The "50 teams for 50 years" edition of the Powerade Wrestling Tournament is a most excellent event featuring six nationally ranked teams, 25 nationally ranked individuals, and 12 of 14 weight classes with at least one nationally ranked wrestler. In all, his event hold south of Pittsburgh at Canon-McMillan High School features the best of wrestling in Western Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, and the country as a whole.
No. 13 Wyoming Seminary seeks to repeat as tournament champions. However, breathing on their heels will be No. 8 Bergen Catholic (N.J.) and No. 19 Lockport (Ill.). Other ranked teams include No. 40 Kiski Area, No. 42 St. Paul's (Md.), and No. 44 North Allegheny. Additional contenders include Bound Brook (N.J.) and Reynolds.
Below is a weight-by-weight overview of the field.
106: UWW Cadet freestyle world champion Kurt McHenry (St. Paul's, Md.) ranked second nationally in this weight class, and is the clear favorite. A couple of other contenders include Cadet National double All-American Matthew Ramos (Lockport, Ill.) and freshman Drew Munch (Wyoming Seminary, Pa.)
113: Freshman Robert Howard (Bergen Catholic, N.J.) is the lone ranked wrestler in this weight class, coming in at No. 6 nationally after a runner-up finish at the Super 32 Challenge. Others to watch include multi-time national champion Mosha Schwartz (Wyoming Seminary, Pa.), Walsh Ironman placer Jacob Dunlop (Belle Vernon Area, Pa.), returning Powerade placer Brandon Kassis (Parkland, Pa.), and state champion Brandon Wittenberg (Battlefield, Pa.), along with possibly four other Pennsylvania state placers.
120: A pair of top five wrestlers, both in this weight class and for their respective grade level anchor this weight class. No. 1 Gavin Teasdale (Jefferson Morgan) has yet to lose a high school match in two-plus seasons, but freshman phenom Beau Bartlett (Wyoming Seminary) - ranked fifth nationally in this weight class - could change that narrative. Others to watch in this weight class include another freshman phenom in Sam Hillegas (North Hills), Super 32 placer Logan Macri (Canon-McMillan), along with state runner-up Louis Newell (Seneca Valley).
126: Yet another national No. 1 is Spencer Lee (Franklin Regional). The Iowa commit is the nation's best high school wrestler. Also in this weight class are No. 17 Jack Davis (Wyoming Seminary), three-time National Prep placer Daniel Planta (St. Paul's, Md.), as well as two-time state placers in Levi Englman (Colonial Forge, Va.), Hunter Baxter (Pine Richland), and Carmen Ferrante (Bergen Catholic, N.J.)
132: One of two weights without a nationally ranked wrestler. Leading contenders include two-time state champions Quincy Monday (Carrboro, N.C.) and River Curtis (Battlefield, Va.), three-time state/National Prep placer Jake Riegel (Wyoming Seminary), two-time state placer Abdullah Assaf (Lockport, Ill.), state champion Marc Garofalo (Colonial Forge, Va.), along with state placers in Ricky Torres (Oakdale, Calif.) and Job Chishko (Penn Trafford).
138: Three nationally ranked wrestlers, all among the better juniors in the country, lead the way in this weight class - No. 12 Cole Matthews (Reynolds), No. 15 Gerard Angelo (Bergen Catholic, N.J.), and Josh Humphreys (St. Alban's, W.Va.). Other contenders include state placers Robert Cleary (Bound Brook, N.J.) and Luke Kemerer (Hempfield Area, Pa.), along with freshman Alfonso Martinez (Wyoming Seminary, Pa.)
145: No. 2 Jarod Verkleeren (Hempfield Area) seeks many elusive things during his senior high school season before headed to Iowa State, the most current among them is a Powerade title, something he'll be favored to do come Friday night. Challengers include two-time state placers in Jake Hinkson (North Allegheny), John Pipa (Bishop McDevitt), Joe Casey (Bound Brook, N.J.), Zach Hartman (Belle Vernon), Justin McCoy (Chestnut Ridge), and Benny Baker (Wyoming Seminary); plus 2015 state placer and Super 32 Challenge placer Joe Blumer (Kiski Area).
152: Returning Powerade champion Cameron Coy (Penn Trafford), ranked second nationally, is among four top ten nationally ranked wrestlers in this weight class. Those others are No. 5 Stephan Glasgow (Bound Brook, N.J.), No. 8 Shane Griffith (Bergen Catholic, N.J.), and No. 9 Frankie Gissendanner (Penfield, N.Y.). Others to watch include two-time state placer Kody Komara (Freedom), National Prep placer Bailey Thomas (Good Counsel, Md.), and freshman star Gerrit Nijenhuis (Canon-McMillan).
160: A pair of top ten wrestlers anchor the proceedings in this weight class, No. 7 Mekhi Lewis (Bound Brook, N.J.) and No. 10 Trevell Timmons (Lockport, Ill.). Also in this weight class are Super 32 placer Chris Foca (Bergen Catholic, N.J.), along with two-time state placers Jared Lough (Colonial Forge, Va.) and Jared McGill (Chestnut Ridge).
170: No. 4 Trent Hidlay (Mifflin County), runner-up in this tournament last year and a two-time Super 32 Challenge placer among other numerous distinctions, is the clear favorite in this weight class. Other contenders include three-time state champion Jacob Hart (Independence, W.Va.), National Prep runner-up Dale Tiongson (St. Paul's, Md.), 2015 state placer Abel Garcia (Oakdale, Calif.), Ironman placer Gavin Wilkerson (Reynolds), and Cadet National double All-American Jake Hendricks (Wyoming Seminary).
182: No. 3 Nino Bonaccorsi (Bethel Park) is the favorite to win this weight class after finishing runner-up at 170 pounds last year. Others to watch include two-time state placers Anthony Walters (Bishop McCort, Pa.) and Hunter DeLong (Parkersburg South, W.Va.) along with state placers George Walton (Bound Brook, N.J.), Cody Mulligan (Saegertown), and Austin Cooley (Wyoming Seminary).
195: An absolutely loaded behemoth of a weight class with six nationally ranked wrestlers. No. 5 Brandon Kui (DePaul Catholic, N.J.) won the Powerade down a weight class last year by beating No. 8 Jake Woodley (North Allegheny) in the final, but Woodley upset Kui last week in the semifinal round at the Beast of the East. No. 4 Gavin Hoffman (Montoursville) and No. 14 Cole Nye (Bishop McDevitt) were both state champions last year in Pennsylvania's Class AA division, also both finished as runners-up at the Super 32 Challenge two months ago. Rounding out the ranked wrestlers are No. 12 Noah Bushman (Cave Spring, Va.), a returning Powerade placer, and No. 20 Josh McKenzie (Bergen Catholic, N.J.). Also in this weight class is Colin McCracken (Waynesburg), who placed at both Powerade and the state tournament last year.
220: A pair of nationally ranked wrestlers anchor this weight class in No. 4 Noah Adams (Independence, W.Va.) and No. 7 Francis Duggan (Good Counsel, Md.). Others to watch include National Prep placer Brady Daniel (Good Counsel, Md.), Super 32 Challenge placer Joe Soreco (DePaul Catholic, N.J.), and state runner-up Josiah Jones (Bishop McCort).
285: Bereft a nationally ranked wrestler this weight class is anchored by returning Powerade champion Ronald Tucker, Jr. (Lockport, Ill.) and Super 32 Challenge champion Brendan Furman (Canon-McMillan). Others to watch include state placers Isaac Reid (Kiski Area), Kavaun Deboe (Cathedral Prep), and Evan Sweesey (Freedom).