NEPA Sports Nation

WA teammates in 2A mat finals

Jaden Pepe will wrestle for his third straight state title Saturday afternoon at The Giant Center in Hershey and, this time, he’ll have a Wyoming Area teammate following him to the mat.

Pepe and Anthony Evanitsky each won both quarterfinal and semifinal bouts Friday at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Individual Wrestling Championships.

Like Pepe, Evanitsky finished third in the state in Class 2A as a freshman. And, like Pepe, he will aim for a first state championship as a sophomore.

Lackawanna Trail’s Max Bluhm and Deegan Ross, also competing at back-to-back weight classes, will each finish either third or fourth in the state after winning quarterfinal and consolation semifinal bouts sandwiched around their only losses of the tournament during a busy Friday in Hershey.

The other five District 2 entries in Class 2A suffered their second losses of the tournament Friday and were eliminated from medal contention.

Wyoming Area is 10th and Lackawanna Trail is 12th in the team standings out of 113 Class 2A schools that qualified at least one wrestler for Hershey.

Faith Christian Academy leads the way with 127 points and Notre Dame-Green Pond is second with 93. Wyoming Area has 44½ points and Lackawanna Trail has 39.

Pepe and Evanitsky have been similarly impressive at a tournament that has generally been filled with close, intense battles, many of which are decided late.

The two-time defending state champion has outscored three opponents at 133 pounds by a total of 39-9 while Evanitsky has outscored three at 139 pounds by 38-9.

Both Warriors have rematches of Northeast Regional matches from last week.

Pepe faces Midd-West’s Connor Heckman after beating Heckman, 10-4, in the regional semifinals.

Evanitsky takes on Warrior Run freshman Reagan Milheim after beating him, 5-1, in the regional championship match.

Heckman, a senior, is 39-3 this season and 151-26 for his career. He was seventh in the state as a sophomore and third last season. He has won three straight decisions in Hershey by a total of 16-3.

Milheim is 48-4. After opening with a major decision Thursday, he won a pair of one-point decisions Friday.

Pepe won consecutive major decisions Friday. He defeated Brody Brock from Cambridge Springs, 15-2, and Mason Wagner from Faith Christian, 10-0.

Evanitsky posted a quarterfinal technical fall, 16-0, over Saucon Valley’s Jackson Albert in 4:40. His semifinal was more difficult, a 10-7 decision over Brady Collins from Clearfield.

Pepe is 42-1 this season, 87-1 the last two seasons and 156-5 for his career.

Evanitsky is 40-4 on the season and 87-8 for his career.

Bluhm sandwiched an overtime win and a one-point decision at 152 around a major decision loss in the semifinals.

Deegan Ross went 2-1 in three bouts that all went to decisions by more than six points.

Seth Ross from Lackawanna Trail started the day in the quarterfinals, but lost two in a row at 215. Robbie Schneider was also eliminated with a loss at 172. Both were 1-2 in the tournament.

Mid Valley 121-pounder Matthew Almedina went 2-2 in the tournament. He won a 1-0 decision and lost another by a 3-0 score Friday.

Honesdale’s Paul Renner (189) and Berwick’s Bruce Hartman (285) both lost their only bout of the day.


Class 3A: Sirianni advances to state semis; four others to place in Class 3A – NEPA Sports Nation.

Thursday’s Class 2A recap: Three Lions, two Warriors reach Class 2A quarterfinals in wrestling – NEPA Sports Nation.

Lackawanna Trail coaching situation: Youtz to resign as coach at Trail – NEPA Sports Nation.

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