TUNKHANNOCK – Sam Rice had quite the start to the 40th Annual Tunkhannock Holiday Tournament.
The Tunkhannock senior began the event in his home gym on Wednesday with a victory by fall over Coughlin’s Aaron Warnagaris to claim career win No. 100.
A few hours later, the 195-pounder stepped on the mat and earned victory No. 101 in a matchup of returning District 2 runners-up when he pinned Hanover Area’s J.J. Hooper in a key quarterfinal matchup of the tournament.
In the quarter, Rice took momentum from his big win earlier in the day and wasted no time. He got a quick takedown then rode out Hooper for the remainder of the first period. A quick second-period escape and another two points for takedown in the second period gave Rice a 5-0 lead after two, before a third-period fall.
“I was feeling really good before the match and I wasn’t really nervous. I was just doing my stuff and my offense,” Rice said about the quarterfinal.
Even tough those two matches were big wins for Rice, he would really like two more on Thursday.
That would mean a big win in the semifinals over returning state medalist Ivan Balavage from Scranton Prep. The second win on Thursday for Rice would mean his first title at his home tournament.
Rice met Balavage in the finals of last year’s tournament, with the Prep senior pulling out a late victory. This time around, Rice is ready for the challenge.
“I’m just gonna keep wrestling my best, open up my offense,” said Rice. “It’s gonna be a lot of offense, a lot of takedowns. It’s definitely gonna be an offensive match. I just have to make sure I work my offense.”
Two more wins for the tall upperweight could also mean the second team trophy for the Tigers in three seasons at their home tourney. Tunkhannock has six semifinalists, the most of any of the 26 teams in the tournament. Rice is joined in the semis by David Evans (106 pounds), David Gavek (120), Gavin D’Amato (132), Tommy Traver (138) and Connor Munley (182).
While Rice is looking for his first tournament victory, Traver, a junior, is shooting for his third straight gold in the tournament. Traver will face Coughlin’s Josh Brown in the semis — with Pocono Mountain East’s Steven Storm or Cranford’s Conor Halpin waiting in the other semi. Traver met Storm in the Northeast Regional last season.
“(The) 138 (class) is really good. Brown is really good,” Tigers coach Bob Hegedty said. “The winner that comes out of that weight class is gonna be well-tested moving forward.”
As a team, the Tigers are in second place with 98 points. Cranford is the team leader with 102 points and three wrestlers in the semifinals.
“I saw some experience from some of our younger guys and we’re winning some matches in the wrestlebacks that we lost. The guys I expect to be winning need to keep winning,” Hegedty said. “They gotta win and wrestle hard (today). If they happen to get knocked off in the semis, they gotta hold their composure and come back and wrestle for third. A lot of times when you win tournaments, it’s from picking up points in the consolation.”
Coughlin sits in fourth place with 91.5 points and five in the semis as Nino Cinti (106), Tino Morrow (113), Jake Brown (132), Josh Brown (138) and Corey Harrison (285) all advanced.
Wyoming Seminary’s B Team is represented with four semifinalists in Lincoln Heck (120), Owen Davis (152), Mike Giallorenzi (160) and Kyle Costello (182). The Blue Knights are in sixth place with 71 points. Rounding out those in the semis from Wyoming Valley Conference schools are Hanover Area’s Joe Rowley (113) and DJ Erickson (152) and Wyoming Area’s Damon Barhight (285).
The semifinals are set to start at 10 a.m. today, with the medal matches slated for 2 p.m. and the finals for approximately 4 p.m.
40th Annual Tunkhannock Holiday Tournament
1. Cranford (Cran) 102; 2. Tunkhannock (Tun) 98; 3. West Scranton (WS) 93; 4. Coughlin 91.5; 5. Wyalusing (Wya)89.5; 6. Wyoming Seminary B Team (Sem) 71; 7. Montrose (Mont) 69; 8. Scranton Prep (SP) 62; 9. St. Joseph Prep (SJ) 61; 10. Northeast Bradford (NEB) 56; 11. Mahanoy Area (Mah) 55.5; 12. Hanover Area (Han) 55; 13. Abington Heights (AH) 54; 14. Western Wayne (WW) 52; 15. Bradford (Brad) 51.5; 16. Wyoming Area (WA) 46.5; 17. Pocono Mountain East (PME) 45; 18. Canton (Can 41.5; 19. Pocono Mountain West (PMW) 37.5; 20. Valley View (VV) 33; 21. Troy (Troy) 31.5; 22. Nanticoke (Nan) 24; 23. Lackawanna Trail (LT) 18; 24. Blue Ridge (BR) 17; 25. Elk Lake (EL) 11; 26. Sayre (Say) 7
106: David Evans (Tun) pinned Jimmy Gluck (Cra) 4:11; Brandon Grogan (AH) maj dec Dimitri Reggie (WW) 11-0; Nino Cinti (Cou) dec Dante Luliano (SJ) 1-0; Sheldon Seymour (Troy) pinned Austin Fashouer (WS) 5:46
113: Sean Guinan (SJ) pinned Nate Koch (WW) :19; Tino Morrow (Cou) dec Andrew Rosevear (Mon) 10-6; Tony Caramanno (WS) pinned Connor Cherneski (SP) 4:39; Joe Rowley (Han) pinned Keane Kiat (AH) 1:02
120: Duncan Waite (SJ) dec Darren Clarke (Cou) 5-3; David Gavek (Tun) pinned Samme Segers (SP) 5:10; Lincoln Heck (Sem) tech fall Pat Kalnins (Cra) 23-4; Darren Schum (Wya)maj dec Ty Wilmot (AH) 13-0
126: Joe Hester (Mont) dec Elijah Hernandez (PME) 2:52; Nick Palermo (SJ) pinned Trevor Williams (Troy) 1:03; Randy Bonitz (WS) dec Jamie Pahler (Cou) 4-2; Luke DiGiovanni (Cra) pinned Logan Newton (Wya)4:43
132: Brandon Judge (VV) pinned Dean Smith (Cra) 2:18; Gavin D’Amato (Tun) tech fall Chucky Rohan (Mont) 18-3; Jake Brown (Cou) pinned Garrett Walsh (WS) 1:53; Tyler Thompson (Brad) maj dec oliver Egan (SP) 12-2
138: Tommy Traver (Tun) pinned Robin Wrobleski (WA) :44; Josh Brown (Cou) dec Matthew Leslie (WW) 5-1; Steven Storm (PME) dec Carter Tuttle (Sem) 3-1;Conor Halpin (Cran) dec Luke O’Connor (Wya)6-4
145: Dillon Keane (Brad) dec Niko Katsuyoshi (Sem) 7-1; AJ Bencivenga (Cran) pinned Mak Gleckner (Can) 1:27; Adam Roe (BR) maj dec Jacob Rosenstein (AH) 12-3; Makeela Fabrizio (Mon) dec Jeremy Stoner (PME) 8-3
152: DJ Erickson (Han) dec Adam Eckhart (Nan) 4-2; Owen Davis (Sem) dec Kelly Roper (Cran) 5-2; Billy Koch (PME) dec Braden McIntosh (WW) 4-3; Timmy Ward (Can) maj dec Aaron Boss (NEB) 10-1
160: Creighton Edsell (Wya)pinned Kasen Taylor (WW) 1:41; Derek Sunafrank (Brad) pinned Cameron Butka (WS) 5:25; Danny Lawrence (Mah) maj dec Collin Kudurko-Kashatus (Nan) 12-2; Mike Giallorenzi (Sem) pinned Declan Donaher (SJ) 4:59
170: Colin Fegley (Mah) pinned Tyler Williams (Troy) 2:56; Chris Langan (AH) dec Corey Mruk (WA) 5-0; Owen Hivner (LT) maj dec Cole Aukema (Mont) 10-1; Ed Mapes (Wya)dec Tyler Devonshire (NEB) 3-1
182: Matt Lewandowski (Mah) tech fall Christian Ward (Can) 20-4; Connor Munley (Tun) maj dec Noah Forbes (NEB) 10-1; Kyle Costello (Sem) pinned Bryan Ryan (Mont) 1:45; Jeremy Seymour (WS) maj dec Jaryn Polit-Moran (WA) 12-4
195: Ivan Balavage (SP) pinned Alexis Perez (Mah) :36; Sam Rice (Tun) pinned J.J. Hooper (Han) 4:22; Mike Wilcox (Wya)pinned Justin Joseph (WA) 5:11; Greg Bensley (PMW) tech fall Dylan Budnik (Cran) 16-1
220: Cole Fuller (WW) maj dec Bobby Schork (Cran) 10-0; Jackson Chilson (Wya)pinned Dustin Henry (Tun) 1:49; Dawson Brown (NEB) pinned Tom Mercadante (Han) 3:00; Noah Worsnick (WS) dec Mike Ansbach (Mah) 6-4
285: Owen Maryott (NEB) pinned RJ Wildrick (Wya)5:25; Robert Gregory (Mont) pinned John Shnipes (VV) 1:04; Corey Harrison (Cou) dec RJ Knott (AH) 4-0; Damon Barhight (WA) dec Nate Gehm (Brad) 1-0