TUNKHANNOCK — A year ago at this time, Hanover Area’s John Sheridan busted onto the wrestling scene at the Tunkhannock Kiwanis Wrestling Tournament when he won the championship, beating GAR’s eventual third-place state finisher Saul Wilkins in the finals.
But then things went downhill for the 285-pounder. A few weeks after the huge victory, he broke his wrist and missed the rest of the season.
He then missed the start of this season after a broken finger injury during football season, and saw his first action of the new campaign on Tuesday at the 38th Annual Tunkhannock Kiwanis Wrestling Tournament.
“The last year has been tough. It’s been tough getting in shape,” Sheridan said. “It feels great to get back on the mat and win. I’d rather be at a tournament than a regular match.”
Sheridan picked up where he left off almost a year ago winning twice by fall in the first period to reach the tournament semifinals, which begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Tunkhannock High School. The senior will face Wyalusing’s second seed Dawson Otis – who also pinned his way to the semis – in a rematch of the semifinal from a year ago that was won by Sheridan.
If Sheridan is going to repeat as champion, by being lucky enough to get past Otis for the second straight season, it won’t get any easier in the final. There he would likely face the bracket’s top seed, Scranton Prep’s Thor Balavage, who is a returning state qualifier and has bumped up from 220-pounds last season.
“I just gotta wrestle hard, wrestle my best and I’m sure I’ll succeed,” Sheridan said. “If I win the next match we’ll see what happens.”
A win by Sheridan in the semis over Otis will also help out tournament host Tunkhannock. The Tigers are leading the defending champion Rams by 11 points as they look for their first tournament title since 1984. Tunkhannock has 132 points, while the Rams have 121. The third-place team is Western Wayne with 88.5 points, 32.5 behind Wyalusing
“If we wrestle well and take care of business on our own we should be able to come out on top. My guess is it’s going to come right down to the end,” Tunkhannock coach Bob Hegedty said. “The kids are hungry, they know what’s on the line. They know Wyalusing isn’t going to back down. Those kids are always well-coached, well-prepared.”
Both teams enter this morning’s semifinals with eight participants to lead all teams with the next closest being Wyoming Seminary’s B Team with five in the semis.
The Tigers will be represented in the semis by Dave Gavek (106), Tommy Traver (126), Dakota Quick (132), Jake Richards (138), Bill Manley (152), Mike Manley (160), Dalton Ray (170) and Sam Rice (195). Tunkhannock and Wyalusing will go to head-to-head in just one semi, at 160 when Mike Manley takes on Denton Porter. It’s only possible for the teams to meet in just three finals, so the championship, if won by either of the two teams, will likely be decided by other teams.
“The guys that we have in wrestlebacks, those guys have to battle through. Those are key points coming through to place third,” Hegedty said. “The guys in the semis and finals will take care of their own business, but we have to make sure the guys in the wrestlebacks are scoring points, that’s where it’s going to be determined.”
Quick had one of the strongest quarterfinals for Tunkhannock, picking up bonus points with a fall in 5:33 over Wyoming Area’s Pat Heck. The score of the match was just a one-point margin in favor of Quick when he notched the pin.
Gavek, Traver, Mike Manley and Rice also laced falls in their quarterfinals, while Ray defeated Wyoming Seminary’s Mike Doggett via major decision.
“Pat Heck is a good kid and for Dakota to be able to catch him and pin him like that was a good boost for us,” Hegedty said. “It’s always good to get a couple extra bonus points when you don’t expect it.”
Coughlin and Hanover each have four semifinalists for the Wyoming Valley Conference, while Wyoming Area will have a pair of wrestlers in the semis.
The Crusaders and Hawkeyes are also battling it out for positioning in the top five. The Hawkeyes are currently in fifth place with 79 points, while Coughlin is in seventh with 77. Wyoming Seminary’s B Team is eighth with 69 points, and Crestwood’s 65 points are good for ninth.
Tunkhannock Kiwanis Tournament
Team Scores: 1. Tunkhannock (Tun) 132; 2. Wyalusing (Wy) 121; 3. Western Wayne (WW) 88.50; 4. Pocono Mountain East (PME) 86.50; 5. Hanover Area (Han) 79; 6. Pocono Mountain West (PMW) 77.50; 7. Coughlin (Cou) 77; 8. Wyoming Seminary (Sem) 69; 9. Crestwood (Cre) 66; 10. Honesdale (Hon) 61.50; 11. Abington Heights (AH), Valley View (VV) 59.50; 13. Mount Carmel (MC) 56; 14 Mahanoy Area (Mah) 54.50; 15. Northeast Bradford (NEB) 54; 16. Wyoming Area (WA) 52.50; 17. Scranton Prep (SP) 47; 18. Montrose (Mon) 40; 19. Canton (Can) 39; 20. Blue Ridge (BR), 33; 21. Lackawanna Trail (LT) 28; 22. Sayre (Sayre) 23; 23. GAR (GAR) 21; 24. Elk Lake (EL) Nanticoke (Nan) 14; 25. Elk Lake (EL) 10; 26. Mountain View (MV) 7
106 – Joseph Hester (Mon) dec George Mrscich (WW) 4-0; Braden Breithaupt (PME) pinned Dave Jones (Nan) 1:03; David Gavek (Tun) pinned Dillon Kruczek (Sem) 1:34; Blaise Devine (NEB) dec Tyler Schaud (Cre) 8-2
113 – Noah Sirriani (AH) maj dec Josh Beeman (Tun) 12-1; Dennis Putzi (Hon) pinned Joey Rey (Cou) :31; Nick Bauer (Sem) dec Elijah Hernandez (PME) 8-6; Darren Schrum (Wy) pinned Ryan Dunn ((WW) 5:10
120 – Jeff Bennett (Han) pinned Fred Lewis (BR) 1:02; Troy Russell (Hon) dec Jacob O’Brien (Mon) 10-6; Pat Clarke (Cou) pinned Justin Ganser (LT) 3:20; Brandon Judge (VV) pinned Tracey Brown (Wy) 3:40
126 – Jake Brown (Cou) pinned Mike Gronkowski (Han) 1:01; Greg Sheppard (PMW) dec Evan Hoherchak (WW) 3-2; Tommy Traver (Tun) pinned Dave Austin (BR) 1:28; Michael Giallorenzi (Sem) default Brandon Rinehimer (Cre)
132 – Josh Haley (Wy) dec James Benjamin (PME) 5-0; Will Moss (Sem) dec Tyler Baltrusaitis (LT) 7-2; Josh Brown (Cou) dec Brett Uhrin (VV) 10-4; Dakota Quick (Tun) pinned Patrick Heck (WA) 5:33
138 – Jake Richards (Tun) dec Joe Doss (Wy) 9-3; Marod Dobrzyn (WW) dec Cody Bond (NEB) 3-1; Kendrick Beyer (WA) dec Owen Davis (Han) 9-6; Zack Meckes (VV) dec Frank Castano (Cou) 8-1
145 – Creighton Edsell (Wy) pinned Connor Munley (Tun) :25; Gavin McCutcheon (Sayre) maj dec Justin Lukashewski (Cre) 19-6; Jake Stefanowicz (Sem) dec Marc Stine (VV) 5-3
152 – Collin Edsell (Wy) pinned Howie Babcock (VV) :29; Andrew Munn (Sem) tech fall Tommy McDonald (MC) 24-9; Noah Rakowski (Han) dec Harrison Clookey (WW) 6-3; Bill Manley (Tun) dec Matt Ingrassia (Sayre) 9-3
160 – Mike Manley (Tun) pinned Matt Lewandowski (Mah) 1:00; Denton Porter (Wy) dec Jake Hand (EL) 7-2; Josh Stoner (PME) dec Zachary Briggs (WA) 11-4; Nick Carr (AH) pinned DJ Klinges (LT) :42
170 – Dalton Ray (Tun) maj dec Michael Doggett (Sem) 14-3; Mitchell Fletcher (MC) dec Bruce Parola (SP) 3-0; Ed Mapes (Wy) dec Rocco Pacini (LT) 6-3; Nolan Fegley (Mah) maj dec Owen Hivner (AH) 15-7
182 – Ivan Balavage (SP) pinned Josh Flaherty (Tun) 2:28; Alec Dragos (Hon) dec Jon Brisco (PMW) 7-3; Ryan Kipp (Wy) pinned Chris Graf (BR) 1:01; Adam Buczynski (WA) pinned Derek Swoyer (WW) 2:28
195 – Allen Yancoskie (MC) pinned Justin Joseph (WA) 2:42; Sam Rice (Tun) pinned Zach Williams (Hon) 1:31; Dakota Swoyer (WW) dec Paul Ashton (Cre) 2-1; Trent Phillips (LT) dec Mike Wilcox (Wy) 2-1, OT
220 – Cole Fuller (WW) pinned Damon Barhight (WA) 1:45; Nick Hannon (Han) dec Evan Aldrich (BR) 1:31; Greg Bensley (PMW) pinned Brad Bryington (Can) 5:45; Gabe Bogutskie (MC) pinned Chris Caravella (Mah) 1:01
285 – Thor Balavage (SP) pinned Tyler Nuss (Cre) 1:20; Matt Bruno (PME) pinned Matt Pittsman (VV) 1:29; John Sheridan (Han) pinned Owen Maryott (NEB) 1:23; Dawson Otis (Wy) pinned Trevor Shuder (MC) :21
Reach Dave Rosengrant at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @tldrosengrant