Connellsville's Ethan Kenney qualifies for PIAA semifinals
HERSHEY — Connellsville assistant wrestling coach Mick Lilly said senior Ethan Kenney usually wrestles better the third day of the tournament.
If that's the case, Kenney (32-6) may finally reach his ultimate goal — becoming Connellsville's 14th state champion.
Kenney reached the semifinals for the first time at the PIAA Class AAA championships Friday at the Giant Center, holding on to defeat Clearfield senior Christian Stone, 6-5. Kenney will face Cumberland Valley sophomore Patrick Duggan (37-2) in the semifinals, scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday.
“I was able to take advantage a couple poor shots by him in the first period to build a 6-3 lead,” Kenney said. “He learned from his mistakes and was able to keep the match close. I've wrestled him two other times and both were boring 1-0, 2-1 matches.
“I still haven't wrestled to my ability, but Friday was definitely better than Thursday. I won't be satisfied until I reach my goal of winning a state title.”
Southmoreland sophomore Austin Griffiths earned his second medal and will wrestle for fifth place in Saturday's medal rounds.
He fell into the consolation round when he dropped a 4-2 decision to Palisades freshman Jacob Wasser on Friday.
Griffiths won two consolation matches, defeating Lancaster Catholic's Joe Lobeck, 2-0, and Bishop McDevitt's Tyshawn White, 5-2.
But he lost his chance at finishing third for the second consecutive season when he fell to Huntingdon freshman Collin Glorioso, 6-0.
The 6,106 fans who attended the PIAA Class AAA wrestling championships witnessed WPIAL domination.
Of the 28 quarterfinalists from District 7 (WPIAL), 23 advanced to the semifinals. Thirty-one of the 42 WPIAL wrestlers who reached the state championships will return with PIAA top-eight medals.
Keystone Oaks senior Nick Zanetta will wrestle Kittanning junior Jason Nolf for the 132-pound title in the PIAA Class AA finals beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Zanetta lost to Nolf in the Section 3, WPIAL and Southwest Regionals this season — each margin of defeat was three points or fewer.
He gets one more chance to change the outcome before he heads off to Pitt to wrestle for the Panthers.
In a rematch of the WPIAL championship, Derry freshman George Phillippi and South Fayette senior Seth Carr will wrestle for the PIAA crown at 113.
Other Class AA finalists from the WPIAL are Burrell senior Dakota DesLauriers (182 pounds), who beat Saegertown sophomore Dylan Reynolds, 9-1, to earn his second straight title bout bid; and Chartiers-Houston senior Garrett Vulcano (195), who topped senior Adam Geigner of District 3's Trinity, 5-2.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.