PIAA CLASS AA REGIONAL WRESTLING
Next step toward Hershey Lancaster Catholic trio leads L-L League group of 10 entries Next step toward Hershey BY DAVE BYRNE, Sports Writer
The pairing of their names brings to mind an accounting firm, or legal partnership, and Lancaster Catholic's Lobeck, Lobeck and Loiseau have their sights set on the bottom line: habeas auric at the PIAA Class AA Southeast Regional wrestling tournament.
Juniors Stephen Loiseau (182) and John Lobeck (120) and freshman Joe Lobeck (106) open their quest for a regional gold medal -- or at least a berth in next week's state tournament -- today at 5 p.m. at Wilson High School in West Lawn.
They are joined by seven other Lancaster-Lebanon League wrestlers: Pequea Valley's Kyle Wanner (145), Columbia's Vanyel Leythem-Peterson (220), Northern Lebanon's Caleb Blatt (126) and Evan Daub (152), Annville-Cleona's Josh Renninger (106) and Jeff Inman (132) and Elco's Zach Bankus (152).
All, except Loiseau and John Lobeck, are making their initial regional tournament appearances.
For Loiseau (38-1), who placed fifth at 152 last year, the immediate future promises one more championship finals challenge with Brandywine Heights' Adam Mackie, who placed third in regionals at 160 in 2012 and fifth at 152 in 2011.
To date, Mackie (33-1) and Loiseau have split two trials: Mackie taking the Section Two title, 3-1; Loiseau turning the tables, 3-1 last weekend in the District Three Championships.
Of course, nothing is promised. Bethlehem Catholic's District 11 champion Jose Ortiz (39-3), the returning 182-pound runnerup, stands in Mackie's way.
Tri Valley's Lyle Troutman (30-7), fourth at 182 in '12, and Schuylkill Haven's Todd Zimmerman (27-3) provide competition in Loiseau's half of the draw.
Nominally the fourth seed, Pope John Paul II's Kirk Chemeskie (24-7) is also in the mix. Given the historically dismal track record of District One AA competitors, whether Chemeskie is a factor or not is an open question.
John Lobeck (30-10), sixth at 113, has a first-round match with Pen Argyl's three-time place winner Matt Williams. Williams (28-7) took third at 113 in 2012 after back-to-back fourths at 103 and 106.
The winner draws District One champion Owen Barnes of Bishop McDevitt, Wyncote (29-8).
Also in Lobeck's half of the bracket is District Three champion Josh Giorgio (33-5) of Schuylkill Valley.
Bethlehem Catholic's Darian Cruz, a two-time regional champion and 2012 state champion at 106, awaits in the finals.
Taking care of Springfield's Kenny Greene (7-16) in his preliminary bout earns Joe Lobeck (38-6) a match with fellow freshman Luke Karam (26-2), Bethlehem Catholic's District 11 champion, in the quarterfinals.
Renninger (34-11) is in the upper half of the bracket, opening with Jacob Wasser (33-4) of Palisades.
Leythem-Peterson (29-11) begins his quest in a preliminary-round pairing with North Schuylkill's Tanner Dean (24-9).
A victory earns him a rematch with Halifax's Joey Kaufman (36-0). Kaufman defeated Leythem-Peterson 10-3 in last weekend's District Three semifinals.
Saucon Valley's Ray O'Donnell (37-3), a two-time regional bronze medalist at 171 and 195, is the class of the bottom half of the bracket.
Wanner (31-13) sits in a 145-pound bracket notable for returning place winners, the most notable being Pen Argyl's Michael Racciato, a two-time AA state champion, winnng at 135 and 138.
Racciato (37-0) is also a three-time regional finalist, placing second at 130 in 2010.
The good news for Wanner, who starts off with Eli Brill (32-5) of Pine Grove, is he is not in Racciato's half of the draw. The winner gets Bermudian Springs District Three champion Briton Shelton (38-6).
Tri Valley senior Blake Bowman (32-7), fourth at 135 and fifth at 138, will meet District One champion Richie Cerebe (29-4) of Phil Mont Christian in the quarterfinals.
To get back to the finals opposite Hanover's Ian Brown, Inman (38-3) must master a likely semifinal showdown with Lee Todora (18-12) of Bethlehem Catholic.
Blatt (42-6) is in a weight class dominated by two giants. Bethlehem Catholic's Zeke Moisey (20-1), who won at 120 on the road to state silver, is in the opposite bracket.
Trinity's Ryan Diehl (34-3), who added the PIAA 113-pound championship to his two West Virginia state titles in 2012, is in Blatt's bracket.
He would be Blatt's semifinal opponent should he win a first-round engagement with Pen Argyl's Andrew Sutton (30-8).
This assumes a typical D-1 flameout from Springfield's Joey Pinto (18-16), who would meet the Blatt-Sutton winner.
Daub (40-6) starts with Palmerton's Zach Graver (28-5), with the winner facing Halifax's Robbie Moretz (37-0). Moretz placed third at 145 last year.
Bankus (31-11) is also in this half of the draw, opening with Saucon Valley's Travis Buddock (30-6).