. “In all honestly, we were pleasantly surprised that Jared made it to regionals. He’s going to go out there and give it his best shot, but I think he’s just happy to be here.”
Western Wayne’s hopes are riding squarely on the shoulders of Mark Turner. The all-time winningest wrestler in Wildcat history, Turner rolls into the Class AA event with a sparkling 31-3 record. He will begin one last quest for states with a first round bout against Canton’s Eric Shedden.
A fourth seed from District Four, Shedden is a savvy senior with a 30-7 record. Should Turner survive this first test, he’ll most likely run into Benton’s Erik Hess. A senior who is the overall #3 seed in the bracket, Hess is a sophomore who piled up a 30-7 overall mark this year.
Paul Garguillo and Josh Koellner are also competing at regionals. Both wrestlers have enjoyed a stellar campaign; however, Coach Walker believes Garguillo has the best chance of moving on to states.
A senior who won 23 bouts this season, Garguillo drew an opening round bout against Jordan Politza of Mount Carmel. Politza is a senior and the bracket’s #4 seed. He went 34-7 on the year.
“I really like Paul’s chances,” said Coach Walker. “He probably won’t make it to the finals, but if Paul works hard and wrestles smart, there’s no reason he can’t be in the third place bout. The way it looks, he might face (Aaron) Karns there and that’s a winnable bout.”
Coach Walker pointed out that Garguillo had Karns on his back twice when Western Wayne and Berwick squared off at District Duals. The Dawgs’ top wrestler is 27-2 and the top seed.
Koellner has been on a roll almost from the start of the year. Josh (32) actually has more wins than Turner (31) at this juncture in the post season. Sadly for Varden grappling fas, Koellner has the misfortune of competing in a stacked weight division.
He opens his weekend with a battle against Athens’ Garrett Morgan.
A junior who’s won 29 bouts thus far, Morgan is the bracket’s overall #4 seed. Should Koeller win this encounter, he’d most likely face Nick Venditti of Berwick (32-3).
“Josh definitely has his work cut out for him,” Coach Walker said. “He’s in a tough, tough bracket. Josh has worked hard all season and I’d love to see him win a couple of bouts at regionals.”
Honesdale doesn’t have a district champion in Bethlehem; but, the Hornets do have more wrestlers in the field than their local rivals. Bobby Kinsman, Peter Mesko, Luis Rivero and Ryan Smith are all making their Northeast Regionals debut.
Kinsman’s quest starts against Jacob Dabashinsky of Blue Mountain (34-13). Mesko begins with Stroudsburg’s Jordan Kays (13-7). Rivero matches up with Dan Martisofski of Bethlehem Liberty (15-16), while Smith faces off against a fellow frosh, Shikellamy’s Landry Badman (22-11)
"Success breeds success," said Coach Ryan Chulada. "We've had a great year. Getting four kids through to regionals is a coach's dream."