Gateway sending trio to WPIAL Class AAA championships
After having only one representative at the WPIAL wrestling championships last season, Gateway will send three this season after qualifying in the Section 1-AAA individual championships at Kiski Area.
The Gators will be represented this Friday and Saturday at the WPIAL Class AAA championships at Canon-McMillan by junior Caleb Lehman (160), freshman Evan Whiteside (106) and senior Ahmad Wilson (170).
Caleb Lehman (20-15) qualified for the WPIAL championships after placing fourth in the 160-pound weight class when Caleb Lehman was pinned by Norwin's Ryan Weinzen at 2 minutes, 21 seconds in the third-place consolation match.
Lehman navigated the loser's bracket with a pin of Armstrong's Isaac Ridinger at 0:50 and a default win over Kiski Area's Logan Pollick.
Whiteside (23-10) earned his first WPIAL championships appearance after defeating Greensburg Salem's Mason Jobe by a 6-5 decision in the fifth-place consolation match at 106 poundss. Whiteside pinned Chris Chavira at 1:45 in his first matchup in the loser's bracket. However, Whiteside was sent to the fifth-place consolation final after being pinned by Latrobe's Gabe Willochell at 3:38.
Wilson (16-17) clinched a spot after defeating Hempfield's Colin Choby by a 9-8 decision in the fifth-place consolation final at 170. After losing his first-round match, Wilson defeated Woodland Hills' Richard Harris by a 3-2 decision.
The Gateway wrestling program nearly had three more Gators advance in freshman Jaired Lehman (120), senior Jordan Washington (182) and sophomore Bryce Washington (220).
Jaired Lehman (12-18) was unable to defeat Penn-Trafford's Tony Zona as Lehman was pinned at 2:26 in the fifth-place consolation final in the 120-pound weight class.
Jordan Washington (10-16) was involved in a close matchup against Franklin Regional's Safan Rahim where Rahim was able to defeat Jordan Washington by a 1-0 decision in the fifth-place consolation final for the 182-pound weight class.
Bryce Washington (11-13) was pinned by Penn-Trafford's Peyton Kelly at 4:37 in the fifth-place consolation final for the 220-pound weight class.
The three Gators will look to try to sneak into the top four of their respective weight classes to earn a spot in the PIAA Class AAA individual championships that will be in Hershey from March 9-11.
Andrew John is a freelance writer.