No NTL district champions
WILLIAMSPORT - For the first time in a long time the NTL had no one standing atop the podium as a District 4 wrestling champion.
While there aren't any champions, there are 17 wrestlers who will move on to regionals next week, including five runner-ups.
Williamson and Wyalusing each lead the way with four regional qualifiers with Logan Everett (126), Trevor McWhorter (132), Billy Barnes (145) and R.C. Hunter (170).
Wyalusing has Collin Edsell (120), Justin Griffith (182), Dylan Otis (220) and Dalton Chilson (285) moving on.
North Penn, Canton and Troy all have two regional qualifiers.
For the Panthers Ben Minnich (170) and Nate Kriner (285), while the Warriors have Garrett Wesneski (182) and Connor Route (195) and Troy has Ethan Calkins (113) and Nick Stephani (152).
Dayton Wickwire is moving on for Towanda at 152, while Kyle Post moves on for Sayre at 160 and Chad Daugherty of Wellsboro advances at 195.
Wyalusing sophomore Dylan Otis defeated defending district champion Eric McCracken of Central Columbia 2-1 in the semifinals to earn his trip to a final.
Otis fell in the final by major decision 8-0 to Brandon Smith of Lewisburg.
"It gave me a little confidence," Otis said of the win over McCracken. He's a good kid, a tough wrestler, a defending district champion."
It's the second straight year that Otis is headed to regionals, but this year he hopes to improve on last year.
"It feels good," he said. "But, I want to make it one step further than last year and go to states."
Williamson had a pair of district finalists in Logan Everett and Billy Barnes.
Everett, a state fifth-place medalists a year ago, reached the finals with a 5-3 win over Andrew Gipe of South Williamsport and then squared off with Southern Columbia's Kent Lane in a matchup of unbeatens in the final. Lane came away with a 7-2 victory.
"I just have to focus on next week," Everett said. "I really am not happy with this weekend. I really didn't feel good in any of my matches. I have some work to do for next week."
Everett is happy to see four Williamson wrestlers making the trip to regionals.
"It's pretty cool," he said. "It's the most we've ever had and I'd like to see us all improve as much as we can."
Barnes, who won a district title last year, reached the final with a 10-3 win over Taylor Porter of Milton, before dropping a 5-0 decision to Colt Cotten of Benton in the final.
"It's pretty nice to go for the second year," Barnes said of reaching regionals.
After falling in the final Barnes knows there is work to do and a year ago he missed states by one spot and that is still on his mind.
"It makes me drive even harder," he said. "Every practice I think about last year and I was one point away from going, and I just know that any mistake could be one point."
North Penn's Ben Minnich reached the 17- final with a pin of Williamson's R.C. Hunter in 1:20 in the semifinals, before falling to Alex Lieberman of Midd-West 5-3 in the final.
"I think it wasn't my best, I have got to finish better," Minnich said. "I will work harder for next week."
Minnich knows how tough the 170 weight class has been.
"Everyone at 170 is right up there," he said.
As he heads to regionals Minnich knows he is a week away from a possible trip to states.
"It's pretty exciting," he said. "It would be my first year at states and I want to make it and make some noise."
While Hunter feel to Minnich, he wrestled back to beat Justin Knee of South Williamsport by fall in 1:56 in the third-place match to earn a trip to regionals at the weight as well.
"It really is a good feeling," he said. "I have a pretty good feeling for next week."
Wellsboro's Chad Daugherty won a tough 1-0 match over Canton's Connor Route in the semifinals to earn a spot in the finals, where he faced defending state champion Ryan Solomon of Milton.
While Daugherty got pinned in 3:42 he was happy with his performance, after Solomon had not been pushed past a minute in any match this postseason.
"Seeing him go through sectionals and pin kids in 16 or 17 seconds and then come here and beat everyone and not make it past a minute, I took him almost to the third period," Daugherty said. "I feel like that's what a state champion is like."
For Daugherty to make it to regionals is special.
"It feels good, it's my third year here and last year I lost to Brandon Smith and then I lost to Connor Route," he said. "I faced Connor again and I beat him 1-0 so I'm happy with that. It's been my goal since freshman year to get to states and this is my third year here and I had not gotten to regionals before."
After the loss, Route dropped a consolation match, before coming back to beat Matt Hackenberg of Central Columbia 1-0 in the fifth-place match to advance to regionals.
"It feels really nice, but I didn't wrestle as well as I could wrestle," Route said.
After the two losses on Saturday Route is motivated for next week.
"It makes me ready for next week," he said.
Route's teammate Garrett Wesneski also suffered a tough loss, falling in sudden victory 6-4 to Garrett Moser of Warrior Run in the semifinals. Wesneski came back and took third with a 10-2 major decision over Logan Womelsdorf of Benton.
"In some ways it's as simple as I lost," Wesneski said. "I don't think I wrestled my best match, but it helped me in a way because after that I dominated kids in the next matches the way I hadn't been dominating before I lost."
For Wesneski getting to go to regionals with Route is going to be fun.
"It's good, he makes me work harder," Wesneski said "I think he wasn't happy with the way he wrestled either and hopefully we can both do better next week."
Troy's Ethan Calkins lost a tough 3-2 match to eventual district champion Eric Hunt of Warrior Run in the semifinals, but came back to win the third-place match 4-0 over Cooper Wagner of Mifflinburg.
"It feels good, I hope this is just the first step on my way to states," Calkins said.
His older brother Brayden was a state qualifier as a senior and for Ethan it's a goal to eclipse that and make it as a junior this year.
"We have talked about that a lot," Calkins said. "We are super competitive with each other and him making it and now I have a chance to make it this year and then hopefully make it twice."
Calkins earned a trip to states in cross country and making it in two sports would be special.
"Going down there twice, I never thought I'd be able to do it in two sports," he said.
Wyalusing's Collin Edsell lost a 6-2 match to Lewis Williams of Central Columbia in the semifinals, but came back to beat Zach Fry of Hughesville 1-0 in the third-place match.
"It's not where I want to be, but I will take it," Edsell said of the performance.
Edsell knows he has room to wrestle better.
"I just have to execute more on my feet and work a little harder," he said.
Being a week away from states does make the freshman happy.
"It's been one of my goals I have had since the beginning of the year," Edsell said of trying to reach states.
Williamson's Trevor McWhorter took third at 132, pinning Zack Bennett of Milton in 1:52 in the third-place match after falling 13-3 to Cole Walter of Mifflinburg in the semis.
"It feels good, it's better than I did last year," McWhorter said.
Watching three of his teammates make regionals last year while he wasn't advancing has been on McWhorter's mind for a year.
"I think about it every day," he said. "I worked the offseason and every day in practice to get here."
Troy's Nick Stephani dropped a 14-2 major decision to eventual champion Ryan Preisch in the 152 semis and battled back to the third-place match where he fell 3-1 to Kyle Barnes of Hughesville.
"I need to work on a couple of things, but all and all it was pretty good," Stephani said.
Towanda's Dayton Wickwire will be the lone Black Knight moving on after he won 12-11 over Brandon Conrad in the fifth-place match.
Wickwire said there were some nerves of being the last Towanda wrestler left at districts, but it also motivated him.
"It felt great though," he said.
Wickwire was in a tough match to advance.
"I just tried to wrestle my best,' he said. "I just wanted to win and move on."
Now Wickwire has a chance to try and achieve a big goal.
"I'm really excited, that's my goal to get to states," he said.
Sayre's Kyle Post fell 2-1 to Benton's Jeric Kasunic of Benton in the third-place match, and battled back to the third-place match where he fell 1-0 to Isaiah Bobotas of Montgomery.
"It feels good," Post said of moving on. "I felt like I could have wrestled better, but it was not bad I need to work on trying to get more take downs. All my matches were real close."
Griffith won an 8-3 match over Ethan Jones of Montoursville in the fifth-place match to move on.
"It feels good, it was my goal," Griffith said of advancing to regionals. "I feel pretty confident. My first match was a bit of a bummer, but I wrestled back pretty good."
At 285 Kriner dropped a tough 3-2 sudden victory match to Alex Shiber of Central Columbia and dropped a third-place match to Jake Becker of Southern Columbia by fall in 4:25 to take fourth.
"I didn't wrestle as good as I have wrestled before," Kriner said.
Still, Kriner is happy to move on.
"It's pretty good, I'm very excited."
Wyalusing's Dalton Chilson pinned Bloomsburg's Jordan Troup in 1:44 in the fifth-place match to advance.
"As a freshman I think getting this far is great," Chilson said. "I wish more freshman got to experience this feeling."
Chilson is now looking forward to regionals.
"Next week is really going to be exciting," he said.
Warrior Run's Zack LeBarron won the 106 title, Hunt won at 113, Matt Welliver of Benton won at 120, Walter won at 132, Zain Retherford of Benton won at 138, Preisch won at 152, Ty Walter of Mifflinburg won at 160, Troy Hembury of Muncy won at 182, Brandon Smith of Lewisburg won at 220 and Nazar Mironenko of Mifflinburg won at 285.
Benton won the team title at 127, followed by Central Columbia (119), Mifflinburg (84.5), Williamson (84) and Warrior Run (83). Wyalusing was ninth at 63.