Thus far, the 2017-18 season has been a year of tremendous growth for the Philadelphia Public League! A record-high 29 PPL wrestlers will make the trip this weekend to Bethlehem Liberty High School to compete in the PIAA Northeast Regional Tournament. Congratulations to all PPL qualifiers; you continue to make us proud! Below are just a few of the most interesting storylines headed into the weekend: 106lbs--Tatiyana Ortiz (MBA) Two years ago, Ortiz broke through barriers in the sport of wrestling by becoming the first female district qualifier in PPL history. In 2015, her qualification forced the Philadelphia Catholic League to change rules that barred Catholic school wrestlers from competing against females. Since that point, girls wrestling in the city of Philadelphia has grown tremendously; a large part of that is to her credit. Fast-forward to this season and Ortiz is continuing to have a substantial impact on the sport. This weekend, Ortiz will become the first female wrestler to compete in the PIAA NE Regional Tournament as she is slated to face off against Matt Mayer of Bethlehem Catholic in the prelims. It will be interesting to see if the Archdiocese of Allentown follows suit with Philadelphia. A change to this ruling could be yet another step in the right direction for women’s wrestling! 126lbs--Reynaldo Garcia (MBA) & Zamire Rice (OVB) 126 is a LOADED weight class in the NE Region; with 5 guys ranked inside the top #15 by PA Power Wrestling. Within the weight class, however are two underrated wrestlers from the Public League with a lot of talent. Garcia & Rice have gone back and forth this season and given each other some great matches. This postseason, in fact, Rice’s only 2 losses have come at the hands of Garcia. It will surely be a lot of fun to see these two young guns put their aggressive styles to the test. 138lbs--Mike Rubino (NE) At the beginning of the season, Mike won an appeal for a 5th year of eligibility with the PIAA. In his final season of high school wrestling Mike has shined with a 33-6 record. After a 3rd place finish at the District XII Tournament, it will be interesting to see if Rubino can continue to make the most of his senior season. 152lbs--Lucien Anderson (CEN) A regional qualifier in 2017, Anderson hopes to make his first trip to Hershey this season. He has cruised to league and district titles thus far, and we are now anxiously awaiting this weekend to see if he can get over the hump. 160lbs--Angel Garcia (MBA) Angel finished 5th in the region last year, only one win away from qualifying for the state tournament. This offseason, Garcia has worked as hard as anyone to improve his skills; highlighted by a 3rd place finish in Greco-Roman at the Fargo National Championships. While Garcia has seldom been challenged in a match this season, this weekend will truly show where he stands amongst the elite in this weight class. 195lbs--Daishawn Tilghman (OVB) As a freshman Tilghman made the most of his 5th seed at the regional tournament and went 2-2 at regionals. After qualifying for Fargo this summer and truly dedicating himself to the sport, things feel different this season. After winning the 1st district title in Overbrook history in absolutely dominating fashion, Tilghman is primed for another deep run. A trip to Hershey is undoubtedly within reach. 220lbs--Jameel Coles (NE) Jameel has been nothing short of spectacular this season and his record speaks for itself. With an unblemished 37-0 record, he won league and district titles with seemingly relative ease. Coles will look to continue that dominance this weekend, against a far tougher field of opponents. How high can Coles climb on the podium? Only time will tell. Once again, congratulations to all PPL regional qualifiers and congratulations to all PCL qualifiers as well. Let’s go District XII! To follow this weekend's action, brackets/updates can be found here.
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