By Tom Fox
It’s what makes the sport of wrestling unique in the state of Pennsylvania.
You get to have a team championship in February and an individual tournament in March.
The first begins Friday at Hershey’s Giant Center when the best AA and AAA teams travel here to chase title dreams.
It’s in AAA where some of the nation’s best teams are preparing for battle.
And fans won’t have a wait long to see it.
Three of the top 6 teams in the United States are all on the same side of the bracket in Class AAA.
Considered by most as favorite to repeat, Central Dauphin is undefeated in 2008-2009 and is just as talented as last season.
The Rams won the District 3 title after beating Cumberland Valley in the title tilt. CD is loaded with talent up and down the lineup. Marshall Peppelman, Kenny Courts, Tony Dallago, Simon Rice, Kenny Stank and Tyler Buckman are all powerful grapplers capable of bonus points, and freshman Shyheim Brown has busted on the state scene as a contender at 103.
If Central Dauphin is the favorite, Northampton isn’t far behind.
The Konkrete Kids, ranked No. 4 in the nation, ripped apart Blue Mountain in the District 11 championship.
Northampton (17-0) is loaded in the upperweights with Jimmy Sheptock (160, 28-2), Seth Csaszar (171, 21-5), Joe Piro (189, 25-4), Aaron Chamberlain (215, 23-5) and Erik Schaffer (285, 27-4). Northampton has two good wrestlers at 125 and 130 with Jordan Glykas (21-5) and Josh Yurasits (20-5), respectively.
The Konkrete Kids have a question mark in 145-pounder Shane Fenningham (12-4), who hasn’t wrestled since a meet on Dec. 30. He did receive a forfeit victory against Emmaus in late January.
The sleeper could be the No. 6 team in the nation, Central Mountain.
Losing only one dual meet in the last two seasons, the Wildcats have the country’s best wrestlers at 140 and 145 in Andrew (28-0) and Dylan Alton (29-0), respectively.
Like Northampton, CM is strong in the upperweights with Jake Parks (171, 19-8), Jacob Bachman (189, 25-6), Glenn Barnes (215, 24-7) and Zach Corl (285, 25-3). In addition, CM has a 100-match winner at 125 with Jordan Rich (29-5) and a strong presence at 135 in Dylan Caprio (21-9).
Central Mountain and Northampton could meet up in the quarterfinals with the winner possibly taking on Central Dauphin in the semifinals.
In the bottom half of the bracket, District III runner-up Cumberland Valley is expected by most to advance to the championship.
CV is strong in the middle weights, especially with Joey Napoli (145), Bryce Busler (152), Tristan Warner (160) and Mike Evans (171). Cumberland Valley is also strong at 103 with Jon Brigham and at 215 with Travis Friend.
The Eagles had to survive a scare in Sunbury Tuesday night, edging out District 4 champ Shikellamy to even advance into the bracket.
Other contenders in the bottom half of the bracket includes Erie Cathedral Prep, Bethel Park and Quakertown.
Boys Basketball: Shamokin gets the best of Shikellamy
The Shikellamy Braves had high hopes coming into the season to grab a District 4 Class AAA boys basketball championship.
Unfortunately, Shamokin Area is also a AAA team.
For the second time in five days, the Indians got the best of their Northumberland County neighbors.
Foster Renn had 15 points, and two other Indians recorded double digits as Shamokin cruised to a 70-40 victory this past weekend in Coal Township.
The Indians were able to slow down the Braves’ scoring force of Brantley Osborne and Andrew Mantz, who combined for a mere seven points.
Shamokin is 17-1 this season (the only loss coming to state-ranked AAAA Williamsport), and all but secured a Heartland Conference title and top seed in the upcoming district playoffs.
“I guess we learned something (from the first game)," Indians coach Joe Klebon said to the Sunbury Daily-Item. "This team's been learning all year. ... One of our emphases today was playing a game for four quarters. The kids came pretty close to doing that.”
More Boys Basketball: Klebon scores 2,000 points
Southern Columbia’s Colin Klebon has done a lot in his career as a Tiger.
Saturday night, he added another milestone.
The senior scored his 2,000th point Saturday in a Tigers’ victory over winless Warrior Run.
Klebon, who reached the milestone in the second quarter, scored 36 points and rested in the fourth quarter.
The senior has committed to play at Bucknell University next season.
Tom Fox is Sports Editor at The Lock Haven (Pa.) Express and covers Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania for MaxPreps. He can be reached at email@example.com.