With January upon us, and the Christmas treats and tournaments finished, there will be some interesting developments team-wise and individual-wise as the rest the of the wrestling season unfolds.
Looking ahead, here's some of them:
The two pound weight allowance - You'll see many wrestlers begin to drop a weight after the two-pound allowance kicks in on Jan. 15. Many see dropping a weight as an advantage, and in most cases, that's true. For those who don't drop, it's a little break from having to sacrifice to make the flat weight.
Big individual matchups - On the heels of the upset win by Chestnut Ridge's Josh Shane over Central Cambria state runner-up Phil Steinberg last week, there will be some more big bouts coming up. At some point, possibly in the Thomas Automotive Family Tournament on Jan. 29-30, Shane and Steinberg could meet again.
Possibly even more interesting could be a matchup between Steinberg and Tyrone's Ronnie Garbinsky in that tournament. The 140-pound rankings were pretty tough to figure out this week. In the end, Garbinsky is No. 1, Shane is No. 2 and Steinberg is No. 3. Also, look for Penn Cambria's Evan Link to wrestle Huntingdon's Kie Brown.
Big team matchups - Bedford, and it's 39-match regular season winning streak will be put to the test beginning this week. The Bisons, who survived a 34-31 scare against Claysburg-Kimmel on Dec. 12, wrestle North Star tonight, and then they tangle with District 6 power Westmont Hilltop Thursday at home.
The last time the Bisons and Hilltoppers got together, it was at last year's PIAA Team Duals, and it turned into an instant classic. The Bisons earned a white-knuckle 30-29 win in the consolation semifinals when Sam Gardner, a senior with a 2-12 record who hadn't wrestled in weeks because of a tailbone injury, avoided getting pinned by Westmont Hilltop star 152-pounder T.J. Keklak in the final bout.
Leading 10-0 but needing a pin for his team to win, Keklak hit a cement mixer in the final 20 seconds to put Gardner on his back. The move sent both sides into a frenzy, and when Gardner fought off the pin, the Bisons erupted in celebration.
It should be an interesting dual meet to watch.
A.J. Schopp's quest for a state title - The Tyrone star has wrestled in the state finals twice, and he's come up empty twice. After he lost in the finals as a freshman, I figured it was only a matter time before he won a title. A lot of things can happen, but it looks as if Schopp, up three weights from last year's state run, will finally get the monkey off of his back.
Jenkins out at PSU
Bubba Jenkins, who was an NCAA runner-up his sophomore season, has been released from his scholarship by new Penn State coach Cael Sanderson, according to a Centre Daily Times report.
Jenkins was planning on redshirting this season to heal up from injuries he sustained last year. Even though he began his junior season 24-0, Jenkins never returned to the exciting form that enthralled Penn State fans his first two years. An ankle injury bothered him most of the season, and a back injury at NCAAs left him with an 0-2 mark there.
Todd Irwin can be reached at 946-7464 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.