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PIAA wrestling championships begin Thursday Schopp, Garbinsky start quest for gold

Hershey bound The 112-pound PIAA state qualifiers from last weekend’s Southwest Regionals on the medal stand at the Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown. Left to right: Fifth place-Jeremy Landowski, Burrell; Third place-Evan Henderson, United; Champion-Anthony Zannetta, Keystone Oaks, Second place-A. J. Schopp, Tyrone; and Sixth place- Luke Lohr, Somerset, who is the first alternate. (The Daily Herald/Bob Miller)

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) — The PIAA wrestling championships begin Thursday with 448 wrestlers vying for 28 titles in two classes. Some are making their first appearance, while others have made multiple trips to Hershey’s Giant Center.
Heading the list of returnees in Class AA is Shady Side Academy sophomore Frank Martellotti (45-10) and Tyrone sophomore A.J. Schopp (36-4) at 112 pounds. Martellotti defeated Schopp in last year’s PIAA 103-pound final, but neither won a title at this year’s Southwest Regional.
“It’s very obvious that 112 is the toughest weight class in Class AA,” said Shady Side Academy coach Tim Giel. “There are at least eight kids who have a legitimate shot of winning the title. Frankie will have to be at his best to win another title.”
Martellotti has the unfortunate task of facing a returning PIAA placewinner in the first round. He is matched with Boiling Springs sophomore Joe Spisak (35-5), a sixth-place finisher at 103 last season.
Spisak, Schopp and Martellotti are in the upper half of the 112-pound bracket, along Mount Carmel’s Josh Malick, a two-time placewinner who finished eighth at 112 last year.
The bottom half of the bracket features three returning placewinners: Milton junior Brock Waughen (33-4), Brandywine Heights sophomore Zane Yocco (43-8), and Curwensville sophomore Derek Brothers (31-3). The trio finished fifth, seventh and eighth last year at 103.
Anthony Zanetta, a junior from Keystone Oaks with a 36-0 record, is also in the lower half of the bracket. He is also the only unbeaten entry in the weight class, and has beaten both Martellotti and Schopp.
“It’s stacked from top to bottom,” said Zanetta, who posted a 1-2 record in his first PIAA appearance last year. “Anything can happen at any moment in this weight class. I just have to have a good weekend.”
Schopp (36-4), who was second at the Southwest Regional, will wrestle Union City freshman Shane Rankin (36-3) who was third at the Northwest Regional in the opening round. The winner of that bout will meet the winner of the match between Bermudian Springs junior Nick Blasone (37-11) and Mount Carmel senior Josh Mallick (36-2), who won the 112-pound championship at the Northeast Regional.
Tyrone freshman 103-pounder Ronnie Garbinsky (36-3), a second place medalist at the Southwest Regional, will begin his tournament against Benton freshman Coltin Fought (38-5), who finished third in the Northeast Regional last weekend. The winner of that match will face the winner of a match between Jefferson-Morgan senior Brian Scritchfield (31-10) who was fifth at the Soutwest Regional, but did not wrestle Garbinsky, and Pen Argyl freshman Jamie Welsh (32-4), who won the 103-pound title at the Southeast Regional.
Two weight classes feature six returning placewinners — 119 pounds in Class AA, and 112 pounds in Class AAA.
The top returnee in the Class AA 119-pound weight class is Northeastern Lehigh junior Evan Yenolevich (34-1), who was the runner-up at 112 last year. He is the only returning placewinner in the lower half of the bracket.
The other five placewinners are in the upper half of the bracket, with two facing off in the first round: Forest Hills junior David Fogle (34-2) and Brandywine Heights senior Matt Yocco (50-6).
Fogle is a two-time placewinner who finished sixth at 112 last year. Yocco placed third in 2006, but didn’t place last year. Neither won a regional title this year.
Also in the upper half of the bracket are: Greenville junior Coty Burnett (34-5), Pottstown senior Seth Ecker (36-2), and Line Mountain senior Tyler Erdman (40-1). Burnett placed fifth at 112 last year. Ecker is a two-time placewinner who finished seventh at 112 last year. Erdman has moved down to 119 after finishing seventh at 125 last year.
The strongest weight class in Class AAA is 112, as Penn-Trafford junior Shane Young (40-0) has moved up after claiming the 103-pound title last year. Young brings an 86-match win streak into the tournament.
Joining Young in the upper half of the bracket are: Central Dauphin junior Simon Rice (45-4) and Central Mountain sophomore Jordan Rich (36-7). Rice finished fourth at 103 last year, while Rich placed seventh.
The lower half of the 112-pound bracket features Emmaus senior Taylor Brown (36-8), Bellefonte junior Mitchell Port (30-6), and Kiski Area senior Zach Cecchetti (30-6). Brown is a two-time placewinner who finished second at 112 last year. Port finished fifth at 103, while Cecchetti was fifth at 112. Port and Cecchetti meet in the first round.
Two other weight classes in Class AAA have a pair of placewinners facing off in the first round.
Dallastown senior Zach Oberlander (33-4) and North Allegheny junior Joe Waltko (33-4) are matched in the first round at 125. Oberlander was sixth at 125 last year. Waltko placed fourth at 103 in 2006.
Central Dauphin junior Tony Dallago (42-6) and Northampton junior James Sheptock (36-3) face off in the first round at 152. Dallago is a two-time placewinner who finished second at 140 last year. Sheptock placed seventh at 140 last year.