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Kiski Area wrestlers strive for photo finish

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Hampton, senior

Claim to fame: Hart (11-1), an Edinboro recruit, lost to Blair Academy's Frank Mattiace, 3-2, by escape in ultimate rideout in the 195-pound weight class bout at the Powerade Christmas Tournament at Canon-McMillan on Saturday. Last season, Hart, who has 110 career wins, finished runner-up at the WPIAL and PIAA championships, losing both matches to Central Catholic's Perry Hills in the 186-pound weight class.

“I have started off pretty well,” Hart said. “It came to a coin flip. I wish it turned out better.”

What was your favorite moment from the Powerade Christmas Tournament?

I would probably say last year when I won it. Also, the semifinal match was a good memory. I was able to to take it to him (Chartiers-Houston's Garrett Vulcano) and did what I had to do.

What did you like so much about the Edinboro program?

I like the coaches, and the team is young. They are building up the program. I hope to start there next year, but I most likely will redshirt.

How would it feel to win WPIAL or states this year in your final season?

It would feel good. Losing to the same kid twice was tough. But if I have the opportunity, it will be two great matches again.

— Andrew John

Wrestling rankings

Class AAA

Rec. Pvs.

1. Canon-McMillan (2-0) 1

2. Franklin Regional (6-0) 2

3. Kiski Area (8-0) 3

4. Connellsville (4-0) 4

5. Greensburg Salem (5-1) 5

6. Hampton (7-1) 6

7. Central Catholic (1-0) 7

8. Butler (2-0) 8

9. North Allegheny (4-2) 9

10. Belle Vernon (5-1) 10

Class AA

1. Chartiers-Houston (2-1) 1

2. Burrell (4-3) 2

3. Yough (10-0) 3

4. Kittanning (0-1) 4

5. South Fayette (2-0) 5

Class AAA individuals

106: 1. Luke Pletcher, Latrobe; 2. Gage Curry, North Hills; 3. Brendon Price, Canon-McMillan; 3. Mitch Hartman, Belle Vernon; 4. Chris Eddins, Greensburg Salem; 5. Scott Stossel, North Allegheny.

113: 1. A.C. Headlee, Waynesburg; 2. Ricky Cavallo, Hempfield; 3. James Harrison, West Mifflin; 4. Mitch Harrison, Belle Vernon; 5. Kevin Kinyua, Mt. Lebanon.

120: 1. Sam Krivus, Hempfield; 2. Dalton Macri, Canon-McMillan; 3. Dom Forys, North Allegheny; 4. Vincenzo Joseph, Catholic; 5. Blake Caudill, Butler.

126: 1. Connor Schram, Canon-McMillan; 2. Michael Kemerer, Franklin Regional; 3. Tyler Walker, North Hills; 4. Lukas Etzel, Elizabeth Forward; 5. Nate Russo, Belle Vernon.

132: 1. Tyler Smith, Franklin Regional; 2. Joel Pezze, Norwin; 3. Drew Walker, North Hills; 4. Ron Seibert, Central Catholic; 5. Corey Wilding, Upper St. Clair.

138: 1. Josh Maruca, Franklin Regional; 2. Justin Alexander, Central Catholic; 3. Ethan Kenney, Connellsville; 4. Italo Merante, Peters Township; 5. Jake Shaffer, Latrobe.

145: 1. Josh Shields, Franklin Regional; 2. Cole Landowski, Kiski Area; 3. Derek Verkleeren, Belle Vernon; 4. Kevin Synan, Hampton; 5. Chris Nuss, Central Catholic.

152: 1. Tyler Reinhart, Greensburg Salem; 2. Kyle Skelly, Kiski Area; 3. Kyle Coniker, Central Catholic; 4. Dale Provance, Connellsville; 5. Zach Kocak, Hampton.

160: 1. Zack Zavatsky, Latrobe; 2. Zach Voytek, Greensburg Salem; 3. Heath Coles, Norwin; 4. Dom Nania, Hempfield; 5. Austin Bell, Belle Vernon.

170: 1. Cody Wiercioch, Canon-McMillan; 2. Brandon Olszewski, Hampton; 3. Kellan Stout, Mt. Lebanon; 4. Noah Wilps, Chartiers Valley; 5. Brendan Burnham, Pine-Richland.

182: 1. Adam Nickelson, Belle Vernon; 2. Zach Smith, North Allegheny; 3. Drew Phipps, Norwin; 4. Ryan Hannon, Butler; 5. Tyler Worthing, Kiski Area.

195: 1. Matt McCutcheon, Kiski Area; 2. Jake Hart, Hampton; 3. Alex DiCiantis, North Allegheny; 4. Alen Turcinhodzic, North Hills; 5. Anthony Cable, Greensburg Salem.

220: 1. Alex Campbell, Canon-McMillan; 2. Cole Macek, Montour; 3. James Keys, West Millfin; 4. Calvin Sittig, Ambridge; 5. Michael Tempalski, Hopewell.

285: 1. Shane Kuhn, Kiski Area; 2. Damon Sims, Hopewell; 3. Luke Fleck, Franklin Regional; 4. Zach Deluca, Central Catholic; 5. Noah Shulman, Hampton.

Class AA individuals

106: 1. Austin Griffith, Southmoreland; 2. Austin McDermitt, Burgettstown; 3. Brendon Howard, Jefferson-Morgan.

113: 1. Cody Charles, Yough; 2. George Phillipi, Derry Area; 3. Jake Rothka, Bentworth.

120: 1. Seth Carr, South Fayette; 2. Zach Swarrow, Beth-Center; 3. Matt Vickless, Benworth.

126: 1. Nathan Reckner, South Side Beaver; 2. Vince Vahaly, Bentworth; 3. Rich McGinnis, Chartiers-Houston.

132: 1. Jason Nolf, Kittanning; 2. Shane Gentry, South Side Beaver; 3. Jake Wentzel, South Park.

138: 1. Steven Edwards, Burrell; 2. Jason Miller, Jefferson-Morgan; 3. Tony Welsh, Beth-Center.

145: 1. Nick Gavazzi, Charleroi; 2. Phil Marra, Burrell; 3. Jason Stay, Beth-Center.

152: 1. Tanner Sutton, Chartiers-Houston; 2. Boe Bonzo, Freedom; 3. Grant Fetchet, South Fayette.

160: 1. Derek Hull, Chartiers-Houston; 2. Nico Brown, Beth-Center; 3. Bill Bowlen, Jefferson-Morgan.

170: 1. Mike Fetchet, South Fayette; 2. Brendon Glover, West Shamokin; 3. Lucas Richardson, Yough.

182: 1. Dustin Conti, Jefferson-Morgan; 2. Justin Overly, Mt. Pleasant; 3. Dylan Clark, Valley.

195: 1. Garrett Vulcano, Chartiers-Houston; 2. Cody Jacobs, West Greene; 3. Jake Fordyce, Bentworth.

220: 1. Jake Temple, Avella; 2. Christian Williams, Yough; 3. Tyler Cousins, Freedom.

285: 1. Jake Beistel, Southmoreland; 2. Tom Sever, Yough; 3. Allan Beattie, Burrell.

— Paul Schofield

Top high school sports
Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 10:22 p.m.

Following a rare photo-less year, Kiski Area is striving to make this wrestling season picture perfect.

For the Cavaliers, it's all about earning a framed team photo in the school's wrestling room. Only PIAA-qualifying teams or individuals earn the immortal honor.

“Our coach always makes us a deal with us — if we make it to states, we get a picture up on the wall of the wrestling room,” senior Cole Landowski said. “We always have something to look forward to and a goal in mind. We always want to have goals when you compete in a wrestling season, and that's what we always want to strive for.”

The seniors on this season's team were part of Kiski Area squads that earned themselves some camera time in 2010 and '11. Last season, the Cavaliers appeared well on their way to another trip to Hershey after finishing the regular season undefeated in dual matches — but Kiski Area in the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals to North Allegheny.

“The team goal is definitely to bounce back from last year — because we were so close — and make it to states as a team,” junior heavyweight Shane Kuhn said.

Heading into a critical Section 1-AAA match against Franklin Regional on Wednesday, the Cavaliers are 8-0 in duals and were champions of the Eastern Area Invitational early last month.

They also placed fourth at the Manheim Holiday Wrestling Tournament last week, a solid showing considering Kiski Area was without junior 120-pounder Ryan Hardaway.

“Like always, everyone's come together as a team, and we're wrestling really strong as individuals,” Kuhn said.

Nowhere is Kiski Area more solid than at 195 pounds, where reigning PIAA champion and Penn State recruit Matt McCutcheon wrestles.

“He's just a great kid — off the mat and on the mat,” senior Kyle Skelly said. “No matter where he's at, he's always in a great mood and always just great to be around.

“And he's very influential on his teammates. He's a great wrestler and a good practice partner.”

At 152 pounds, Skelly joins McCutcheon, Landowski and Jake McClarnon (220 pounds) and Shawn McGowan (160) as seniors who start for Kiski Area.

Landowski was a PIAA qualifier at 138 pounds last season. This season, he hopes to do even better at 145 pounds.

Freshmen Jake York (106 pounds) and Tyler Worthing (182) are striving for successful seasons.

Kuhn was the WPIAL runner-up at 285 pounds as a sophomore last season. He headlines a talented junior class that includes Hardaway, 113-pounder Mitch Nagy and 132-pounder Jake Ardellicz. Vaughn Curcio (126 pounds), Garrett Fitzsimmons (138 pounds) and Dakota Lang (170 pounds) are sophomores in Kiski Area's lineup.

“Overall, they're a great group of kids,” Cavaliers coach Chuck Tursky said. “When you have kids like this, it's just a pleasure to coach. I can't ask for anything more than that.”

Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.

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