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Franklin Regional avenges loss to capture 1st Section 1-AAA title

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 10:46 p.m.
(from left) Franklin Regional's Connor Medlang holds his grip on Kiski Area's Ryan Hardaway during the 120-pound wrestling match of the Section 1-AAA tournament held at Kiski Area High School on Wednesday January 22, 2013. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

Connor Medlang hadn't wrestled in a match all season until Wednesday. He had a problem making weight.

But the Franklin Regional senior got down to weight and then made up for lost time.

Medlang's performance, along with the return of Mike Kemerer (126 pounds) and Luke Fleck (heavyweight), helped No. 3 Franklin Regional (11-1) capture its first section title with a 38-27 victory against No. 2 Kiski Area (14-1) in the Section 1-AAA tournament at Kiski Area.

“Cutting down to 122 was real tough,” Medlang said. “But it was worth it, getting the school's first section title. I lost about 10 pounds. Now, we're eyeing a WPIAL title. It felt great beating these guys. We complete the lineup when I'm in there. It was great to contribute to the win.”

In the semifinals earlier, Franklin Regional defeated No. 6 Latrobe, 39-33, and Kiski Area downed No. 7 Greensburg Salem, 38-23.

Greensburg Salem took the third-place match, defeating Latrobe by criteria 8 (most first points) after the two Section 1-B squads battled to a 30-all deadlock.

When Kiski Area defeated Franklin Regional, 36-23, on Jan. 2, the Panthers were missing four starters. They had a full lineup Wednesday and that proved to be the difference.

Medlang defeated Ryan Hardaway, 10-4, at 120 pounds. Hardaway got a decision at 126 the first time and FR forfeited 120. Kemerer was back at 126 and got a technical fall victory.

“That was a nine-point swing,” Franklin Regional coach Eric Mausser said. “Connor worked his tail off to get back into the lineup, and we knew that could be a key match, and Max (Kubas) came up with another key win (at 138). He could start on 90 percent of the teams in the WPIAL other than ours. He's like a starter.”

But he and Dom Giannangeli are stuck behind talented wrestlers.

Franklin Regional won the first five bouts and raced to a 23-0 lead. Kyle Berk started with a pin at 113. Tyler Smith (132) got a pin and Kubas ended the run with a 6-1 victory against Jake Ardellitz at 138.

After Kiski Area senior Cole Landowski used a reversal with 18 seconds left to edge Josh Maruca at 145, a win by Brandon Yant (152) and a pin by Josh Shields (160) pushed the Panthers' lead to 32-3 and forced Kiski coach Chuck Tursky to adjust his lineup.

“We ran out of plans,” Tursky said. “Franklin Regional has a really nice team, and it won some keys bouts.”

Kiski Area got consecutive pins by Kyle Skelly (170), Tyler Worthing (182), Matt McCutcheon (195) and Shane Kuhn (220) to close to within 32-27, but Fleck (285) came up with a 2-1 overtime win to seal the victory.

Despite the loss, Tursky said he's looking for a good draw in the WPIAL tournament, which starts Monday.

Greensburg Salem (13-3) got pins from Austin Shaw (126), Zach Mattucci (145) and Zach Voytek (170) to defeat Latrobe (7-4) in the consolation match. The Golden Lions were without an injured Anthony Cable.

“We wrestled better against Kiski and Latrobe,” Greensburg Salem coach Randy Parsley said. “We got two nice wins from Daniel Walters and Raistlen Willett.”

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at pschofield@tribweb.com.

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