Wallenpaupack Area wrestler is headed to Hershey after finishing third at Northeast Regionals
On the eve of this year's Northeast Regional tournament, Steve Krushnowski had high hopes of getting at least one of his wrestlers through to states.
Jared Wehrmann, Chase Gallik, Kyle Hartman and Kenny Roman were all making the journey to Liberty High School and Wallenpaupack Area's veteran coach was oozing cautious optimism.
“If we wrestle the way I know we can and we stay within ourselves, we really have an excellent chance,” he said.
“The competition in this region is just brutal, though, so anything can happen.”
As it turned out, Paupack put together a solid effort, posting a total of eight wins and advancing Wehrmann to the PIAA tourney.
Paupack's 182-pounder bounced back from an early loss to record four straight wins and finish third in the bracket.
Sadly for local fans, his teammates all saw their season come to a close.
Gallik won three bouts at 132, but was eliminated in the consolation semis.
Roman won one bout at heavyweight, but then fell during wrestlebacks.
Hartmann ran into a buzz saw at 220 and was shut out in his medal quest.
Wehrmann now advances to Hershey for this year's state meet, which is slated to begin Thursday evening at the Giant Center.
On the Dais
Jared earned an opening round bye at regionals, but was then promptly dealt a critical blow in the quarters.
Wehrmann was pinned by Dennis Rivas of Allentown Dieruff, who would eventually finish second.
“That was completely unexpected,” said Coach Krushnowski. “Jared had beaten Rivas pretty handily early in the season, so that had us a little bit worried.”
This loss dropped Jared into the consolations where he squared off against Frank Mack of Mastery Charter School. Wehrmann pinned his opponent in the second period (3:44), earning him a berth in the quarters.
There, he hammered out a 7-2 decision over Anthony Piscopo of LaSalle.
Jared recorded his second fall of the tournament at the expense of St. Joe's Prep's Tom Johnson (2:36).
“We kept telling Jared that he's as good as anyone there,” Coack Krushnowski said. “All he had to do was stick to the gameplan, stay focused and wrestle hard.”
Wehrmann executed that simple strategy to perfection in the consolation final against Stroudsburg's James Palmisano. He battled his way to an early lead, then held on for a 5-2 win.
This victory gave Jared a bronze medal and punched his ticket to states.
“I'm incredibly proud of him,” Coach Krushnowski said. “He showed great mental toughness and that's what you need to succeed at this level.”
Wehrmann will head off to Hershey with a sparkling 41-3 record. He will open his quest for a state medal against Alex Price of North Penn on Thursday.
Gallik entered regionals looking for both his 100th career win and a trip to the Giant Center.
Chase got off on the right foot by pinning Connor Mauriello of St. Joe's Prep in 5:30.
He then suffered an expected loss to Nazareth's Chase Zemenak, who went on to win the gold medal.
Gallik bounced back quickly, clamping Adam White of Father Judge in the second period (2:15).
After battling his way to a 4-2 decision over LaSalle's Andrew McLaren, Chase faced yet another encounter with archrival Jalen Palmer of DV.
Unfortunately for all the Paupack fans in attendance, Gallik suffered a 12-7 loss and saw his season come to a disappointing end.
“That may be the first time my heart actually broke for one of my wrestlers,” said Coach Krushnowski. “Chase is a great kid and I'm so sad that he didn't get through.”
Gallik ends an otherwise outstanding season with 99 career victories.
Over & Out
Roman opened up by pinning Andrew Gunning of Bethlehem Liberty in the first round at 285.
Kenny then saw his dreams of a state medal dashed with back-to-back losses.
He dropped an 8-5 decision to Archbishop Ryan's Joe Hansbury, then ended his run with a 13-3 setback at the hands of Pleasant Valley's Ahmad Curtis.
Hartman went 0-2 at 220, suffering losses to Tom Alcaro of Emmaus (10-2) and Pittston Area's Jake Vaxmonsky (5-1).