This year’s 38th annual Tunkhannock Kiwanis Wrestling Tournament at Tunkhannock Area High School will feature 27 teams with plenty of familiar faces and some new ones each vying for tournament glory.
The tournament will feature four returning champions and five wrestlers who finished runner-up last year.
Below is a list of each participating team, starting and some of their returning performers and tentative weight classes slated to compete in this year’s tournament.
The three teams covered locally in the Wyoming County Press Examiner are listed first.
Tunkhannock enters the tournament under coach Bob Hegedty with a slew of returning senior talent highlighting the team.
Dalton Ray (170) earned gold at last year’s tournament and finished third at districts.
Dakota Quick (132) and Jake Richards (138) both finished fifth at last year’s regional tournament, while Tommy Bachman (113), Bill Manley (152) and Mike Manley (160) finished second at last year’s tournament.
Bill went on to finish third at districts, while Mike advanced to a sixth place finish at regionals.
The Tigers will also look for solid performances from returning starter and sophomore Sam Rice, who finished sixth at last year’s tournament, and freshman newcomer Tommy Traver.
Lackawanna Trail enters the tournament under head coach Keith Youtz, who continues to rebuild the program with the hopes of one day returning into the revered team of previous decades.
Returning for the Lions is senior Trent Phillips (195), who is looking to improve on last year’s seventh place finish in the tournament, while juniors Tyler Baltrusaitis (138) and Justin Ganser (120) battled to fourth and fifth place finishes last year.
Baltrusaitis also finished third at districts, while senior Rocco Pacini (182) also place third in the district tournament.
Elk Lake is led by first year head coach Rob Gagliardi, who continues in trying to increase program numbers.
Back for the Warriors are juniors Blake Chew (138) and Jacob Hand (152), who both have the potential to be wrestling into the second day of competition.
Abington Heights is back to the tournament under head coach Steve Peters.
The Comets will look for strong performances from seniors Noah Sirianni (113) and Nick Carr (170) and sophomore Owen Hiver.
Blair Academy, N.J.
Blair Academy makes it Kiwanis debut under head coach and alum Brian Antonelli.
The team has wrestled to national prominence in the past and could pose some incredible talent across the field, depending on which grapplers attend the tournament.
The Blue Ridge Red Raiders are back under head coach Dean Lewis.
The team brings back senior David Austin (126), who has finished fifth, fourth and sixth in previous outings at districts.
Senior Evan Aldrich (220) and freshmen Fred Lewis (120) and Adam Roe (152) could also be competitive.
Canton debuts in the tournament under head coach Tim Ward.
The Warriors will look to junior Ethan Landis (120) and senior Brady Bryington (220) for some solid performances.
Coughlin is back in the tournament under head coach Dave Parsnick with several solid grapplers on the squad.
Sophomore Pat Clarke (120) finished third in the district last year and senior Mike Brown (152) and sophomore Josh Brown (132) are back in action.
Crestwood is new to the tournament under new head coach Gary Siegel, who brings his team back to some familiar confines.
Siegel is a former TAHS assistant and volunteer wrestling coach and Crestwood’s first state champion in any sport.
Senior Brandon Rinehimer (120), junior Justin Lukashewski and freshman Paul Ashton (195) are some highlights for the Comets.
The team of GAR Memorial is under the direction of Jason Lavelle, who leads a very young team this year.
Current wins leaders include junior Mike Drozda (195) and junior Robert Shinal (138).
Hanover Area head coach Anthony Mercadante will look for good efforts from his team.
The Hawkeyes return juniors Jeff Bennett (126), who finished second at last year’s tournament, Zakee Nettles (138) and Nick Hannon (285), as well as junior Noah Rakowski (152), who finished third at districts.
The Honesdale is back to the tournament under head coach Ryan Chulada.
The Hornets are led by junior Troy Russell (126), who finished second in last year’s tournament and third at districts, and junior Alec Dragos (182)
Mahanoy is back in the tournament under head coach Mark Lawrence.
The Golden Bears return sophomore Matt Lewandowski (160), senior Nolan Fegely (170) and have a good newcomer in freshman Colin Fegley (152).
Montrose is back under head coach Matt Hawley.
The Meteors return junior Jacob O’Brien (120), who finished second at both last year’s Kiwanis tournament and district competitions, as well as sophomore Mikyle Fabrizio (138).
Mount Carmel returns to the tournament with some experienced wrestlers under head coach Steve Sinkovich.
The Red Tornadoes bring back senior Gabe Bogutskie (182) and senior Allen Yancoskie (195) and junior Wesley Shurock (220), who finished fifth and sixth and last year’s regionals, respectively
Mountain View returns to the tournament under head coach Ken Decker, who continues to rebuild the program.
The Eagles will look to junior Corbin Smith (120), who finished sixth at last year’s districts.
Nanticoke is back in the tournament under head coach Harold Shotwell.
Returning for the Trojans are seniors Dom Souder (126) and Jake Havey (195).
Northeast Bradford returns to the tournament under head coach Curt Cole.
The Panthers will feature sophomore Tyler Devonshire (160) and junior Casey Ellis (132).
Pocono Mountain East
Pocono Mountain East makes its return to the tournament under head coach Christopher Potter.
The Cardinals feature junior James Benjamin (138) and seniors Josh Stoner (160), Robert Craig (220) and Matt Bruno (285) as some grapplers looking to make some noise..
Pocono Mountain West
Pocono Mountain West makes its tournament debut under head coach Gregory Theony.
For the Panthers, keep an eye out for seniors Najzim Reed, Greg Sheppard (126) and John Brisco (182) as some of the wrestlers that could impace the tournament.
Sayre is back in the tournament under head coach Glenn Jarvis.
The Redskins will look for solid performances from sophomore Nathan Nerdin (113), Gavin Lundy-McCutcheon (138) and senior Damon Whipple (152).
Scranton Prep is back under the tutelage of coach Marty Flynn.
The Cavaliers feature some experience, including senior Thor Balavage (285), who finished second at last year’s tournament, first at districts and third in regionals.
Joining him as possible contenders are his brother, sophomore Ivan Balavage (182) and junior Tommy Carroll (152).
Valley View is back in the tournament with several experienced grapplers under head coach Christian Reese.
The Cougars bring back sophomore Brandon Judge (120) who burst onto the scene as a freshman with a first place finish at districts and fifth place finish at regionals.
Also returning are junior Brett Uhrin (132) and senior Zack Meckes (145), who both finished first at districts and took sixth at regionals.
Western Wayne is back in the fold under head coach Dante Terenzio.
The Wildcats field several district qualifiers, including junior Harrison Clookey (145), senior Dakota Swoyer (195) and sophomore Cole Fuller (220).
All three finished with silver medals at districts, with Fuller and Swoyer finishing fourth and sixth at regionals, respectively, The trio expects to make some noise in this year’s tournament.
Wyalusing is back in the tournament and returns as one of the early favorites with a stacked squad under head coach Gary Haley.
The Rams finished fourth in the state last year and had five individual state qualifiers, including junior Josh Haley (138), sophomore Creighton Edsell (145) and senior Colin Edsell (152).
Both Haley and Colin Edsell took first in last year’s Kiwanis, with Edsell finishing fourth in the state and Haley taking third in regionals. Creighton Edsell finished second at regionals.
Also returning are junior Dawson Otis (285), who took fifth place at regionals, senior Ryan Kipp (182) who took first at last year’s Kiwanis and sophomore Luke Yonkin (126), who also won first in the Kiwanis last year at 113.
Wyoming Area is back with some experience under head coach Steve Mytych Jr.
The Warriors should see strong performances from senior Patrick Heck (138), who finished second in the district last year, and senior Zach Briggs (170).
Wyoming Seminary will enter the tournament with its B-Team, which stems from a Blue Knights program that won the National Prep title in 2014 and finished runner-up in the same competition in 2015.