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Scratches shake up 1st day of WPIAL Class AAA Wrestling Championships

| Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, 10:12 p.m.
Evan Sanders | Tribune-Review
North Hills' Kegan Lawson (top) works to control Kiski Area's Joe Blumer in the 120-pound match during the WPIAL Class AAA individual wrestling championship Thursday, February 27, 2014, at Canon-McMillan High School.

The opening night of the WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA Southwest Regional Wrestling Championship is usually uneventful.

But the WPIAL wrestling committee was put into scramble mode during the first day of the three-day tournament Thursday at Canon-McMillan when seven wrestlers were pulled from the competition of various reasons.

The committee was forced to change the brackets in five weight classes, but the most changes came at 113 pounds when No. 4 seed Ethan McCoy of Latrobe and Kevin Stalter of McKeesport were scratched.

Latrobe coach Tad Harbert said McCoy developed discomfort in his chest yesterday morning and was taken to the hospital by his parents. Stalter was also ill.

“I don't know the reasons why they were pulled, but we had to adjust the brackets,” tournament director Phil Mary said. “At 113 we moved (seed) 5 to 4 and 6 to 5. We held fast that when we moved wrestlers from the pigtail round, they didn't end up wrestling someone from their section.”

With McCoy out, Canon-McMillan senior Brendan Price moved to McCoy's spot and Ringgold sophomore Doug Gudenburr slid to five.

“I was surprised because I didn't think the No. 4 seed would scratch out of the tournament, but I don't know what happened,” Gudenburr said. “It's tough on either side of the bracket, so you've just got to wrestle your best.”

Other notable scratches included Franklin Regional freshman Gus Solomon at 120 and Latrobe freshman Ethan Smith. Solomon has a shoulder injury that will require surgery next week, and Smith has bronchitis.

Connellsville junior Tyler Kenney, the No. 3 seed, said he wasn't bothered by the changes. He had a quick pin in his match.

Kenney defeated McCoy in the team tournament, 2-1.

“You're a competitor, and with McCoy out, it helps everyone else a little, I guess,” Kenney said.

Greensburg Salem coach Randy Parsley echoed the same thoughts about McCoy's absence.

“I told Chris there is one less tough wrestler in the bracket,” Parsley said. “You still have to beat someone good to get to Hershey, be it Kenney or (North Allegheny freshman Luke) Landefeld on his side of the bracket.”

Other than losing McCoy from the tournament, none of the top 4 seeds lost and for most part none were even threatened. Only Shaler sophomore Jake Hartman, a No. 4 seed at 132, and Latrobe junior Dylan Davis, a No. 3 seed at 220, escaped with 1-0 wins. North Allegheny junior Clay Byerly, a No. 3 seed at 182, won 2-0.

There were 65 pins during the two rounds, including 40 in the first round. Ringgold senior Kenny Tarpley had the fastest fall, 19 seconds in the pigtail round, while Franklin Regional freshman Spencer Lee had a 21-second pin in the first round.

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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