Most wrestling coaches readily admit the challenges the 2020-21 season will pose.

In a normal season, most teams would have an idea of lineups, would have the weight-class situation well under control, and probably would have seen its share of battles in non-conference and holiday tournaments.

This won’t be a normal year.

“Preparing for this season is crazy,” Lake-Lehman head coach Jay Konigus said. “Every day seems to be a challenge because things change all the time. But as a team, we just need to adapt and stay the course. We are wrestlers. That’s what we do.”

Starting Saturday, wrestling will take center stage around the Wyoming Valley Conference. Because of practice regulations, though, two matches — Wyoming Area at Nanticoke and Crestwood at Hazleton — will need to be rescheduled for later in the season.

As for the changes, there will be a few.

Berwick, Dallas and Nanticoke will be part of Division 2 this season, joining Hanover Area, Lake-Lehman and Wyoming Area. Tunkhannock, which won Division 2 last season, jumps to Division 1 with Crestwood, Hazleton Area, Pittston Area, Wilkes-Barre Area and Wyoming Valley West.

There is also a change in the weight classes. Back in July, the PIAA voted to reduce weight classes from 14 to 13. The new classifications will be 106, 113, 120, 132, 138, 145. 152, 160, 172, 189, 215 and 285.

As for the league, expect the same faces to be near the top.

Hazleton Area, undefeated in Division 1 last season, returns Bryce Molinaro, Seth Hunsinger and Jorvan Rodriguez — all ranked in the state. The Jan. 20 match against Tunkhannock will be a good one as the Tigers also bring back several state-ranked wrestlers, including Owen Woods and Nick Marabell.

In Division 2, Lake-Lehman is expected to be at the top. In addition to a talented group of junior high wrestlers joining the program, the Black Knights return Zach Stuart and Josh Bonomo, two grapplers capable of cracking that state podium.

But the featured wrestler in the WVC could be at Wyoming Area as sophomore Jaden Pepe returns. Pepe, who finished third in the state in Class 2A last season, picked up 50 wins and is expected to contend for a state championship.

Here is a look at the Wyoming Valley Conference heading into 2020-2021:

Wyoming Area’s Jaden Pepe, right, won a bronze medal at 106 in the PIAA Championships 2A last season.


Division 1


  • Head coach: Darren Testa
  • Last year’s league record: 4-3
  • Top returners: Jack Andrews, Jeremy Buzak, Cole Kakalecik, Alex Romanoski, Justin Sterling, Nolan Stortz, Trey Zabroski
  • Outlook: Crestwood graduated just five seniors, but one was Garrett Swank, who had 31 wins, a district championship and 102 career victories. Zabroski is only 29 victories away from 100 in his career, and was a runner-up in the district last season. Buzak, Kakalecik, Romanoski, Sterling and Stortz each picked up double-digit wins in 2019-2020


Hazleton Area

  • Head coach: Keith Maurer
  • Last year’s league record: 7-0
  • Top returners: Edo Rodriguez, Johnny Corra, Oscar Zamudio, Jorven Rodriguez, Beck Hutchinson, Devin Youngcourt, Bryce Molinaro, Dante Matarella, Seth Hunsinger
  • Outlook: Expect Hazleton Area to contend for the Division 1 title. The Cougars return state qualifiers Molinaro and Hunsinger, and district champ Zamudio. Molinaro and Hunsinger each won 40 matches last season and are ranked in the top 20 of the state, while Corra, Hutchinson, Zamudio and Matarella each are 20-plus match winners.


Pittston Area

  • Head coach: David Krantz
  • Last year’s league record: 4-3
  • Top returners: Keegan Bucci, Jacob Granahan, Jose Ortiz, Jimmy Spindler, David Sudo, Nico Solano, Kevin Roby, CJ DeMark, Jaii Phillips, John Symons, Anthony Thomas, John Morris
  • Newcomer: Julian Everitt
  • Outlook: It all starts with Spindler, who is ranked No. 17 in the state at 152. The sophomore won 35 matches last season and finished third at the District 2 3A tournament. DeMark won 23 matches in 2019-20, while Symons was 17-11.



  • Head coach: Gary Siegel
  • Last year’s league record: 3-0
  • Top returners: Owen Woods, Matt Rosental, Cole Stauffer, Luke Carpenter, Sean Meder, Frankie Scranta, Nick Marabell, Jaden Kozlowski, Jhamal Zacharias
  • Newcomers: Patrick Munley, Ben Cannella
  • Outlook: Tunkhannock’s jump to Division 1 should set up some fun battles with Hazleton Area and Wilkes-Barre. Woods (113) and Marabell (285) are ranked in the state. Scranta and Marabell were both district champs last season. While the Tigers need to replace the firepower of Gavin D’Amato and Dave Evans, both 40-plus match winners one year ago, there is plenty of experience in the lineup. Woods won 35 matches, and Carpenter, Marabell and Rosental each won at least 20 matches.


Wilkes-Barre Area

  • Head coach: Dave Parsnik
  • Last year’s league record: 6-1
  • Top returners: Josh Warman, Isaiah Parker, Kris Fronseca, Lucas Macking, Aiden Fitzgibbons, Matt Chase, Josh Myers, Joe Monahan, Jayden Pahler, Tyler Faust, Carl Johnson, Noah Taylor, Ian Bednar, Gio Gonzalez
  • Newcomers: Darren Clarke, Jackoy Gayle
  • Outlook: The Wolfpack have balance and experience throughout the lineup, but need to replace Nino Cinti, Connor Lee and Jamie Pahler, who all finished in the top 2 in the district in 3A. It doesn’t mean the cupboard is bare, though. Chase, Johnson and Warman were all 20-plus winner last season, and the additions of Darren Clarke and Jackoy Gayle should help strengthen the Wolfpack.


Wyoming Valley West

  • Head coach: Ryan Vassello
  • Last season’s league record: 4-3
  • Top returners: Dorian Hoffman, Ian Ratchford, Zander Remakus, Joe Rivas, Cole Williams, Jayden Swainbank, Abdul Alzahrani.
  • Newcomers: Mason Sgarlat, John McLaughlin, Luke Hoffman
  • Outlook: The Spartans have a good group of young grapplers. Ratchford, ranked in the state, leads the way. The junior, who was finished in the district and sixth in the region last season, has 67 career wins in just two seasons. Dorian Hoffman and Rivas combined for 36 wins as freshmen last season, while Swainbank added 22 wins.

Lake-Lehman’s Zach Stuart wrestles Tunkhannock’s Ethan Munley in a 132-pound wrestling match at the District 2 Class 2A duals at Pittston Area on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019.


Division 2


  • Head coach: Ron Swingle
  • Last season’s league record: 1-6
  • Top returners: Gavyn Cunningham, Trystan English, John Guerriero, Anthony Kalapach, Lucas Knorr, Nate Rinehimer, Joe Swiderski, Jeff Taylor
  • Outlook: The Bulldogs move to Division 2 and need to replace Nick Yule, who won 112 matches in his career. The Bulldogs will be young as most of their starting lineup consists of freshmen and sophomores. But there are positives as Berwick is coming off a successful junior-high season, and the underclassmen are talented. Leading the way is English, who finished sixth in the district, ending with 29 victories in 19-20.



  • Head coach: Mike Richards
  • Last year’s league record: 1-6
  • Top returners: Justin Benscoter, Ryan Cooper, John Jennings, Thaddeus Mead, Adam Zarola
  • Newcomers: Christian Pitts, Dan Sabulski, Lucas Tirpak
  • Outlook: The Mountaineers move to Division 2 and have a young roster. Dallas lost three of key members from last year — Taylor Bolesta, Lenny Kelley and Ben Yanchick — who combined for more than 70 wins. The team still has Mead, who finished 31-10 in last season and won a a bronze medal at districts. He has 66 career wins.


Nanticoke Area

  • Head coach: Harold Shotwell
  • Last season’s league record: 1-6
  • Top returners: Baylie Butler, Josiah Coutier, Aiden Jaskulski, Khalil Khan, Sebastian Kryznewski, Kaycee Krietzer, Richard Matthews, Ashton Mazzetelli, John Pashinski, Kaitlyn Pegarella, Jeffery Ultsh
  • Outlook: The Trojans move to Division 2, but have a lot to replace. Gone are 20-plus winners Adam Eckhart, Isaiah Johnson, Collin Kudrakjo-Kashatus along with Seth Pelton, who was 18-10 last season. Jaskulski and Mazzetelli are the lone wrestlers returning with double-digit wins.


Hanover Area

  • Head coach: David Griffith
  • Last season’s league record: 1-2
  • Top returners: Cael Davis, Aidan Shamaski, Tyler Ulitchney, Christian Torres, Hunter Karpovich, Jacob Mercadante
  • Outlook: Numbers are low at Hanover Area this season as the Hawkeyes have six varsity and four junior high wrestlers. But that doesn’t mean there is a lack of talent. Davis and Karpovich were District Class 2A runners-ups last season. Davis had 36 wins while Karpovich was 23-12.



  • Head coach: Jay Konigus
  • Last season’s league record: 1-2
  • Top returners: Brandon Ritinski, Mason Konigus, Jake Gizenski, Zach Stuart, Josh Bonomo, Nick Zaboski, Joe Vegas, Kevin Burke, Hunter Burke, Jake Trumbower
  • Newcomers: Lexi Schecterly, LJ Morgan, Bo Voelker, Colby Roberts, Chad Honeywell
  • Outlook: Lake-Lehman, arguably the favorite in Division 2, has a good mix of veterans and youth. Zach Stuart and Nick Zaboski are returning district champs, while Josh Bonomo was runner-up. Keep an eye on the newcomers as well as Schecterly, Morgan, Voelker, Roberts and Honeywell, who all had successful junior-high careers.


Wyoming Area

  • Head coach: Steve Mytych
  • Last season’s league record: 1-2
  • Top returners: Jaden Pepe, Garrett Pocceschi, Zachary Sheridan, Adam Sigman, Kyle Emsley, Rocco Pizano, Nick Ross, Connor Wrobleski, Richie Hyzinski, Kevin Vile, Gia Nina Larson, Ethan Speece, Vincent Bowers, Vincienzo Giambra
  • Newcomers: Aaron Crossley, Cooper Price, Johnny Stone
  • Outlook: Mytych feels pretty good about the middle to upper weights in his lineup, but admits the Warriors may be a little thin in the lower weights. But he has the services of one of the best lower weights in the state in sophomore Jaden Pepe, who won 50 matches and finished third in the state. He will enter the season ranked No. 2 in 2A at 106. Connor Wrobleski, a two-time district champ, has 68 career victories. The Warriors also have some key newcomers as Aaron Crossley is coming off a strong junior high season, and junior Cooper Price, who picked up 32 victories at Coughlin two seasons ago, returns to the mat.