Kiwanis Tournament opens Friday

BY KEVIN WOODRUFF

Tunkhannock’s Kiwanis Wrestling Tournament kicks off on Friday, Dec. 28, and runs into Saturday, marking the event’s 35th year.

Wrestling will start up on Friday around 10:45 a.m. and continue up to the semi-final round, and will pick up at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning with the final matches taking place tentatively around 5 p.m. that evening.

This year’s tournament features a pool of 22 teams, and will feature five mats of wrestling, in two rooms, on Friday, with the action all moving to three mats in the high school gym on Saturday.

There will be two mats in the high school cafeteria, along with the three in the high school gym.

First day action will see the pool of wrestlers slimmed down to the top eight in each weight class, four in the winner’s bracket and four in the consolation bracket, who will move on to the second day of contention.

Last year, Wyalusing was the champion, with Tunkhannock Area taking 17th, Lackawanna Trail in ninth and Elk Lake in 20th place.

Tournament director Frank Wadas said there should be good competition this year as there are only five returning champions and four returning runner-ups.

“Because we lost so many top guys to graduation, the tournament is wide open,” Wadas said.

Returning champions include Coughlin’s Bob Hawkins (106), Lake-Lehman’s Jimmy Stuart (113), Pocono Mountain East’s Dan Johnson (126), Lake-Lehman’s Austin Harry (132) and Pocono Mountain East’s Joe Fogle (160).

The five returning runner-ups are Warren County’s Terrance Thompson (106), Wyalusing’s Brandon Kelly (120), Scranton’s Tyler Farrel (126) and Coughlin’s Brad Emerick (170).

Blue Ridge returns third place medalist and district champion Zack Edwards (126), along with standouts Troy Maby and Lewis Esposito.

Elk Lake is returning fifth place finisher Derrick Smith (145), along with contender’s Isaiah Ofalt and Mason Maye.

Montrose Area brings back standouts Nick Moore and Jacob Blom and hope to improve upon its 23rd place finish last year.

Looking at the pool of competitors, Wadas said he believes the same top five teams from the 2011 tournament, Wyalusing Area, Pocono Mountain East, Coughlin, Western Wayne and Lake-Lehman, will once again vie for the team title.

Wadas said that the tournament keeps growing, as Strasburg, Va., has entered the tournament for the first time, and he even had some interest from a Tennessee team that had to back out.

The Strasburg team is coached by Trey Kirkland, who is a former Warren County, Va., wrestler. Warren County is coached by Wadas’ son, Matt Wadas.