Bedford has ruled the District 5 Tournament the last four years. The Bisons have run away with the team title and they've won a close one.
They've won the tournament with an overall balance that most teams within the district - and out of the district for that matter - look at and envy. Now, it appears, though, it's Somerset holding that overall balance.
And for that reason, the Eagles are the pick to take home the team title. The Eagles moved from District 6 this season, but they did win their only District 5 team title in 1974. What is it with teams like Juniata, Westmont Hilltop and Somerset making moves to another district or up in class and becoming a title contender?
True, Bedford did beat Somerset twice in dual meets, but that's simply Bedford coach Brian Creps making the right moves with the lineup to win the match. Some are tournament teams and some are dual meet teams. Somerset is a tournament team this year, and the Eagles proved that at the Thomas Subaru Tournament.
But the area won't be shut out. The prediction here is that seven area wrestlers will win titles.
It all starts with Bedford's Ryan Easter, who should beat Northern Bedford's Mason Replogle in the 103-pound finals. Easter edged Replogle, 9-6, in their only meeting, so it should be a good one.
The Bisons should have other champions in Brian Gibbons at 171 and Jacob Krupa at 215. Gibbons should breeze to his third title and push North Star's Nick Roberts for the Outstanding Wrestler award. With NBC's Joel Suter likely done for the season, Krupa will benefit and win a close one over Berlin Brothersvalley's returning champ Jacob Craig, whom Krupa beat at the Thomas Tournament.
What a shame if Suter, who has been suffering from mononucleosis since that tournament, can't wrestle in the postseason. He was having a great season.
Snakebitten Northern Bedford should still have a couple champions in Willie Sollenberger at 152 and Quinton Hixson at 285. Sollenberger should meet up with Chestnut Ridge;s Bradie Bollman in the finals. Hixson could wrestle Bedford's Dave Frederick, who will need to upset Meyersdale's top-seeded Eli Kerr in the semis.
After falling in the finals last season, Chestnut Ridge's Shane Pfaunmiller will capture gold with a win over Meyersdale's Collin Day in the 125-pound finals. His teammate, Tyler Dibert, should have no problem in winning the 160-pound crown.
Others like NBC's Drew Gartland (130) and Dan Sollenberger (189), Bedford's Garret Thomas (112) and Ridge's Jeremiah Zimmerman (119) are picks to make the finals but fall there.
It should be an interesting weekend at Windber. Here's the rest of my picks:
103 POUNDS: Finalists: Ryan Easter, Bedford vs. Mason Replogle, Northern Bedford. Champion: Easter. Comment: Tussey Mountain's dangerous Scott Weimert could stop Replogle's run to the finals.
112 POUNDS: Finalists: Nick Roberts, North Star vs. Garret Thomas, Bedford. Champion: Roberts. Comment: Thomas beat Hyndman's third-seeded Brady Logsdon, 8-4, at the Thomas Tournament.
119 POUNDS: Finalists: Stephen McKenzie, Meyersdale vs. Jeremiah Zimmerman, Chestnut Ridge. Champion: McKenzie. Comment: Zimmerman has split with North Star's second-seeded Tayte Mostoller.
125 POUNDS: Finalists: Collin Day, Meyersdale vs. Shane Pfaunmiller, Chestnut Ridge. Champion: Pfaunmiller. Comment: Pfaunmiller is capable of knocking off a top seed.
130 POUNDS: Finalists: Tanner Cahill, Conemaugh Township vs. Drew Gartland, Northern Bedford. Champion: Cahill. Comment: It wouldn't be a surprise if Gartland won.
135 POUNDS: Finalists: Josh Darr, Somerset vs. Tyler Crites, Berlin Brothersvalley. Champion: Darr. Comment: Chestnut Ridge's Dillan Yothers could stop Darr's run to a title in the semifinals.
140 POUNDS: Finalists: Landon Lohr, Somerset vs. Barry Strohl, Hyndman. Champion: Lohr. Comment: Matt Sollenberger or Jason Stover could provide a challenge to Lohr in semis.
145 POUNDS: Finalists: Cory Berchick, Conemaugh Township vs. James Otten, Shade. Champion: Otten. Comment: Berchick will have to deal with Bedford's Tanner Williams in semis.
152 POUNDS: Finalists: Willie Sollenberger, Northern Bedford vs. Bradie Bollman, Chestnut Ridge. Champion: Sollenberger. Comment: Sollenberger beat Bollman, 7-5, the only time they wrestled.
160 POUNDS: Finalists: Tyler Dibert, Chestnut Ridge vs. Jacob Nickelson, Somerset. Champion: Dibert. Comment: Dibert beat Nickelson, 10-2, at the Thomas Tournament.
171 POUNDS: Finalists: Brian Gibbons, Bedford vs. Joe Baer, Somerset. Champion: Gibbons. Comment: Baer is a third seed, but he beat North Star's Jeremy Frampton at the Thomas Tournament.
189 POUNDS: Finalists: Dan Sollenberger, Northern Bedford vs. Nick Baer, Somerset. Champion: Baer. Comment: The semifinal between Sollenberger and Bedford's Mike Brett will be a good one.
215 POUNDS: Finalists: Jacob Krupa, Bedford vs. Jacob Craig, Berlin Brothersvalley. Champion: Krupa. Comment: Assuming here that Northern Bedford's Joel Suter isn't wrestling.
285 POUNDS: Finalists: Dave Frederick, Bedford vs. Quinton Hixson, Northern Bedford. Champion: Hixson. Comment: Frederick is capable of knocking off Meyersdale's top-seeded Eli Kerr.
OUTSTANDING WRESTLER: Nick Roberts, North Star.
TEAM CHAMPION: Somerset. Comment: Eagles have too much overall balance for rest of field.
LAST WEEK'S DISTRICT 6 CLASS AA RECORD: 15 of 30 correct
Todd Irwin can be reached at 946-7464 or at email@example.com