By Harold Raker
For The Daily Item
Fans may have felt deprived after the most anticipated final of last week’s District 4 South Sectional ended with a second-period fall by Mifflinburg’s Cole Walter. But they should be excited about the possibility of Walter and Southern Columbia’s Blake Marks participating in at least one, if not two or three possible rematches.
If they want to see the two standouts meet in the finals of this weekend’s District 4 Class AA championships, they have to hope the seedings at 152 pounds do not hold up.
Walter (34-2), as expected, is the No. 1 seed. Marks (27-3) fell to No. 6 with his loss.
That means Marks will have to wrestle a preliminary-round match while Walter gets a bye to the quarterfinals.
The tournament, at Williamsport High School, begins with preliminaries at 5 p.m. Friday followed by the quarterfinals at 7. The top five in each weight class advance to the Northeast Regional tournament, also at Williamsport the following weekend.
Wrestling resumes at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with the championships to follow the parade of champions at 5:30.
In Class AAA, the District 4/9 tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at Clarion University. The pairings were not available Monday night.
Marks, eighth in the state last season, and Walter, a two-time state medalist (third and seventh), would again be the marquee matchup Saturday night.
Marks, a sophomore, opens with North Penn sophomore Bradley Pequignot (18-15) and, if Marks wins, he would get No. 3 Justin Sheets, a Towanda senior, who is 33-8, in the quarterfinals.
Walter will face the winner of Midd-West sophomore Alex Tittle (20-13) and Montgomery junior Thomas Goetz (20-9) in his quarterfinal bout.
In AA, nine of the 14 top seeds are Valley wrestlers and none of the teams have more than one. In addition to Walter, sitting at No. 1 are Brian Friery, Lewisburg, at 106; Cameron Newman, Line Mountain, 113; Zack LeBarron, Warrior Run (120); Lewis Williams, Central Columbia (126); Kent Lane, Southern Columbia (138); Ryan Preisch, Milton (160); Alex Lieberman, Midd-West (170); and Jordan Troup, Bloomsburg (285).
There are six unbeatens in the field, with two of them at 106: Friery, 31-0; and Brian Courtney, Athens, 23-0.
The others are Nathan Jones, South Williamsport, 32-0, at 120, and Trevor McWhorter, Williamson, 34-0, at 138; Billy Barnes, Williamson, 33-0, at 145; and Troup, 22-0.
As indicated above, the battle for the title at 106 looks to be entertaining with Friery, a junior, and Courtney, a sophomore, seeded first and second.
At 120, Southern Columbia’s returning state place-winner — Kent Lane, a junior — returned for sectionals after missing nearly a month because of knee surgery. With a quarterfinal win, Lane, 15-1, would likely face the winner of a semifinal between Jones and McWhorter.