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Big Things Happening With The Hopewell Youth and Junior High Wrestling Programs



The Hopewell Youth and Junior High Wrestling programs posted impressive results at the recently concluded Area IV tournament.

Because of this, several wrestlers punched their tickets to the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling State Championship. For these wrestlers, the opportunity to compete at the state level is not just a chance to showcase their skills-it’s the culmination of hours spent in the mat room throughout the season with hard work and tons of discipline.

As the spotlight now shifts to the PJW state championship, these wrestlers will continue to prepare themselves with the goal of having a strong showing at the state level while representing Hopewell Wrestling.

Kaleb Gonzalez (12U-135lbs) finished 3rd Place. Kaleb was able to pull off a pin against opponent Jackson Mizack (Peters Township) to start the tournament. His second match ended in a loss by pin by Dante Giadani (McGuffey). Climbing his way back Kaleb won matches against Paul Butler (Fort Cherry) by pin and won a rematch against opponent Gavin Ross (Canon McMillan) who previously defeated him in the WAWA Championship a week ago with a 11-1 decision.

Xander Garcia (10U-120lbs) had the best showing of the day with a 1st place victory. Xander seeded high for the tournament and received a bye in the first round, in his first match he pinned his opponent Waylon Latshaw (Avella). Xander moved onto the championship match and battled against Jase Popelas (Peters Township) and came out with the 2-0 decision. Xander has previously wrestled at the state level and will be heading back determined to have a strong showing. Both Kaleb and Xander will compete March 23rd/24th at the University of Pittsburgh Petersen Event Center.

Elija Rodriguez (12U-100lbs) is no stranger to the state stage and will once again be heading back. Elija ended the day with a 3rd place showing. With a first-round bye, Elija faced Jeremy Tkach (Burgettstown) in his first match and won easily with a 13-0 decision. Heading into the semifinals Elija lost a heartbreaking match against Jack Perry (McGuffey) in overtime. Elija battled back in the bracket with the next two matches winning against John Leach (Bentworth) and Jeremy Tkach (Burgettstown) both by pins. Elija will also be competing at the University of Pittsburgh Peterson Event Center.

Hopewell had several wrestlers advancing to the Junior High State Championship. These wrestlers will battle March 1st-March 3rd at First Summit Arena in Johnstown, Pa.

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Jacob Durkin (Jr High-82lbs) had the strongest showing from the Junior High with a 2nd place finish. One of the most seasoned wrestlers out of the group Jacob is poised to make his long-awaited debut on the state championship stage. Another strong seeding for Hopewell, Jacob received a bye in the first round and went straight into the championship match after pinning his opponent Jace Lloyd (Avella) in the semifinals. In the championship match, Jacob fought hard against Gracin Guglielmo (Belle Vernon) but fell to a pin resulting in a strong 2nd place finish.

Obie McNutt (Jr High-89lbs) is no stranger to the making it to the state level as a youth wrestler but this time he will be heading to the Junior High state championship with his 3rd place showing at areas. Obie had a heartbreaking loss to Jackson Hoy (Trinity), but he bounced back like he always does with a decision of 12-3 against Easton Dilimone (Blackhawk) to grab 3rd place in his bracket.

Tirado brothers are a dynamic duo to watch! Both Christian and Evan placed 4th place and will battle together at the Junior High state championship. Christian Tirado (Jr High-103lbs) is another Hopewell wrestler that has made it previously to the youth state championship and now with his first year in junior high will be heading to the junior high state championship. Christian jumped into the tournament with a tech fault win over Shane Martin (Canon McMillan). Heading into the semifinals Christian fell short against Brady Layhue (Trinity) with a 3-8 decision. Youngest Tirado brother stepped up and beat Enzo Ortolona (Belle Vernon) with a pin to advance to 3rd/4th place match. Christian fought hard but lost against Brock McBlure (Bentworth) and secured 4th place in his bracket.

Evan (Jr High-132lbs) started his bracket with a win over Dennis Furmanek (McGuffey) with a 6-0 decision. Onto the quarterfinal, Evan once again pulled out a win against Anthony Kioalicas (Peter Township) to move him onto the semifinals. During the semi finals Evan saw his first loss of the tournament against Connor Hoffman (Belle Vernon). Evan still had wrestling in him and won his next match against Angelo Mele (Chartiers Houston) with a pin and falling short against Carson Greba (Trinity) during his 3rd/4th place match.

Ending the successful tournament for Hopewell is Josh Miller (Jr High-212) who will be seeing the state championship stage for the first time. Miller started wrestling at 5 but took a couple of years off before jumping back into wrestling. He fell short at areas last year and was more determined to make it this year, and that he did. Josh opened the tournament up with a huge win over Leiandre Herring (Beth Center) with a 5-1 decision. Josh battled in the semi finals but lost against Matthew Richards (Trinity). In the consolation bracket Miller won against Joshua Miller (McGuffey) to advance to 3rd place match where he ended up short against Isaiah Stokes (Avella) and taking home 4th place.

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