South Side Beaver's Shane Gentry had hoped to make his third appearance at the PIAA Class AA wrestling tournament and end his career with another medal, but unfortunately for him, that's not going to happen.
Gentry sustained a shoulder injury at the Southmoreland Holiday Classic in December thus curtailing his season.
"We were hoping it wasn't too serious," South Side Beaver coach Bear McCoy said. "We eventually found it was a torn labrum. The doctors have scheduled him for surgery [next week]."
Gentry would have entered Saturday's Section 1 tournament as a three-time champion. He had a 9-1 record this season while competing at 132 pounds. He finishes with a 128-29 career record, far short of the school record set last season by Nathan Reckner, who posted a 147-26 career mark.
"It's a real shame to see Shane's [high school] career end this way," McCoy said. "He was closing in on the school record for career victories until the injury."
Gentry plans to attend Case Western Reserve in Ohio.
"He wants to wrestle as a freshman and major in engineering," McCoy said. "This injury will make him hungry to wrestle in college."
South Side Beaver has eight wrestlers entered in Saturday's Section 1 tournament at Chartiers-Houston. The Rams top entry is Austin Boone (15-8 at 182).
Lions set high goals
South Fayette had 11 of 14 entries earn WPIAL berths at last year's Section 1 tournament and coach Rick Chaussard would like to see the Lions improve on that total this year.
"The goal every year is to do better than we did the year before," Chaussard said.
Improving on last year will be tough, as South Fayette has one of its key starters on the disabled list. Senior Zach Walker, a section and WPIAL runner-up at 195 pounds last year, has been scratched with a shoulder injury.
"Zach has a torn labrum," Chaussard said. "He tried to wrestle with it during the WPIAL and PIAA team tournaments. After returning from Hershey, I talked with his parents and we decided it would be best to pull the plug.
"He could have made it out of sections and probably WPIALs, but it would have been almost impossible for him to qualify for the state tournament."
South Fayette's lineup features two wrestlers who have won a previous section title. Junior Jared Walker, Zach's younger brother, is a two-time WPIAL champ, but only a one-time section champ. He placed second in the section last year.
Brett Beltz won a Section 3 title two years ago while wrestling at Keystone Oaks, but missed last season with an injury. Beltz is entered at 145 pounds, while Walker is at 160.
Ellwood City looks to improve
Ellwood City had seven wrestlers qualify for the WPIAL Class AA tournament last year by placing among the top five in their weight classes in Section 1. Coach Craig Alberts would like to see the Wolverines match or improve on that total when they compete Saturday at Chartiers-Houston.
"We would like to get everybody through, but I realize that would be very unlikely," Alberts said. "Six of the seven who qualified last year are back, so we're hoping they can make a return trip to the WPIAL tournament."
Ellwood City's lineup features three entries who have 20 or more wins, Tyler Alberts (20-10 at 106), Brad Grinnen (26-2 at 195) and Mike Sinclair (27-4 at 220).
"Brad [Grinnen] should be the favorite at 195 with [South Fayette's Zach] Walker out of the picture," Alberts said. "Mike [Sinclair] will probably be seeded second at 220, behind [Avella's] Jake Temple. My son, Tyler, is in a strong weight class at 106, but I expect him to be among the top finishers."
Ellwood City may also have the section favorite at heavyweight with Adam Foreman (17-8 at 285).