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Charleroi's Gavazzi posts 1st-day upset at PIAA wrestling

| Thursday, March 7, 2013, 10:30 p.m.
Blairsville's Noah Tarr (top) attempts to score on Williamson's Billy Barnes during their 145-lb match during the opening round at the PIAA Class AA Individual Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey on March 07, 2013. Tarr lost by a 7-6 decision. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Ligonier Valley's Joshua Patrick (top) scores a reversal on Schuylkill Valley's Josh Giorgio during their 120-lb match during the opening round at the PIAA Class AA Individual Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey on March 07, 2013. Patrick won by a 13-3 major decision. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Burrell's Steve Edwards (left) looks to score on Tri Valley's Hunter Harner during their 138-pound match during the opening round at the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling championships on Thursday, March 7, 2013, at Giant Center in Hershey. Edwards won by a 5-1 decision. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Charleroi Area's Nick Gavazzi (top) celebrates after pinning Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Todora during their 138-pound match during the opening round at the PIAA Class AA individual wrestling championships Thursday, March 7, 2013, at Giant Center in Hershey. (Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review)

HERSHEY ­— After he endured the first two losses of his season in one afternoon, Charleroi junior Nick Gavazzi left Johnstown last Saturday with the weight of a flawless record no longer on his shoulders.

A relieved Gavazzi arrived in Hershey for the PIAA Class AA Individual Championships, and that spelled trouble for Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Todora, Gavazzi's first-round opponent.

Gavazzi (35-2), the fifth-place finisher at 138 pounds in the Southwest Region, pulled off one of the day's biggest upsets when he pinned Todora, a returning state medalist and the Southeast Region's champion, in the second period Thursday at Giant Center.

“I'm back to myself,” said Gavazzi, a two-time WPIAL champion. “I think those losses were a good thing.”

Gavazzi, who went 1-2 in the PIAA tournament last season, will meet Line Mountain senior Seth Lansberry, a returning seventh-place state medalist at 132, in the quarterfinals beginning at 9 a.m. Friday.

“I'm just going and having fun,” Gavazzi said.

Gavazzi is one of 21 Class AA quarterfinalists from the WPIAL. Five teams — Burrell, Chartiers-Houston, Jefferson-Morgan, Kittanning and South Fayette — each advanced two.

Blairsville sophomores Andrew Doak (152) and Scott Thompson (182) won their opening-round bouts with one-point decisions.

Ligonier Valley brothers Justin and Josh Patrick both advanced for the second straight season.

Justin Patrick, a junior 113-pounder, toppled Warrior Run sophomore Eric Hunt, 9-2.

Justin Patrick will begin Friday with a quarterfinal-round bout against Boiling Springs sophomore Korbin Myers, a returning state finalist with a 42-1 season record.

Josh Patrick, a senior 120-pounder, defeated Schuylkill Valley sophomore Josh Giorgio, 13-3. to secure a quarterfinal bout against Wyalusing freshman Collin Edsell.

Derry's freshman star, 113-pounder George Phillippi, eased to a 9-0 win over Wilkes-Barre GAR junior A.J. Luton in his PIAA debut. He'll wrestle Redbank Valley junior Willie Gruver, the Northwest Region champion, in the quarterfinals.

“I was pretty nervous for my first match,” Phillippi said. “I talked to the previous state winners and they said, ‘Focus on the match at hand. Don't look ahead.' That was easy to do.”

Southmoreland sophomore 106-pounder Austin Griffiths will wrestle Palisades freshman Jacob Wasser, who upset Northeast Region champion Cameron Newman of Line Mountain, 10-4, in the first round.

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at wwest@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

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