Wrestling: Pennsylvania team feeding off Big Macs for Dapper Dan Classic
March 14, 2014 12:00 AM
Bradley C. Bower for the Post Gazette
Canon McMillan's Dalton Macri, top, reacts, after he defeated Northampton's Zach Valley in the final of the PIAA Class AAA 126-pound match Saturday in Hershey.
By Ken Wunderley / Tri-State Sports & News Service
Dalton Macri joined Canon-McMillan teammate Solomon Chishko atop the winners platform at Hershey last week. Now the Big Macs duo will cap their careers together at the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic.
"It's something I've dreamed about since I was a kid," said Macri, who won the PIAA Class AAA title at 126 pounds. "I've been going to The Classic since I was 8 years old. It's a great honor to be chosen."
Macri (133-15), a two-time PIAA finalist and Cornell recruit, will drop to 120 pounds for his performance in The Classic. He will face Nathan Boston (204-1), a three-time Kentucky champion from Woodford County who has been almost perfect in his career. Boston is an Iowa State recruit.
"I go to The Classic every year," said Chishko, who won his second consecutive PIAA Class AAA title at 145 pounds. "The matches are awesome. It will be great to wrestle in The Classic. It will be a great way for Dalton and I to finish our high school careers."
Chishko (132-8), a four-time PIAA place-winner who also placed third in the state twice, will drop to 138 for his match with Joe McKenna (154-7), a three-time National Prep champion from Blair Academy in New Jersey. Chishko is a Virginia Tech recruit, while McKenna is a Stanford recruit.
Macri and Chishko are two of four WPIAL wrestlers on the Pennsylvania team. The other two are Kittanning's Jason Nolf and Latrobe's Zack Zavatsky.
Nolf (176-1), a Penn State recruit, is a four-time WPIAL Class AA champion and three-time PIAA champ who won his most recent titles at 145. He will face Tyler Berger (198-3), a four-time Oregon champion from Crook County who has accepted a scholarship from Nebraska.
Zavatsky (166-18), a three-time PIAA Class AAA place-winner and champ this year at 182, is matched up with Joel Dixon (126-13), a two-time Oklahoma champ from Edmond North. Zavatsky is a Virginia Tech recruit. Dixon was a late replacement for Johnny Sebastian (143-18), a three-time New Jersey champ from Bergen Catholic. Sebastian sustained an injury while training for The Classic.
The Pennsylvania team features a four-time PIAA champion. Solanco's Thomas Haines (174-5) became the 12th wrestler in PIAA history to win four state titles. Haines, an Ohio State recruit, will face Nick Nevills (200-5), a three-time California state champ from Clovis in the heavyweight match.
"Wrestling in The Classic will be a great way to conclude my high school career," Haines said. "I want to prove to everybody that I'm better than Nick Nevills. I've never faced him before. I'm really looking forward to the challenge."
The Pennsylvania squad would have had a second four-time champion, but Kennard-Dale's Chance Marsteller (166-0) pulled out with a back injury. Marsteller has been replaced at 170 by Lancaster Catholic's Stephen Loiseau (154-26), who is dropping one weight class after winning a PIAA Class AA title at 182.
Loiseau will face Bo Nickal (179-7), a three-time Texas champ. Loiseau is a Drexel recruit, while Nickal is a Penn State recruit.
"I've been following The Classic on the internet for years, so I'm quite familiar with the event," Nickal said. "It's an honor to be chosen for such a prestigious event. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity. It will be a great way to end my high school career."
Berger is one of four members of the United States squad who have won four state titles. The others are Josh Alber, Ryan Blees and Chip Ness.
Alber (182-0), a Northern Iowa recruit, is a four-time Illinois champion from Dakota. He will face Hanover's Ian Brown (159-12), a four-time PIAA Class AA place-winner and one-time champion, in the 132-pound bout. Brown is a Lehigh recruit.
"I've been watching The Classic on the Internet for 5-6 years, so I'm very familiar," Alber said. "It's a cool event. I come from a very small school, so I want to show everybody I belong."
Blees (190-5), an Oklahoma State recruit, is a four-time North Dakota champ from Bismarck. His opponent in the 160-pound bout is Central Dauphin's Garrett Peppelman (185-15), a three-time PIAA Class AAA finalist and two-time champ. Peppelman is a Virginia recruit.
Ness (168-1), a North Carolina recruit, is a four-time Georgia champ from Buford. Ness is matched up in the 195-pound bout with Tristan Sponseller (183-12), a two-time PIAA Class AA finalist and one-time champ. Sponseller is a Lock Haven recruit.
The other four members of the Pennsylvania team are Parkland's Ethan Lizak, Bethlehem Catholic's Zeke Moisey, Cumberland Valley's T.C. Warner and Coatesville's Michael Boykin.
Lizak (164-18), a Minnesota recruit, is a three-time PIAA Class AAA finalist and two-time champ. His opponent in the 113-pound bout is Brent Fleetwood (160-18), a four-time Delaware state champion from Smyrna.
Moisey (141-14), a West Virginia recruit, is a three-time PIAA Class AA finalist and one-time champ. He will face Steve Micic (182-5), a three-time Indiana champ from Hanover Central, in the 126-pound bout. Micic is a Northwestern recruit.
Warner (146-18), an Old Dominion recruit, is a three-time PIAA Class AAA finalist and one-time champ. Warner will face Bryce Brill (182-5), a three-time Illinois champ from Mount Carmel, at 152. Brill is a Northwestern recruit.
Boykin (142-14) is a two-time PIAA Class AAA place-winner and one-time champ. He will face Kyle Snyder (179-0), a three-time Maryland champ from Good Counsel in Olney, in the 220-pound bout. Snyder decided to forgo his senior year to begin training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
"I've wanted to wrestle in The Classic since I was a freshman," Snyder said. "I was hoping the committee would pick me. I can't wait. I have a ton of family and friends, even my coach, coming up from Maryland to see me wrestle. It will be the final match of my high school career."
The United States squad has combined to win 40 state titles and has a combined career record of 2,302-69. The Pennsylvania team members have won 21 PIAA titles and have a combined career record of 2,055-176
Franklin Regional's Eric Mausser and Burrell's Josh Shields will serve as honorary coaches of the Pennsylvania and WPIAL all-star teams. Clovis coach Adam Tirapelle will serve as honorary coach of the United States Team.
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