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Excitement builds with start of D6 2A Duals

The excitement of the 2019-2020 wrestling season gets ramped up a little bit more tonight when the first round of the District 6 Class 2A Duals begins.

Glendale (13-1) enters the Duals as the No. 1 seed, while returning runner-up Huntingdon (11-3) is the second seed. Yes, Huntingdon beat Glendale, 46-34, at the Juniata Duals, but the Vikings have more points, 147.69-143.08, in the seeding system.

Other area teams participating are sixth-seeded Philipsburg-Osceola (10-5), eighth-seeded Penn Cambria (6-4), 10th-seeded Central (5-7) and 12th-seeded Tyrone (4-7).

Glendale, Huntingdon, third-seeded Forest Hills and fourth-seeded Bald Eagle Area host first-round matches tonight.

Penn Cambria faces ninth-seeded Mount Union at 6 p.m. at Glendale. The winner faces the Vikings at about 7. Central wrestles seventh-seeded Richland at Huntingdon at 5:30, with the winning facing the Bearcats at 7.

P-O faces off against 11th-seeded Ligonier Valley at 6 at Forest Hills, with the winner taking on the Rangers at 7:30. Tyrone faces fifth-seeded Westmont Hilltop at 5:30 at BEA, with the winning wrestling the Eagles at 7:30.

The Hilltoppers have won two straight District 6 Duals titles, but my pick here to win it all is Forest Hills, which beat Westmont, 37-32, earlier in the season. Forest Hills is a program on the rise with many young stars, including 2019 state champ Jackson Arrington.

The four winners tonight advance to the semifinals, which are being held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Tyrone High School. The finals will follow at around noon.

Only four Class 3A teams qualify under the system, automatically advancing to Saturday at Tyrone. Top-seeded Mifflin County faces fourth-seeded Bellefonte, and second-seeded Central Mountain wrestled third-seeded State College at 2 p.m. The finals will immediately follow.

Altoona finished fifth in the seeding system, while Hollidaysburg was seventh.

The District 5 pairings haven’t been released yet, but there will likely be first-round matches on Thursday. Chestnut Ridge will get a bye in the first round and host the semifinals and finals on Saturday.

The 11-1 Lions have won seven straight District 5 Duals titles, and they should add another championship trophy to their trophy case.

Garcia to play two sports

The star of the weekend’s Ultimate Warrior Tournament at West Branch was Southern Columbia’s returning state champion Gaige Garcia.

Garcia pinned his way to the 195-pound title with falls in 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 23 seconds and 1:15.

Garcia is a heck of an athlete. In fact, he’s going to wrestle and play football at Michigan.

In addition to winning states last season, Garcia, listed as a 5-foot-10, 205-pound running back, holds the state record for career touchdowns (159) and career rushing touchdowns (138). His 8,246 career rushing yards ranks seventh on the state’s career list.

You have to take into account, Garcia was taken out of most games by the end of the third quarter at Southern Columbia, which has won three straight Class 2A state titles and outscored its opponents this year 888-82.

“I actually went toward the football end of things,” Garcia said, “but when I went up to Michigan, I got an offer for football. (Jim) Harbaugh was like ‘Would you like to wrestle as well?’ I’m like ‘I don’t know if it’s really possible, but I’ll try it.’ “

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

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