WRESTLING: Krokowski Could Make History At WVCs
Ten years of the Wyoming Valley Conference’s wrestling tournament will be in the books by Saturday night.
If all goes according to plan, one name will stand out from the rest in the league’s decade of championships.
Valley West senior David Krokowski is a few more wins away from becoming the WVC tournament’s first four-time champion. He’s the 126-pound top seed this weekend at Lake-Lehman and — though his weight class does have its challenges — is one of the favorites to leave the gym Saturday with another title.
Beyond Krokowski’s potential history and a few other stars with their eyes on a third WVC championship, there’s a lot up in the air.
Eight teams start the tournament this evening at 5 with at least one top-seeded wrestler. Only Valley West, with three, has more than two No. 1 seeds. Among the five schools without such a wrestler, Coughlin won last year’s team title, while Crestwood placed third.
So while there might be a few heavy favorites individually, it could become a tight race to the top of the team leaderboard and a colorful display of uniforms during Saturday’s 4 p.m. finals.
Below, take a look at some of the top contenders at each weight this weekend.
2018 champion: David Evans, Tunkhannock
Top six seeds: 1. Johnny Corra (7-6), Hazleton Area; 2. Zach Capie (3-5), Nanticoke Area; 3. Ian Ratchford (14-4), Valley West; 4. Hunter Greenberg (3-5), Crestwood; 5. Owen Woods (12-4), Tunkhannock; 6. Josh Warman (9-5), Coughlin.
What to know: As juniors, Capie and Greenberg are the veterans at this weight. They’re also returning WVC medalists. ... Capie placed at districts last year, too, and could give the Trojans finals appearances in consecutive seasons. ... Corra had an early exit to his freshman tournament but could make a statement here.
2018 champion: J.J. White, Valley West
Top six seeds: 1. Cadden Kucek (14-4), Valley West; 2. Joseph Sauers (3-7), Nanticoke Area; 3. Cooper Price (13-4), Coughlin; 4. Brando Abreu (5-6), Meyers; 5. Justin Benscoter (8-8), Dallas; 6. Jake Patlia (5-8), Lake-Lehman.
What to know: Kucek, a regional qualifier last season, will look for another chance in a WVC final. ... He may have to deal with Price, a freshman off to a nice start and the only other here with a winning percentage above .500. ... Kucek, Sauers and Abreu are juniors in a bracket with five freshmen and a sophomore.
2018 champion: Darren Clarke, Coughlin
Top six seeds: 1. J.J. White (15-4), Valley West; 2. Joe Rowley (13-2), Hanover Area; 3. Jason Carver (3-3), Meyers; 4. Beck Hutchison (11-8), Hazleton Area; 5. Kyle Emsley (10-4), Wyoming Area; 6. Liam Farrell (4-8), Dallas.
What to know: White, a two-time WVC champ, could make it three in a row. He won last year’s final via tech fall over Rowley and might get a finals rematch with the fellow regional qualifier. ... Carver, a 2018 regional medalist, is among other challengers with a shot at the finals.
2018 champion: David Krokowski, Valley West
Top six seeds: 1. David Krokowski (14-2), Valley West; 2. Nick Yule (6-1), Berwick; 3. Zach Stuart (10-5), Lake-Lehman; 4. Trey Zabroski (8-4), Crestwood; 5. Nino Cinti (9-4), Coughlin; 6. Adam Sigman (4-9), Wyoming Area.
What to know: This is one of the most significant weights of the weekend. Krokowski can become the WVC’s first four-time champion. ... Yule, a two-time D2 champ, highlights those standing in the way of tourney history. ... Stuart and Zabroski are also regional qualifiers, while Cinti is coming off a Tunkhannock tourney title.
2018 champion: Jake Brown, Coughlin
Top six seeds: 1. Bob Long (15-3), Lake-Lehman; 2. Tyler Shaud (10-4), Crestwood; 3. Christian Kislan (9-6), Hazleton Area; 4. Ethan Munley (7-7), Tunkhannock; 5. Sa’id Hollis (9-4), Coughlin; 6. Jackoy Gayle (6-4), Meyers.
What to know: Believe it or not, Long — one-time D2 champ, two-time D2 finalist and three-time regional competitor — has yet to win a WVC title. That could finally change here. ... Watch out for Kislan, though, who took down a top seed in last year’s tourney. ... Munley placed fifth here in 2018.
2018 champion: Tommy Traver, Tunkhannock
Top six seeds: 1. Tommy Traver (15-0), Tunkhannock; 2. Darren Clarke (3-3), Coughlin; 3. Caleb Burns (7-4), Meyers; 4. Ben Yanchick (3-6), Dallas; 5. Connor Wrobleski (13-4), Wyoming Area; 6. Josh Bonomo (7-8), Lake-Lehman.
What to know: If Traver keeps his record spotless this weekend, he’ll go out with his third straight WVC title. ... Clarke, also reigning D2 champ, could meet Traver in the finals after nearly wrestling him for Tunkhannock tourney gold. ... Yanchick is a returning medalist here, while Wrobleski is a freshman wrestling well for the Warriors.
2018 champion: D.J. Erickson, Hanover Area
Top six seeds: 1. Hunter Burke (8-2), Lake-Lehman; 2. Thad Mead (6-7), Dallas; 3. Gavin D’Amato (11-4), Tunkhannock; 4. Jamie Pahler (10-5), Coughlin; 5. C.J. Demark (4-5), Pittston Area; 6. Jared Banesh (6-7), Hanover Area.
What to know: One of the deeper top-fours of the weekend consists entirely of returning medalists with something to prove. At last year’s tourney, D’Amato narrowly took second, Burke was third, Pahler finished fifth and Mead placed sixth.
2018 champion: Tashawn Qualls, Coughlin
Top six seeds: 1. D.J. Erickson (13-1), Hanover Area; 2. Charles Everdale (15-4), Hazleton Area; 3. Jake Trumbower (7-3), Lake-Lehman; 4. Oscar Perla (3-5), Berwick; 5. Michael Gavin (6-7), Crestwood; 6. Nick Solinsky (5-8), Dallas.
What to know: Erickson is inching closer to 100 career victories but will need a preliminary draw to get there this weekend. Regardless, the returning champ could continue to build momentum with another title. ... Everdale and Trumbower were both D2 bronze medalists last season and represent Erickson’s top threats.
2018 champion: Ron Grevera, Crestwood
Top six seeds: 1. Robin Wrobleski (12-4), Wyoming Area; 2. Liam Stone (10-6), Crestwood; 3. A.J. Gorto (5-3), Pittston Area; 4. Bryce Molinaro (11-6), Hazleton Area; 5. Savon Collins (4-5), Meyers; 6. Connor Morgan (3-5), Lake-Lehman.
What to know: Wrobelski lost right away but battled back for fifth in last year’s one-day tournament. Now up a few weights, a title is a real possibility for the senior. ... The rest of this group didn’t place at last year’s WVCs, but Stone is a three-time D2 medalist and Molinaro has had some impressive performances as a freshman.
2018 champion: Steven Newell, Dallas
Top six seeds: 1. Adam Eckhart (12-2), Nanticoke Area; 2. Nick Zaboski (12-4), Lake-Lehman; 3. Jake Marnell (15-8), Hazleton Area; 4. Len Kelley (13-7), Dallas; 5. Tanner Smith (9-8), Coughlin; 6. Alex Anastasi (3-6), Pittston Area.
What to know: After taking third in 2018, Eckhart is a top seed and perhaps Nanticoke Area’s best shot for its first WVC title. ... Zaboski, Marnell and Kelley all made it to regionals last year, though, and won’t go down without a fight.
2018 champion: Connor Munley, Tunkhannock
Top six seeds: 1. Steven Newell (13-1), Dallas; 2. Jayson Brielmeier (7-4), Hazleton Area; 3. Isaiah Johnson (12-3), Nanticoke Area; 4. Chandler O’Farrell (6-5), Crestwood; 5. John Symons (4-3), Pittston Area; 6. Joe Davis (4-10), Coughlin.
What to know: Newell is rolling and shooting for his third WVC title in a row. ... Brielmeier was a WVC runner-up last year and could make things interesting. ... Johnson is off to his best start yet and is another returning medalist here.
2018 champion: Shane Noonan, Hazleton Area
Top six seeds: 1. Jaryn Polit-Moran (11-2), Wyoming Area; 2. J.J. Snyder (7-2), Berwick; 3. Seth Hunsinger (11-7), Hazleton Area; 4. Dave White (9-6), Valley West; 5. Nick Marabell (8-5), Tunkhannock; 6. Matt Ferrara (3-6), Dallas.
What to know: With last year’s top-three all gone, there’s an opportunity for anyone to leave his mark on the conference. ... Polit-Moran made regionals and took fourth in the WVC last season. ... Snyder and Hunsinger were D2 medalists in 2018 and have the chance to shine even brighter here, too.
2018 champion: Shane O’Rourke, Crestwood
Top six seeds: 1. Shane Noonan (14-0), Hazleton Area; 2. T.J. Meehan (8-7), Lake-Lehman; 3. Taylor Bolesta (8-7), Dallas; 4. Connor Lee (12-6), Coughlin; 5. Seth Pelton (6-7), Nanticoke Area; 6. Logan Hegedty (2-6), Tunkhannock.
What to know: Noonan grabbed his first championship here in 2018 and hasn’t slowed down much since. ... Meehan battled back to fifth at last year’s tournament and made it to regionals, so Noonan isn’t guaranteed a repeat performance.
2018 champion: Kaleb Konigus, Lake-Lehman
Top six seeds: 1. Shawn Henninger (11-4), Dallas; 2. Shane Repasky (11-4), Nanticoke Area; 3. Aaron Warnagiris (0-0), Coughlin; 4. Manny Selever (2-8), Valley West; 5. Jhamal Zacharias (1-0), Tunkhannock; 6. Cole Robbins Long (0-0), Lake-Lehman.
What to know: Henninger, already a D2 champion, has his first WVC title in sight. ... Repasky, fourth in the WVC and D2 in 2018, is his top challenger. A lot of uncertainty lies after those top two seeds.