By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
If the seeds hold up, fans are in for some great matchups in Saturday’s finals of the District 4 Class AA wrestling championships in Williamsport.
Those matchups could include a meeting of former Line Mountain teammates Seth Lansberry and Zain Retherford at 138 pounds.
Retherford won a state title as a freshman and placed third as a sophomore at Line Mountain. He was forced to sit out last season because of a transfer to Benton, but won a world championship during the summer.
His former Eagle classmate, Seth Lansberry, is a returning PIAA seventh-place medalist. Lansberry, 31-2, is the No. 1 seed with Retherford, 37-0, seeded second.
The Valley’s Class AA and AAA wrestlers will be in action Friday and Saturday. In addition to the AA tournament in Williamsport, the PIAA this year has combined districts 4 and 9 for Class AAA; that tournament will also get under way Friday at Clarion University.
AAA preliminaries will begin at noon Friday while AA prelims will start at 5 p.m.
Also in AA, at 126, a pair of 31-0 wrestlers are seeded No. 1 and 2. The top seed is Williamson senior Logan Everett, and the No. 2 seed is Southern Columbia sophomore Kent Lane. Everett placed fifth in the state last season while Lane was a state qualifier.
At 145, a three-time state place-winner, Benton senior Colt Cotton, 34-5, is the top seed with 31-0 Billy Barnes, a Williamson sophomore, also 31-0, is the second seed. Cotton finished fifth as a freshman and fourth each of the last two seasons.
The 152-pound class also has the potential for an outstanding final. Hughesville’s Kyle Barnes, a state runner-up last season at 145 and 29-2 this season, has the No. 1 seed over No. 2 Ryan Preisch, a Milton junior and returning state qualifier at 23-4.
Preisch knocked off freshman standout Blake Marks (who is seeded fifth) in last week’s South Section final.
Other returning state place-winners in the field include a pair of state champions: Milton’s three-time PIAA place-winner and returning 195 champion Ryan Solomon (top seeded at 195) and Mifflinburg sophomore Nazar Mironenko (28-3 at 285), the returning gold medalist at that weight.
The others are Mifflinburg sophomore Cole Walter, third at 120 and top seeded at 132; Lewisburg senior Brandon Smith (27-1) at 220, seventh at 195 last season; Benton junior Jeric Kasunic (28-6) at 160, fifth at 152; and Muncy senior Troy Hembury (33-1 at 182).
Kasunic is set up to meet Mifflinburg senior and former state place-winner Ty Walter (26-3) while Hembury is seeded first to No. 2 and unbeaten (26-0) Garrett Wesneski of Canton, a junior.
Benton has the most No. 1 seeds with three, followed by Line Mountain and Mifflinburg with two each.
The top five from each weight class will advance to the Northeast Regional the following weekend, also at Williamsport.
CLARION — It’s a different story for the Valley (Shikellamy and Selinsgrove) wrestlers, who will leave the comfort of home and a four-team tournament for the rugged west.
The only area wrestler seeded in the top two is Shikellamy senior John Rohrbach (20-6), who is second at 160.
DuBois leads the way with seven No. 1 seeds followed by Clearfield with three.
The only unbeatens in the event are Williamsport sophomore Roshaun Cooley, 20-0, the top seed at 106, and DuBois junior Tom Sleigh (31-0), the No. 1 seed at 170.
The top three place-winners move on to the Northwest Regional the next weekend at Altoona.