Franklin Regional, Canon-McMillan advance to PIAA quarterfinals
HERSHEY — The Franklin Regional wrestlers didn't look nervous Thursday during the first round of the PIAA Class AAA team tournament at Giant Center.
In fact, the WPIAL runners-up wrestled like they've been here before even though it was the Panthers' first trip to the state tournament.
Franklin Regional (20-3) overwhelmed District 4 champion Jersey Shore (11-5), rolling to a 54-15 victory. The Panthers will face Owen J. Roberts, the District 1 champion in the quarterfinals Friday at 2 p.m.
WPIAL Class AAA champion Canon-McMillan (16-0) also won Thursday, as the returning PIAA champion defeated District 3 third-place team Spring Grove, 42-22.
Franklin Regional showed its depth in defeating Jersey Shore. With starters Connor Medlang (120 pounds) and Michael Kemerer (126) out, the Panthers' replacements filled in well.
Dom Giannangeli won a decision at 126, Max Kubas picked up a technical fall at 138 and Jake Pickup won a major decision at 195. The Panthers also got pins from Kyle Berk (113), Josh Maruca (145), Josh Shields (152) and Luke Fleck (285). Kemerer missed the match with the flu.
“Dom did another great job with Mike out,” Franklin Regional coach Eric Mausser said. “I thought we matched up well against them.
“We were ready. We talked about not being satisfied making it to states. We're looking to place and make it to the semifinals.”
Berk dominated his match, recording a second-period pin.
“We had a lot of confidence in ourselves, and we were ready for the first match,” Berk said.
In the evening match, Canon-McMillan was clinging to a 9-6 lead through three matches, but 195-pounder Steve LaFrance, trailing 2-1 late in the third period, started the Big Macs on a roll when he pinned Andy Melhorn at 5:48.
Canon-McMillan will wrestle Erie McDowell — the team it defeated in the state finals last year — in the quarterfinals. The Big Macs picked up two pins from Alex Campbell and Angelo Broglia and a major decision from Brendon Price to open a 24-6 lead.
North Allegheny (17-4) drew a tough assignment in the Class AAA opening round. The Tigers won only four bouts and fell, 40-14, to District 3 champion Central Dauphin (22-0).
“We got the matchups we wanted, we just didn't execute,” North Allegheny coach Jamie Kyriazis said. “They took it to us in any of the swing matches that I thought we could win. They are the better team, and they came after us.”
Kyriazis hopes the team bounces back in the consolation rounds. The Tigers won three consecutive consolation matches last year before being eliminated.
It wasn't a good day for the two WPIAL Class AA teams — Burrell and South Fayette.
Burrell, the WPIAL champion, was beaten by Bermudian Springs, the District 3 runner-up, 34-29; and WPIAL runner-up South Fayette dropped a 33-26 match to District 6 champion West Branch. Both WPIAL teams were missing a starter.
John Andrejcik had a skin rash and wasn't cleared to wrestle for Burrell, while Michael Carr of South Fayette was injured in practice earlier in the week and is day-to-day.
“We didn't win any of the close matches,” Burrell coach Bud Sines said.
Burrell only won six matches and three were by forfeit. Bermudian Springs won the first four bouts.
South Fayette and West Branch each won seven matches, but four of the West Branch wins were pins.
Despite giving up the falls, a pin by South Fayette's Zach Walker (220) gave the Lions a 26-24 lead with two matches left. West Branch won the final two, including a 3-0 win by Dustin Deliman over Jasper Wolfe in the final bout.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.