Wolves send four to states, English repeats as NW Regional Champion

Alec English won the 160 pound NW Regional Title with an 8-5 win over Conneaut's Peyton Hearn. The win gave English back-to-back regional titles.
Staff Writer

The Kane Wolves wrestling team finished third at the NW Regional Wrestling Championships over the weekend. Kane sent a record number of nine wrestlers to the regional tournament in Sharon including a record four District nine champions from last weekend. Four Wolves sealed their regional tournament with a kiss… a Hershey’s kiss that is… as they punched their ticket to next week’s PIAA State Championships in Hershey.
The Wolves scored 95.5 points for the third place finish. Perennial powerhouse Reynolds won the team title with 198 points crowning two champions while qualifying a staggering nine wrestlers for the state tourney. Greenville was second with 115 points. Rounding out the top five were Brockway with 87.5 and Union City with 82 points.
"We were the highest finishing D9 team which made me proud," said Kane head coach Mike Swartwood. "When we go down there I like to be in the top ten. It’s an honor for me to take four kids to states. It’s  a great showing for us. We haven't sent that many to states since 1985."
The Wolves ended with seven wrestlers finishing in the top 6. Senior Alec English won back to back championships. Last year’s title came at 152, this years at 160. Cameron Whisner was one of the top stories of the weekend, finishing third at 170. Noah Blankenship and Ted Race punched their tickets to states with fourth place finishes. Seniors Aiden Hulings and Ty Stahli finished fifth. Freshman Harley Morris capped of an impressive freshman campaign with a sixth place finish.
Alec English started his march to the 160 pound title with a bye and a 5-0 win over Jason Bratt of Harborcreek for a spot in the semifinals. English faced Reynold’s Hunter Thompson in the semis and won by injury default setting up a championship match against Conneaut’s Peyton Hearn. The talented Kane wrestler started the match with an impressive five point move and defeated Hearn 8-5 for back-to-back titles and his second trip to Hershey. English defeated Hearn in the 2018 regional finals at 152.
"Al had a pretty good tournament," said Swartwood. "His first match was a little rocky. I don’t know if he was a little tight or what. When you don’t wrestle well you have to figure out a way to win. That shows the type of competitor he is. The default match (against Hunter Thompson) was 11—1 at the time. Al opened things up a little bit. He executed that match perfectly. He looked really good there. He hit Hearn with a big move at Fred Bell too. He looked really solid. He did what he needed to do to come out with a regional championship. He has put the time in and he works hard. If I’ve ever coached a kid that deserves to be on the podium (at states), it is him. The only person that can stop him would be himself."
After finishing third at the D9 Tournament, Cameron Whisner sealed his first trip to Hershey with an impressive third place finish at 170. The East Forest student opened with a 5-3 loss to Corry's Matt Petrilla and then received a bye. Whisner then defeated Johnsonburg's Tyler Watts 6-5. A 5-3 win over Marshall Vantassel of Union City and and a 10-5 win over Petrilla, to avenge the opening round loss, sent Whisner to the consolation finals. A 4-3 win over Reynold's Cole Toy gave Whisner a third place finish and a trip to states. 
"I had reserved enough rooms for multiple kids (at states) and he was one I thought could get out," said Kane's head coach. "That weight class was wide open. The top kid was the top kid and the next three were up for grabs. I told him he had to score more points. He strung three wins together against three quality opponents. He limited his mistakes and took advantage of his opponents mistakes. I was happy for him. He really has a passion for the sport."
Senior Noah Blankenship will be making his first trip to the Giant Center with a fourth place finish. The 138 pound D9 Champion received a bye to open the tourney and then defeated Fort LeBoeuf's Joel Hick 8-2 to advance to the semis. Kenny Kiser of Saegertown defeated Blankenship 5-0 to send him to the wrestle backs. Noah won a 5-4  battle over Cochranton's Justin Boozer but fell in the consy finals to Mercer's Alex Chess, finishing fourth. 

For full article, check the March 4, 2019 printed or e-edition of The Kane Republican