NEPA Sports Nation

Pepe, Evanitsky win 2A regional

Pictured above: Wyoming Area’s Jaden Pepe, working his way toward a pin for his fourth straight District 2 championship. (Tom Robinson Photo)

Wyoming Area’s Jaden Pepe and Anthony Evanitsky won back-to-back titles at 133 and 139 pounds March 4 at the Class 2A Northeast Regional Wrestling Championships in Williamsport.

Pepe, Evanitsky, Lackawanna Trail’s Deegan Ross and Honesdale’s Paul Renner won regional titles to lead the group of nine District 2 Class 2A wrestlers who qualified to compete in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Individual Wrestling Championships Thursday through Saturday at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Ross won at 160 pounds to help the Lions finish fifth in the 42-team field at the two-day event.

Renner won at 189 pounds.

The championship round was filled with competitive matches, including those won by District 2 wrestlers. There were three one-pointer decisions, a pair of two-pointers, a three-pointer and two more decided by four points.

Pepe defeated Muncy’s Scott Johnson, 8-4, in a championship match meeting of returning state champions. Pepe will be seeking his third straight state title in Hershey.

The 133-pound bracket was loaded with quality competition that Pepe may run into again in Hershey.

In the quarterfinals, Pepe posted a 14-3, major decision over Benton’s Dylan Granahan, a fifth-place state finisher a year ago.

The semifinals brought on the first of two straight matches between returning Northeast Regional champions. Pepe got past Midd-West’s Connor Heckman, 10-4.

Heckman was third in the state last season.

Pepe improved to 39-1 on the season and 153-5 for his career.

Evanitsky also beat a Benton wrestler in the quarterfinals and a returning state medalist in the semifinals. He shut out Ethan Kolb, 8-0, then pulled out a 4-2, overtime decision over Southern Columbia’s Mason Barvitskie, who was fourth a year ago.

The sophomore defeated Reagan Milheim from Warrior Run, 8-4, in the final.

Evanitsky, who is 37-4 on the season and 84-8 for his career, is trying to improve upon a third-place state finish last season.

Lackawanna Trail’s Ross is making his third trip to states, but looking for his first medal.

Ross reached the 160 final with two pins, the first in 37 seconds, then defeated Milton’s Alex Hoffman, 1-0. He is 40-2 on the season and 129-27 for his four-year career.

Renner, a senior 189-pounder, is making his first state trip after showing major improvements this season. He is 34-10 to improve his career record to 73-40.

Like Ross , Renner had two pins, one in the first period, on the way to the final where he won by a point. Renner defeated Benton’s Jacob Bobersky, 4-3, in the final.

Wyoming Area and Honesdale joined Lackawanna Trail in the top 10 in the team standings.

Benton outscored Montgomery, 122-114½, for the title.

Lackawanna Trail scored 85 points.

Wyoming Area was seventh with 53 points. Honesdale was ninth with 45.

The top four in each weight class advanced to Hershey.

Seth Ross, Deegan’s brother, made it to Hershey by finishing second at 215 pounds.

Lackawanna Trail also qualified Max Bluhm in third at 152 and Robbie Schneider in fourth at 172.

Mid Valley’s Matthew Almedina, at 121, and Berwick’s Bruce Hartman, at 285, also placed fourth.

Blue Ridge’s Jackson Maby, at 133, and Lackawanna Trail’s Ethan Lee, at 139, finished fifth, making them alternates for Hershey if someone withdraws prior to the state tournament.

Lake-Lehman’s Lexi Schecterly (107), Honesdale’s Justin Scanlon (114), Montrose’s Dylan Geertgens (127) and Wyoming Area’s Kendall Heck (145) all finished sixth.

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