Connellsville making 35th straight WPIAL tourney appearance
By Paul Schofield
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, 11:12 p.m.
There is one thing you can count on when the WPIAL team wrestling tournament is held in the winter: Connellsville will be in the bracket.
Since the WPIAL began the team tournament in 1979, Connellsville has qualified all 35 times. It also has been in the WPIAL finals 13 times and has seven titles.
Connellsville (18-2) is seeded fourth in the Class AAA tournament, which began Monday with four preliminary-round matches.
The Falcons earned a home match in the first and quarterfinal rounds by winning the Section 2 tournament last week. Connellsville will wrestle Hempfield (10-3) at 6 p.m. Wednesday. A win puts them in the quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. against the winner of the Kiski Area-McGuffey match.
“It's an honor to be the only team to qualify for the tournament every year,” Connellsville coach Tommy Dolde said. “There is something to be said of consistency. When you run a program, you don't compromise your ideals. Tradition never graduates.
“We've run the same program since my dad (Tom) began the program. The Junior Olympic and junior high programs have run the same, and nothing changes at the high school level. The Junior Olympic program continues to pump out outstanding talent.”
Connellsville's rotating lineup consists of three freshmen, eight sophomores and five seniors, and there are 17 sophomores.
The seniors are Ethan Kenney (138 pounds), a two-time PIAA placewinner and a WPIAL champion as a freshman, John Berardinelli (113), Tyler Steele (145), Shawn Dewitt (152) and Dylan Miller (220).
“We're still a year away,” Dolde said. “We have some talented kids who can't break into the lineup.”
Connellsville will be tested by a tough Hempfield squad. The Spartans wrestled Monday and defeated Hopewell, 46-28. The Spartans won the final six matches to rally for the win.
“Connellsville always has a solid lineup,” Hempfield coach Vince DeAugustine said. “I've never seen a weak Connellsville team. It's always good to wrestle them, they always battled you. Nothing comes easy.”
DeAugustine said keeping the match close in the upper weights Monday was the key. Anthony Lavella (160 pounds) trailed 7-1 in his match and came back with a pin.
“That was a big win,” DeAugustine said. “I knew starting at 145 we'd fall behind. We're definitely stronger in the lightweights.”
Ricky Cavallo (113), Sam Krivus (120), Joey Allessandro (132), Sean Lavella (138), Jesse Giallonardo (145) and Dom Nania (170) have been the Spartans' big guns.
Canon-McMillan, the returning WPIAL and PIAA champion, is seeded No. 1. Franklin Regional is No. 2 and North Allegheny is third. Canon-McMillan has won eight WPIAL titles, including the past three.
Franklin Regional earned its first section title by defeating Kiski Area last week. The Cavaliers will play host to North Hills. Belle Vernon and Latrobe also will tangle at Franklin Regional.
Greensburg Salem will head to North Allegheny to face Butler, while the Tigers will host Mt. Lebanon.
In Class AA, Burrell (No. 1), Chartiers-Houston (No. 4), Jefferson-Morgan (No. 3) and South Fayette (No. 2) will host matches. Burrell has won eight WPIAL titles, including the past six.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.