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High School Wrestling

Powerade Wrestling Primer: What to Watch For



It’s finally here. One of the top amateur wrestling events in the nation, the Powerade tournament, begins Friday. Although it is coming a month later than expected, it was worth the wait and the talent surely won’t disappoint. Wrestling will take place Jan. 29 and Jan. 30 at Monroeville Convention Center in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Due to COVID-19 protocols and guidelines, in-person attendance among fans is limited. However, the event can be seen live on FloWrestling.

The 2021 iteration, again due to coronavirus will look and feel a lot different than it has in the past. Here are some things to be on the lookout for heading into what is sure to be one of the best high school wrestling events of the year.

The Differences/The Basics

For the 54th consecutive year, the tournament formerly known as the California University of Pa. tournament will be held. This year though, at the Monroeville Convention Center for the first time rather than at its customary site, Cannon McMillan High School in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

Over the years, the Powerade tournament has attracted schools from 16 different states. Only two states will be represented this year, due to travel restrictions. A total of 55 schools will participate in the tournament, which begins Friday, including nine schools from Ohio. Of the 46 Pennsylvania entries, 27 are from the WPIAL.

With respect to lineup sizes, eight schools will be bringing three or fewer competitors. Again, this seldom occurs, but an exception was made in light of the circumstances. Each of the 13 weight classes (down from 14 in PA last season) will have roughly 40 wrestlers per weight. Eight wrestlers (No.1- No. 8) will be seeded at every weight. All other wrestlers with the going unseeded. Teams are allowed to have more than one wrestler in each wait if they wish. But only one wrestler will be allowed to collect points toward the team race.   Click here for the current bracket.

Event formatting is vastly different this year as well. The first day has been separated into three sessions that feature specific weight classes. The first session will begin at 9 a.m. and include weight classes from 106 to 126. The second session will begin at 1 p.m. and include weight classes 132 to 152. The third session will begin at 5 p.m. and include the final five weight classes, 160 to 285. There will be 12 mats in use at all times with six mats per side.

The junior high Powerade event occurred last weekend and went well by all accounts, according to tournament director Frank Vulcano Jr., who is also Canon-McMillan’s athletic director.

The Powerade varsity tournament will begin Friday and conclude Saturday, with the finals and consolation finals scheduled for 5:30 p.m. With that, a junior varsity tournament and three girls tournaments on Sunday will follow. These ancillary events will be age-bracket tournaments are for 8-and-under, 10-and-under, 12-and-under and 15-and under. The girls tournaments are for elementary, junior high and high school.

Top Teams

The boys varsity tournament will feature three of the top teams in the state — Waynesburg, Notre Dame Green Pond and Malvern Prep. Waynesburg is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 3A, while Notre Dame Green Pond is No. 1 in Class 2A. Malvern Prep placed second in last year’s Powerade tournament, while Waynesburg finished third.

Wyoming Seminary, the 2019 Powerade tournament team champion, canceled its winter schedule with hopes of returning in the spring. Thus, they will not be in attendance.

With respect to Waynesburg, the Raiders returned to the mat last Saturday after a two-week COVID-19 shutdown and posted five wins in the Cavalier Duals, held at Kiski Area High School. They are 7-0 on the year and have posted at least 42 team points at every dual thus far.

A Stacked Field of Grapplers

By the numbers, this is what we are looking at:

3 – Returning Powerade Champions: Waynesburg sophomore Mac Church, Seneca Valley senior Alejandro Herrera-Rondon, and Malvern Prep senior heavyweight Cole Deery.

8 – Returning Powerade Runner-Ups

46 – Returning Powerade Placewinners

11 – Individual State Champions

19 – National Prep Tournament Champions

74 – Individual State Tournament Qualifiers

Other Things Note

The 106-pound class is very young. Five of the top eight seeds are freshman. Should be a fun one to watch.

Waynesburg Central, Malvern Prep are the teams to watch as far as the team race is concerned. Seneca Valley is a strong team out of the WPIAL that could place.

Dylan Chappell (Seneca Valley), Mason Gibson (Bishop McCourt), and Mac Church (Waynesburg) are some lightweight studs to keep an eye on.

The 120-pound weight could be one of the most talent-heavy of all the weights.

Mac Stout could be a contender for Outstanding Wrestler. Stout, a highly-rated recruit out of Mt. Lebanon, comes from a wrestling family, with siblings who wrestled at Pitt, and one currently at Princeton. Expect him to shine this weekend.

Freshman, Rune Lawrence of Frazier is another guy to watch, he too, come from a strong wrestling family.

Note: The brackets and team list are subject to changes. As of Thursday, changes are still occurring. The brackets and participant fields are still very fluid.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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