The talent level at the 106-pound weight class, or the former 103, has sometimes been lacking in District 6 Class AAA.
There's been less than a dozen teams for years, and it's hard for many schools to find somebody who weighs that much or can lose enough weight to get down to the smallest weight.
That's certainly not a problem this season at 106. The weight class is loaded. Six of the eight wrestlers have 18 wins or more, and the returning champion, Bald Eagle Area's Travis Giedroc, is the fifth seed. Figuring out this one for my postseason predictions gave me a headache right off the bat.
So, I did the only logical thing. I went with two local guys, Hollidaysburg's second-seeded Damian Huff and Philipsburg-Osceola's fourth-seeded Chris Thompson, to make the finals.
It won't be easy for either one to make the finals. Thompson faces Giedroc in the quarterfinals, and Huff will likely get Westmont Hilltop's Logan Blackburn, a tournament scratch last season, in the semis. If Thompson wins in the quarters - he did beat Giedroc in the dual meet - he'd likely get State College's top-seeded Mike Kauffman in the semifinals.
Thompson hasn't wrestled Kauffman yet, but let's say he gets through, as does Huff. Huff has been pretty strong since dropping to 106, and he beat Thompson, 5-2, in the dual meet. So, the nod goes to Huff.
The only other weight that can compare to 106 is 195, and it could be stronger. Eight of the nine guys have winning record, and the returning runner-up, Johnstown's Gervon Simon, is 13-0 and seeded sixth. For the record, I went with Simon over Bellefonte's Nicholas Shawley.
It says here two other area wrestlers should win titles in Altoona's T.J. Brandt (126) and P-O's Logan Walstrom (145).
Brandt has been untouched in his two previous district tournaments, and he should blitz through this one. I went with Brandt over his 2011 finals opponent, Central Mountain's Logan Bechdel, to claim his third title.
Walstrom won't have to wrestle any Central Mountain state champions this year in the finals, but he won't find an easy bout. He needed to go to the ultimate tiebreaker to beat Bellefonte's Leo Wortman earlier in the year, but I think Walstrom will be able to do it.
Two other area wrestlers - Altoona freshman D.J. Hollingshead (120) and P-O's Jared Smith (152) should make the finals, but fall there.
Hollingshead has had a fantastic rookie season, but he'll run into Bellefonte's returning state tournament sixth-placer Tom Traxler in the finals. Let's just say it's a good way for both to get ready for next week's Northwest Regional, which will have a very deep 120-pound class.
Smith is the top seed, but Gavlock is a returning district champion who beat Altoona's Wendell Meyers in last year's finals. Edge goes to Gavlock.
I'm picking Central Mountain to win another team title and it's returning state champion, Brian Brill, to be voted the Outstanding Wrestler.
But anything can happen once the postseason starts, and that's why it is so interesting to watch and predict what might happen. Here's the rest of the picks:
106 POUNDS: Finalists: Chris Thompson, Philipsburg-Osceola vs. Damian Huff, Hollidaysburg. Champion: Huff. Comment: It's a loaded weight class when returning champ, BEA's Giedroc, is the fifth seed.
113 POUNDS: Finalists: Trevor Corl, Bellefonte vs. Keanan Bottorf, Central Mountain. Champion: Corl. Comment: Corl will pass semifinal test against P-O's Descavish.
120 POUNDS: Finalists: Tom Traxler, Bellefonte vs. D.J. Hollingshead, Altoona. Champion: Traxler. Comment: Interesting matchup, but CM's Hanley will look for an upset of Hollingshead in semis.
126 POUNDS: Finalists: T.J. Brandt, Altoona vs. Logan Bechdel, Central Mountain. Champion: Brandt. Comment: Bechdel and MC's Besch will battle in semis for chance to wrestle Brandt.
132 POUNDS: Finalists: Malcolm Harris, Johnstown vs. Mike Walsh, Westmont Hilltop. Champion: Harris. Comment: In last year's tournament, Harris pinned Walsh in 43 seconds in semifinals.
138 POUNDS: Finalists: Ian Helsel, Westmont Hilltop vs. Joey Miller, Central Mountain. Champion: Helsel. Comment: Not counting out P-O's Greenawalt in Miller's bracket.
145 POUNDS: Finalists: Logan Walstrom, Philipsburg-Osceola vs. Leo Wortman, Bellefonte. Champion: Walstrom. Comment: This should be a pretty good finals bout.
152 POUNDS: Finalists: Jared Smith, Philipsburg-Osceola vs. Dillon Gavlock, Central Mountain. Champion: Gavlock. Comment: Westmont's Patton is a threat in Smith's bracket.
160 POUNDS: Finalists: Brian Brill, Central Mountain vs. Brandon Michael, Mifflin County. Champion: Brill. Comment: P-O's Thompson could get by Michael in semifinals.
170 POUNDS: Finalists: Jacob Taylor, Bald Eagle Area vs. Nathaniel Powers, Central Mountain. Champion: Taylor. Comment: Taylor bulldozed his way through districts last year.
182 POUNDS: Finalists: Ryan Burnheimer, Westmont Hilltop vs. Blaze Buckwalter, Central Mountain. Champion: Buckwalter. Comment: Hollidaysburg's Miller could be Buckwalter's closest bout in semis.
195 POUNDS: Finalists: Nicholas Shawley, Bellefonte vs. Gervon Simon, Johnstown. Champion: Simon. Comment: Altoona's Barnes can't be counted out of this rugged weight class.
220 POUNDS: Finalists: Tyson Searer, Mifflin County vs. Nathan Sharkey, Bald Eagle Area. Champion: Searer. Comment: These two wrestled in the 215-pound finals last season.
285 POUNDS: Finalists: Josh Duplin, Westmont Hilltop vs. Garrett Poorman, Bellefonte. Champion: Duplin. Comment: Hollidaysburg's Barton should wrestle Poorman in semifinals.
OUTSTANDING WRESTLER: Brian Brill, Central Mountain
TEAM CHAMPION: Central Mountain. Comment: Wildcats shouldn't run away with it.
LAST WEEK'S DISTRICT 6-AA RECORD: 19 out of 30 situations