3 Franklin Co. wrestlers earn top seed for sectionals
Chambersburg's Spencer Runshaw won a sectional championship at 113 pounds last year as a freshman as the No. 1 seed.
Saturday, in the Class 3A Section III Tournament at Mechanicsburg, Runshaw, who has a 19-9 record at 126 pounds, will enter as the No. 6 seed.
That should be some indication of how strong Section III is this year.
Franklin County did pick up three No. 1 seeds - Chambersburg's Drew Peck (182) and Shippensburg's Chandler Olson (126) and Cameron Tinner (285). All are defending sectional champions.
When District 3 changed from five sectionals to four, it did some realignment. James Buchanan dropped to 2A and Waynesboro was moved to Section IV. New teams added to Section III included Cedar Cliff, Red Land, CD East, East Pennsboro and Harrisburg.
"In my opinion, our section is by far the toughest," Chambersburg coach Matt Mentzer said. "It's just a hurdle the kids will have to get over."
Of the 16 teams that qualified for the District 3 Team Championships, six are wrestling in Section III - Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Big Spring, Cumberland Valley, Red Land and Cedar Cliff.
Ship coach Tony Yaniello said, "It will be a tough road, but the best wrestlers still usually come through."
In order to advance to the District 3 Tournament next week at Giant Center, wrestlers must place in the top four. And wrestlebacks begin with quarterfinal losers, so any wrestler who is defeated in the first round is eliminated.
"I'm not in favor of that, and I know plenty of other coaches aren't, either," Yaniello said. "You could have kids with 16, 17 wins getting knocked out early, and I just think they should have a chance to wrestle back."
At 126, Runshaw has five higher-seeded kids ahead of him and he'll have to finish ahead of two of them to qualify for districts. The top five seeds include Olson of Shippensburg (32-1), Russell Zimmerman of CV (25-13), Josh McLaughlin of Cedar Cliff (27-5), Austin Rowzer of Red Land (26-4) and Brady Serina of Mechanicsburg (20-7).
At 152, the Trojans' Drake Brenize is 24-7, but is only the fifth seed.
Mentzer said, "Those two weights, 126 and 152, are very tough. There's a lot of depth at quite a few of the weights. That will prepare you for the next week.
"I think we have some weights that could have the same top four guys that wrestle at sectionals go at it again at districts, and maybe even for medals at states."
Peck (24-4) has been nursing a slight knee injury, but Mentzer said he "has no concerns" about the injury going forward.
The Trojans also have a pair of No. 2 seeds in Aaron Rump (27-5) at 138 and Luke Nichter (23-7) at 160.
Shippensburg's third big gun, Cole Forrester (30-2) has the No. 3 seed at 195, behind Northern York's Kyle Koser (28-2) and Big Spring's Blake Barrick (30-5), who owns an overtime win over Forrester earlier this season.
Yaniello said, "We pretty much got what we expected for seeds. If we wrestle the way we are capable, I'm hoping to get six or seven kids through."
NOTES: Greencastle-Antrim is also competing at the Section III event, but had only one seed in the top four - No. 4 Ralondas Green (9-6) at 285 ... In Section IV, Waynesboro picked up a couple of No. 2 seeds - Laken Rouzer (26-6) at 126 and Seth Egolf (23-7) at 195 ... In Class 2A, James Buchanan's top seed was No. 4 Hunter Adkins (7-6) at 152.
Section III at Mechanicsburg: Includes Chambersburg, Shippensburg and Greencastle-Antrim
Section IV at South Western: Includes Waynesboro
Tourney data: Begins 8:30 a.m.; top 4 in each weight qualify for districts
Section III at Susquenita: Includes James Buchanan
Tourney data: Begins at 9:30 a.m.; top 3 in each weight advance to districts