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Franklin Regional tops rival Latrobe for 1st state wrestling title

Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional coach Eric Mausser and his wrestlers celebrate their 37-23 victory over Latrobe to win the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional coach Eric Mausser and his wrestlers celebrate their 37-23 victory over Latrobe to win the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Burrell's Steven Edwards prepares to score on Hamburg's Matt James in their 152-pound bout in Round 4 of the consolation at the PIAA Class AA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Edwards won by a 24-9 technical fall. Burrell defeated Hamburg, 42-22, and then defeated Boiling Springs, 45-20, to finish in third place.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Burrell's Steven Edwards prepares to score on Hamburg's Matt James in their 152-pound bout in Round 4 of the consolation at the PIAA Class AA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Edwards won by a 24-9 technical fall. Burrell defeated Hamburg, 42-22, and then defeated Boiling Springs, 45-20, to finish in third place.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Augusten Solomon looks to his coaches while battling Latrobe's Luke Pletcher in their 120-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Augusten Solomon looks to his coaches while battling Latrobe's Luke Pletcher in their 120-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Michael Kemerer waits for his 138-pound match to begin at the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Michael Kemerer waits for his 138-pound match to begin at the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Brandon Yant is lifted by Latrobe's Dominic Scalise in their 160-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Scalise won by a 5-2 decision.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Brandon Yant is lifted by Latrobe's Dominic Scalise in their 160-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Scalise won by a 5-2 decision.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Michael Kemerer tries to turn Latrobe's Jake Willochell in their 138-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Kemerer won by a 17-5 major decision.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Michael Kemerer tries to turn Latrobe's Jake Willochell in their 138-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Kemerer won by a 17-5 major decision.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Josh Shields (right) battles Latrobe's Jake Shaffer in their 152-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Shields won by a 5-0 decision.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Josh Shields (right) battles Latrobe's Jake Shaffer in their 152-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Shields won by a 5-0 decision.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Dom Giannangeli (left) looks to score on Latrobe's Joel Cawoski in their 126-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Giannangeli won by a 3-2 decision.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Dom Giannangeli (left) looks to score on Latrobe's Joel Cawoski in their 126-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Giannangeli won by a 3-2 decision.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Josh Maruca (right) prepares to pin Latrobe's Ethan Smith in their 145-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Maruca won by fall at 1:16.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Josh Maruca (right) prepares to pin Latrobe's Ethan Smith in their 145-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Maruca won by fall at 1:16.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Justin Rose attempts to pin Latrobe's Travis Schmeling in their 220-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Rose won by a 9-7 decision.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Justin Rose attempts to pin Latrobe's Travis Schmeling in their 220-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Rose won by a 9-7 decision.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Tyler Smith (right) prepares to score on Latrobe's Ethan Stas in their 132-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Smith won by a 19-7 major decision.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Tyler Smith (right) prepares to score on Latrobe's Ethan Stas in their 132-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Smith won by a 19-7 major decision.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee (right) battles Latrobe's Ethan McCoy in their 113-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Lee won by a 19-3 technical fall.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee (right) battles Latrobe's Ethan McCoy in their 113-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Lee won by a 19-3 technical fall.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Nate Painter rolls with Latrobe's Justin Short in the 170-pound bout in the final of the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Painter won by a 5-3 decision.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Nate Painter rolls with Latrobe's Justin Short in the 170-pound bout in the final of the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Painter won by a 5-3 decision.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Josh Maruca celebrates after pinning Latrobe's Ethan Smith at 1 minute, 16 seconds of their 145-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Josh Maruca celebrates after pinning Latrobe's Ethan Smith at 1 minute, 16 seconds of their 145-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Devin Brown reacts after pinning Latrobe's Carson Palmer at 17 seconds of their 106-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Devin Brown reacts after pinning Latrobe's Carson Palmer at 17 seconds of their 106-pound bout in the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Burrell's Anthony Marra records a takedown on Hamburg's Kerry Mega in the 126-pound bout of a fourth-round consolation at thePIAA Class AA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Marra won by a 7-1 decision. Burrell defeated Hamburg, 42-22, and then defeated Boiling Springs, 45-20, to finish in third place.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Burrell's Anthony Marra records a takedown on Hamburg's Kerry Mega in the 126-pound bout of a fourth-round consolation at thePIAA Class AA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Marra won by a 7-1 decision. Burrell defeated Hamburg, 42-22, and then defeated Boiling Springs, 45-20, to finish in third place.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Burrell's Robert Scherer celebrates his 2-0 overtime victory over Hamburg's Logan Lackey in Round 4 of the consolation at the PIAA Class AA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Burrell defeated Hamburg, 42-22, and then defeated Boiling Springs, 45-20, to finish in third place.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Burrell's Robert Scherer celebrates his 2-0 overtime victory over Hamburg's Logan Lackey in Round 4 of the consolation at the PIAA Class AA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Burrell defeated Hamburg, 42-22, and then defeated Boiling Springs, 45-20, to finish in third place.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Burrell's Corey Falleroni prepares to pin Hamburg's Andrew Kochel at 3 minutes, 50 seconds of their 145-pound bout in Round 4 of the consolation at the PIAA Class AA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Burrell defeated Hamburg, 42-22, and then defeated Boiling Springs, 45-20, to finish in third place.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Burrell's Corey Falleroni prepares to pin Hamburg's Andrew Kochel at 3 minutes, 50 seconds of their 145-pound bout in Round 4 of the consolation at the PIAA Class AA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Burrell defeated Hamburg, 42-22, and then defeated Boiling Springs, 45-20, to finish in third place.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Burrell's Allan Beattie lifts Hamburg's Blake Roberts in Round 4 of the consolation at the PIAA Class AA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Beattie won a 4-0 decision. Burrell defeated Hamburg, 42-22, and then defeated Boiling Springs, 45-20, to finish in third place.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Burrell's Allan Beattie lifts Hamburg's Blake Roberts in Round 4 of the consolation at the PIAA Class AA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey. Beattie won a 4-0 decision. Burrell defeated Hamburg, 42-22, and then defeated Boiling Springs, 45-20, to finish in third place.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Burrell wrestlers pose with the third-place trophy following their 45-20 victory over Boiling Springs at the PIAA Class AA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Burrell wrestlers pose with the third-place trophy following their 45-20 victory over Boiling Springs at the PIAA Class AA team wrestling championship Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at Giant Center in Hershey.

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Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, 2:54 p.m.
 

HERSHEY — The Franklin Regional wrestling team closed one chapter of its season. Now it's starting a new one.

The Panthers completed their team goals by capturing their first state title with a 37-23 victory against section rival Latrobe at the PIAA Class AAA team championship Saturday at Giant Center.

Now the Panthers will change their focus to winning some individual crowns.

It was the first time that two WPIAL teams have met in the state finals. Latrobe (16-3) finished second for the first time.

It was the third time in the past three weeks the teams have met on the mat. Franklin Regional won all three, but this was the closest.

And it turned out to be a great day for wrestling from Westmoreland County as Burrell (17-4) finished third in Class AA, defeating three teams Saturday, capped by a 45-20 win over District 3 champion Boiling Springs (15-3).

It is the third consecutive year a WPIAL team won the AAA state title, following Canon-McMillan in 2012-13. Connellsville is the only other WPIAL team to win a state title. That was in 2005.

“We had the big target on our backs all season,” Franklin Regional coach Eric Mausser said. “Latrobe gave it their best today. It was awesome and a heck of a match. Both teams wrestled well, and it came down to the end.”

Top-ranked Franklin Regional (23-1) won five consecutive matches from 126 pounds to 152 to grab a 31-9 lead.

But Latrobe still had a chance beginning at 160 when Dom Scalise defeated Brandon Yant, 5-2, to stop the run.

Franklin Regional senior Nate Painter ended the Wildcats' upset hopes with a 5-3 victory against Justin Short at 170 to clinch the title.

“Nate had a great match and sealed the deal,” Mausser said. “I don't think he's ever lost to Short, and I had a lot of faith in him. Nate did a good job stepping up in and getting the win.”

Latrobe and Franklin Regional exchanged pins to start the match. Tyler Mears got a second-period pin for Latrobe, and Devin Brown a 17-second pin for Franklin Regional.

Spencer Lee earned a 19-3 technical fall over Ethan McCoy at 113 pounds to give Franklin Regional the lead for good.

Latrobe sophomore Luke Pletcher held on to edge Gus Solomon, 4-3, at 120 to cut the lead to 11-9, but the Panthers put together one of their patented runs.

Dom Giannangeli (126) edged Joel Cawoski, 3-2; Tyler Smith (132) and Mike Kemerer (138) earned major decision wins; Josh Maruca (145) recorded a pin; and Josh Shields (152) topped Jake Shaffer, 5-0.

“My hat's off to Eric and his team,” Latrobe coach Tad Harbert said. “They're very well coached. They deserve to be hoisting the trophy. I'm proud of my guys because we scrapped hard.

“We were in the underdog role, and the wrestlers were pretty loose. We wanted to improve on every performance we had, and we did that. This team gave me and coach (Chad) Schmeling a fantastic ride this season.”

Franklin Regional junior Michael Kemerer said the hard work finally paid off in a state title.

“We've been training for this since we were little kids,” he said. “It's always been a dream and to finally come through and win is awesome.”

Mausser called it a great weekend for Westmoreland County wrestling.

“Same section, Section 1, baby,” Mausser said. “We have the toughest section in the state of Pennsylvania and the toughest county in the state. The county teams did a very good job. We battle-test each other and prepare for situations like this.”

Harbert added: “It's a good kick in the pants for Westmoreland County fans. We have great wrestling in our area.”

North Allegheny's bid to finish in the top four ended in the fourth-round consolations with a 31-28 loss to Cumberland Valley. The Tigers (16-3), with starters Jesse Rodgers and Layne Skundrich missing for the lineup, lost two close matches: Latrobe on Friday and Cumberland Valley on Saturday.

North Allegheny coach Jamie Kyriazis, however, did not use the missing wrestlers as an excuse.

Burrell did what coach Josh Shields had hoped, placing in the top four in the state. How the eight-time defending WPIAL champion Bucs accomplished their goal was different than Shields had planned.

After losing to Hamburg in the opening round, Burrell won five consecutive matches, including three Saturday to finish third.

Prior to the win in the third-place match, the Bucs defeated District 6 champion Huntingdon, 31-27, and District 6 runner-up Hamburg, 42-22.

That win avenged Thursday's loss.

“It was my job as a coach to light a fire under the guys,” Shields said. “I told them we were as good as these teams. We can do this. I told them it was do or die.”

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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