Nearly four years ago, Willie Saylor, then of Amateur Wrestling News (AWN), penned an article proclaiming the 2010 Pennsylvania Senior class "the best ever". It was a bold proclamation, coming just ahead of the PIAA State Individual Tournament, and the Dapper Dan Classic, where those PA seniors would face off against the best from across the nation.
No one argued with Willie at the time. Of AWN's 12 high school weight class rankings, a PA senior sat atop the list in six of them. Three more were ranked 2nd. Across all classes, Pennsylvania sported 46 nationally ranked kids (see full table at bottom).
Now, four years later, the 2010 PIAA participants are rolling into the NCAAs, if they chose to continue competing. Let's see what the 2010 PIAAs had to offer collegiate wrestling, across both divisions. Full brackets for AA are here, and AAA brackets are here.
AA: Willie liked Nicky Roberts to repeat as State Champ. He didn't. Roberts, now a top 25 125lber for Ohio State, finished 3rd, having lost in the semifinals to a freshman named Zain Retherford. Retherford, who took gold, is now a threat for the title at 141 as a true frosh for Penn State.
AAA: in the big schools Willie picked Austin Miller, now at Oklahoma State to take home gold. Instead, Miller finished runner-up to Connor Schram, who is redshirting at Stanford. The bronze medalist was Penn State's Jordan Conaway, who finished R12 at 133 as a freshman last year.
AA: Josh Polacek, now at Maryland, was Willie's choice. Instead, David White, an NCAA qualifier at 125 for Binghamton this year, took home gold. Randy Cruz, redshirting for Lehigh, finished second, and Lock Haven's Cody Wheeler, who just missed qualifying for NCAAs, finished 3rd. Polacek placed 4th.
AAA: Willie took the favorite, Jimmy Gulibon, who became a rare 4x PA State Champ. Jimmy beat Corey Keener, a top 20 125lber for Central Michigan, in the final. Devon Lotito, Cal Poly's top 20 133lber, placed 7th, while Kent State's Mackenzie Maguire - the 16-seed at 133 - did not make the podium.
AA: This figured to be a battle between two top contenders, Tyler Small (Kent State's top 20 141lber) and Colton Fought (NC State). Small, the senior, took gold over the junior Fought. Two sophomores, Zack Beitz (Penn State, top 20 at 149) and Laike Gardner (Lehigh, top 20 at 141), placed 5th and 7th, respectively.
AAA: Among the big schools, Willie liked Zach Horan (CMU, 7-seed at 141). Instead, Horan finished runner-up to Mitchell Port (Edinboro, #1 at 141). Cameron Throckmorton (North Carolina) looked like the bronze medalist, but instead finished 5th, with Penn's Casey Kent (top 20 at 165) taking 3rd place.
AA: Joe Spisak, now UVA's 16-seed at 141, took gold at the small school level, besting former Penn Stater Frankie Martellotti, who qualified for NCAAs at 133 two years ago before retiring this season. Pitt's 157lber Ronnie Garbinsky finished 5th, behind now-fellow teammate Mikey Racciato, who qualified for NCAAs as a true frosh this year at 149lbs. Another true frosh who also qualified for NCAAs this year, Clarion's Austin Matthews, finished 8th.
AAA: If it hadn't been for a bad knee injury, Willie would have taken Sam Sherlock, a former Penn Stater and current Clarion Golden Eagle. But with Sherlock out of the PIAAs (and injured for NCAAs now, too), Willie liked Steve Spearman - and Spearman (Clackamas JC) took home gold in an overtime final, over Tyler Buckman. Army's Tyler Rauenzahn finished 3rd. Lock Haven's Dan Neff, who qualified for NCAAs as a frosh last year at 141 and again this season, placed 4th. Lehigh's Midlands Champ Mitch Minotti placed 5th. State College native and former Penn Stater Erik Galloway finished 8th.
AA: Willie liked AJ Schopp (Edinboro, 2-seed at 133) to win his second state title, and he did, pulling out a close decision over Penn State's Luke Frey, who placed 7th at the Southern Scuffle this year at 149lbs. Nick Hodgkins (Central Michigan) took 3rd.
AAA: Josh Dziewa (Iowa, top 20 at 141) was the favorite, and came thru with gold, besting Chattanooga's Shawn Greevy in the final. Nick Catalano (North Carolina) took third, ahead of Pitt's Travis Shaffer. Alex Pellicotti (Bucknell), Willie's runner-up pick, finished 5th, while Jordan Rich (Lock Haven), whom Willie tabbed for bronze, did not place.
AA: Colin Shober won his 2nd state title before heading to Northwestern, where injuries derailed his career. Willie's runner-up choice, Phil Steinberg (Army), finished 8th. Instead, the silver medalist was recent Penn State graduate Seth Beitz.
AAA: Josh Kindig (Oklahoma State, 11-seed at 149) took gold, over mild surprise finalist Lorenzo Thomas (Penn, 11-seed at 184). Willie runner-up Mark Hartenstine (Campbell) finished 3rd, ahead of Joe Marino (Harvard). Lehigh frosh Brian Brill placed 5th, while State College senior Scott Bosak (Cornell) did not place.
AA: Willie would like this one back, more than likely. He tabbed, in order: Jordan Moss (Pitt, finished 2nd); Aaron Fry (Lock Haven, finished 5th); and Phil Racciato (Wilkes, finished 6th). Instead, it was Nick Carr (Kent State) taking gold, and Shawn Perich (UP-Johnstown) landing bronze.
AAA: This was an easier choice. Andrew Alton, a top 5 recruit nationally across all weights, tech falled or pinned everyone in his bracket on his way to gold. Aaron McKinney (Lock Haven) took silver, with Bo Candalaria (Kutztown) finishing with bronze.
AA: This wasn't the strongest weight class. Still, Willie's choice for gold, Tyler Hain, finished 8th. His bold choice of 9th-grader Cody Wiercioch for bronze, though, wasn't too bad - Wiercioch took gold, and is now finishing his redshirt year at Pitt.
AAA: Here was another easy one. Penn State's Dylan Alton took gold, ahead of Shane Springer (Rider) and Austin Sommer (Drexel).
AA: This bracket featured two returning champs on a collision course: Eric Hess (Lehigh) and Dirk Cowburn (Penn State). Hess won, 1-0. After redshirting at Lehigh, Hess was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in December 2012 - but he's beating it. Cowburn placed twice at University Nationals freestyle, but couldn't break into a middleweight lineup that featured David Taylor, Matt Brown, and Ed Ruth, and put his wrestling shoes on the mat after last season. The guy who took bronze at PIAAs, then sophomore Wes Phipps, will try to break into the Penn State lineup next season.
AAA: Marshall Peppelman (Cornell) was another top 5 national recruit, and he took gold. Troy Reaghard (Pitt) finished with silver. John Staudenmayer (North Carolina) placed 3rd. Willie's runner-up pick, Mark Havers (Clarion), did not place, while two NCAA qualifiers at 197, Nick Bonaccorsi (Pitt) and John Bolich (Lehigh), finished 7th and 8th.
AA: Willie like Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh, redshirting), but he finished 2nd to Matt Cunningham (Cornell). Shane Stark (Kings) and Lewendo Teague (Clarion) placed 3rd and 4th.
AA: Now we get into the wrestling vs. football weights. Willie's choice of Garth Lakitsky finished 4th this year, though he later won gold, beat everyone's hero Andrew Campolatano at Dapper Dan, chose D2 football, before walking on at Penn State this year. Steve Ceremunga (Stevens Tech), who didn't make Willie's picks, won the title.
AA: Willie's pick Brian Beattie (Mercyhurst) battled an injury, and finished 8th. Instead, it was Eric Laytos (Kutztown) taking gold, ahead of Matt Mongera.
AAA: Willie liked, in order, Spencer Myers, Nate Gaffney, and Sean Sadosky. Myers (Maryland, 12-seed at 285) did take gold. But it was Zach Nye (qualifier for Virginia Tech) whom Myers beat in the final. Another overlooked guy, Nick Ruggear (Penn State), took 3rd, over Joe Stolfi (qualifier for Bucknell at 285). Sadosky (football) finished 5th, while Gaffney (Edinboro) did not place.
AA: Willie's picks for 1st and 2nd, Ty DeMott and Wes Tilet, missed the top 3. DeMott finished 4th, while Tilet wrestled back for 7th. Instead, it was John Rizzo (now at Pitt, after some time playing football) who took gold.
AAA: To make up for that, though, Willie nailed the top 3 in order at the big school class. Evan Craig (Rider) repeated as champ, ahead of Zach Corl and Adam Lazenga.
Was it the "best class ever"? It was certainly loaded with future NCAA qualifiers. But without a single National Champion crown (so far), that would be a hard argument to make today. Perhaps that changes in 6 days.
|Wt Class||Class Rank||Wrestler||2010 Year||College|
|140||1||Josh Kindig||4-SR||Oklahoma State|
|145||1||Andrew Alton||4-SR||Penn State|
|152||1||Dylan Alton||4-SR||Penn State|
|189||1||Mike Evans (prep)
|285||1||Mike McMullan (prep)
|130||3||Sam Sherlock||4-SR||Penn State|
|160||9||Dirk Cowburn||4-SR||Penn State|
|119||10||Mike Rhone||4-SR||Lock Haven|
|135||10||Jordan Rich||4-SR||Lock Haven|
|189||13||Antonio Giorgio||4-SR||North Carolina|
|130||17||Frank Martellotti||4-SR||Penn State|
|119||19||Anthony Marino||4-SR||East Stroudsburg|
|119||2||Nico Megaludis||3-JR||Penn State|
|171||4||Kenny Courts||3-JR||Ohio State|
|125||8||Zach Horan||3-JR||Central Michigan|
|135||8||Nick Hodgkins||3-JR||Central Michigan|
|140||11||Evan Henderson (prep)
|103||3||Nicky Roberts||2-SO||Ohio State|
|152||5||Jason Luster||2-SO||West Virginia|
|130||6||Steve Spearman||2-SO||Clackamas JC|
|112||8||Corey Keener||2-SO||Central Michigan|
|112||10||Dom Malone (prep)
|112||2||Jimmy Gulibon||2-SO||Penn State|
|103||10||Zain Retherford||1-FR||Penn State|
|285||12||Brooks Black (prep)