In the past, I did not start doing postseason predictions until after the sectional tournaments.
Wrestling gets under way this morning in Mifflinburg, Benton and Sayre to determine the field for next weekend's District 4 Class AA tournament in Williamsport. With only three sectionals, instead of the previous four, each sectional will advance four wrestlers.
So with the sectionals down to three and all but one of the local teams competing in the East (at Mifflinburg), and looking for something to do between shoveling snow Thursday, I decided to add an extra round of picks.
So here goes:
106: This is as good a place as any to apologize to Lewisburg's Brian Friery, the top seed at the weight. I inadvertently left his name out of a story in Friday's edition about the East Sectional and the top seeds.
Friery, ranked No. 1 in the state by Off the Mat, comes away with the title with a win over one of Line Mountain's fine freshmen, Collin Klinger. Third to Southern Columbia's Shane Casey and fourth to talented soph D'varon Feliciano of Mifflinburg.
113: Line Mountain junior Cameron Newman gets the nod here, but could have a challenge in the final from Midd-West junior Corey Stauffer. Lewisburg's Ryan Gessner is the choice for third with fourth to Mifflinburg's Patrick Wetzel.
120: The best of a talented Valley freshman class, Southern Columbia's Todd Lane, takes the title over another outstanding Line Mountain freshman, Brian Earlston. Milton freshman Logan Bennett is the pick for third over Midd-West soph Dalton Klingler.
126: Give Mifflinburg's Noah Kuba a slight edge over Lewisburg's Dante Taylor in a battle of seniors. Line Mountain junior Blake Carl is the pick for third with fourth to Southern Columbia senior Brett Shepard.
132: The only two wrestlers in the class with winning records should battle in the final, with Midd-West junior Tanner Ebright taking the title over Mifflinburg's Cooper Wagner. Shamokin sophomore Brett Long takes third with Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech sophomore Anthony Keen getting the final ticket out.
138: Welcome back, Kent Lane. Southern's fine junior and returning state medalist has missed the last three weeks to a knee injury that required surgery. He returns to win the title here over Mifflinburg senior Logan Stenger. Lewisburg freshman Trey Delbaugh gets third with fourth to Line Mountain's fast-improving freshman Gary Laudenslager.
145: Milton junior Zack Bennett should battle yet another Line Mountain freshman, Kenny Boyer, in the final. Boyer joined the team late after moving back to the district from Alabama. Bennett is the pick in this one, with Mount Carmel junior Blake Panko third and Mifflinburg senior Brendan Hicks fourth.
152: Make sure you are in your seat for this one. Mifflinburg junior Cole Walter, seeking his third state medal in three tries (he has a third and a seventh) takes on Southern Columbia sophomore Blake Marks, a returning state qualifier and son of two-time state champion Jerry Marks, the Tigers' coach. Walter was not happy when Southern forfeited to him in the D4 Duals, denying him a shot at Marks, who has been ranked No. 1 much of the season by Off the Mat.
The highly motivated Walter is the pick this week. Third to Alex Tittle, a Midd-West sophomore and fourth to Danville sophomore Jay Brennan.
160: Milton senior Ryan Preisch is talented and fun to watch, and he is determined to jump on the PIAA podium this year -- higher than his third place of a year ago. He gets the nod over Lewisburg junior Max Reed. Third to Mifflinburg junior Darian Trego and fourth to Southern junior Conner Houseknecht.
170: Lewisburg junior Logan Aikey is the pick over returning state qualifier Alex Lieberman, a Midd-West senior. Third to Danville senior David Burke and fourth to Mount Carmel sophomore Gabe Bogutskie.
182: Another tough Green Dragon gets the nod here with Lewisburg senior Nick Bernstein picked over Milton sophomore Gage Heller. Line Mountain sophomore Brendan Renn is the pick for third with fourth to Southern's Steve Toczylousky.
195: Milton soph Brandon Stokes tops Danville junior Gunnar Feldmann for the title with third going to Southern's Robert Delbo and fourth to Mount Carmel freshman Wesley Shurock.
220: Another Midd-West senior, Zach Longacre, is the choice here over Lewisburg junior Jon Ward. Line Mountain senior Rayce Boyer takes third with fourth to Danville senior Zach Campbell.
285: All season, this looked like a no-brainer. But the beast of the tournament, former state champion and North Dakota State recruit Nazar Mironenko, had surgery on a shoulder injury from last year that finally got the best of him. With Mironenko gone, the pick to win this one is another outstanding football player, Southern's Adam Feudale, over Midd-West senior Adam Zerby. Third to Line Mountain freshman Garrett Kieffer. Fourth to Shamokin sophomore Adam Miller.
Warrior Run will compete today in an extremely competitive Central Sectional, which will include host Benton, Montgomery, Muncy and Hughesville.
Those who come out of this one should be battle-tested. Warrior Run's top seeds are Eric Hunt at 113 and Zack LeBarron at 120.
n Harold Raker covers high school wrestling for The Daily Item. Email comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.