District 6-3A tourney will look different next season

The District 6 Class 3A Tournament will have the same teams as last season, but it will look significantly different next season.

Philipsburg-Osceola and Bald Eagle Area have always wrestled in the Class 3A tournament since the class division split in 1974, but they will be competing in the Class 2A tournament next season.

There will be eight Class 3A teams next season, as Class 2A teams Johnstown and Juniata are moving up and Somerset is dropping to Class 2A and will likely be returning to District 5.

BEA returned to prominence this season, amassing an undefeated record before losing to Mifflin County, 36-33, in the District 6 Duals finals. The Mounties improved in Brad Pataky’s second year as coach, and he’ll get more talent coming from an unbeaten junior high team.

Add those schools into the mix with Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy, Huntingdon, Mount Union, an up-and-coming Glendale, Westmont Hilltop and others from the 27-team field, and the tournament becomes even tougher than it already is.

Shocked with Ridge, Maxwell

I was kind of shocked to see that Chestnut Ridge qualified a program record 13 wrestlers to the Southwest Regional Tournament and had a school record eight District 5 champions.

Led by four-time champion Justin McCoy, who was voted the Outstanding Wrestler, the Lions bulldozed their way to their seventh straight District 5 Tournament title. They’ll look for a regional title this week.

Even seventh-seeded Wyatt Maxwell, a sophomore who entered the tourney with an 0-1 record at 220 after Duane Knisely dropped to 195, qualified for regionals by taking third.

Bad history, good sportsmanship

Some history was unfortunately made in the District 6 Class 2A Tournament.

It was the first time Class 2A wrestlers from the Mirror coverage area didn’t win a District 6 title since the class division split in 1974.

But there was also some good sportsmanship on display.

With Penn Cambria’s Brock Talko dazed and laying on the mat in his 138-pound consolation semifinal bout against Central’s Braeden Swab, Swab kneeled over Talko and held his opponent’s right arm in concern. Swab won the bout, 3-1, and he went on to take third. Talko finished fifth.

“I didn’t see exactly what happened,” Central coach Dave Marko said, “but I’d like to think all of these kids for every team would be competitors like that. Whenever you’re out on the mat, you want to go to the field of battle, but you don’t want to injure people. So, I wouldn’t necessarily say that speaks of just Braeden as much as it speaks to the kids in this sport.”

Rasheed, Cassar should eliminate

So apparently Penn State is going to go with Shakur Rasheed over Anthony Cassar at 197 pounds for the Big Ten Tournament.

“We’re just leaning toward Shak (Rasheed) right now,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson told the media on Sunday after the 55-0 romp over Buffalo.

While I think Rasheed has a chance to do big things in the postseason, my suggestion would be to have a best-out-of-three wrestle-off with Cassar. I think Cassar deserves to have the chance considering he beat Ohio State’s top-ranked Kollin Moore, 6-3, in the 19-18 thriller over the Buckeyes.

Todd Irwin can be reached at tirwin@altoonamirror.com. He can be followed on Twitter at @ToddIrwin1.

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