By Bryan Swan
For The Daily Item
CLARION -- The first night of the inaugural District 4/9 Class AAA Wrestling Championships needed less than two hours to complete the first three rounds.
The combination of District 4 with the five District 9 schools -- Bradford, Clearfield, DuBois, St. Marys and Punxsutawney -- provided several new opponents and the results were immediate with 27 of the 43 quarterfinal matches produced pins at Clarion University's Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium needed less than two hours to complete the first three rounds.
Shikellamy ended the night in third place in the team race with 27 points, trailing St. Marys by four points and DuBois, the two-time reigning champs, by one. Selinsgrove sits in seventh place with 11 points.
The event did not start well for Shikellamy but the final five Braves earned victories.
Tyler Hepler (13-15) pinned DuBois' Kody Cox in 4:29 to advance to the semifinals at 120. Hepler will face the top seed, Punxsutawney junior Joel Bowers (19-1), a two-time regional qualifier.
Tristan Paul (17-5) also recorded a pin at 132. Paul needed just 48 seconds to get past Selingrove's Brett Harpster. Paul will face Punxsy's Josh Schuckers (14-6) in the semifinals.
At 160, John Rohrbach (21-6) began a run of five straight victories for the Braves. The senior pinned Punxsy's Justin Vance in 55 seconds to advance to the semis where he will face St. Marys' William Gabor.
Darryl Englehardt (12-13) followed with a 12-5 decision over Punxsy's Travis Perry. Englehardt will go up against DuBois' Tom Sleigh (32-0), a junior who is in search of his third district title.
Jesse Shambach (19-6) has another tough draw after he pinned Punxsy's Brandon Wingert in 1:02 at 182. His next opponent is St. Marys' Joe McLaughlin (22-9), a two-time district champ.
At 220, Dwayne Pepper (17-7) worked over Bradford's Zach Zawatski en route to a 16-7 major decision. Pepper gets Williamsport's Billy Kennedy (20-7) in the semifinals.