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Quaker Valley youth wrestling wins conference championship in 1st season

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Members of the Quaker Valley wrestling team celebrate their championship earlier this month at their newly renovated practice facility at the Sewickley Community Center.
Members of the Quaker Valley wrestling team celebrate their championship earlier this month at their newly renovated practice facility at the Sewickley Community Center.

Quaker Valley's youth wrestling team, in only its first year of existence, won the Western Athletic Wrestling Association Conference championship at Aliquippa High School on Feb. 23. The WAWA Conference includes 22 teams from Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

Quaker Valley wrestling has 42 wrestlers between ages 5 and 12, but only three -- John Rocco Kazalas, Jack Kazalas and Justin Richey -- with any prior experience.

Quaker Valley won the WAWA championship based on a percentage of the total amount of points scored by the team versus the number of wrestlers that entered the tournament. Points were awarded for each wrestler that placed.

“With this unprecedented championship, we have laid the foundation for a fantastic future for our program and the future of wrestling in Quaker Valley for years to come,” head coach Jason Richey said. “I do not think any of us expected this much success so quickly. I am very proud of the boys for all of their hard work and effort.”

Quaker Valley entered 15 wrestlers into the WAWA Open and nine placed.

Champions included John Rocco Kazalas, Elijah Faulkner, Tommaso Floro and Jack Diemert.

Marcus Richey was a runner-up.

Taking third were Justin Richey, Christian Brown and Mason Diemert.

Jack Kenneweg, Jack Kazalas and Braeden Steffey placed fourth.

Several QV wrestlers also competed in the novice division.

Luke Flowers and Jakub Pickett won titles; Evan Davidson and Weston Grant finished second, and Sean Merriman and Owen Petronick placed third.

The QV WAWA Championship was led by the four Quaker Valley WAWA Open champions.

• John Rocco Kazalas, 12, is a team captain who wrestles at 80 pounds. He is 35-9 this season and had one of the most anticipated matches of the WAWA tournament. In the final, he wrestled Peyton Hall of Oak Glen, W.Va., the second ranked wrestler in the state. Kazalas mounted an early 6-0 lead and held on to win, 6-4.

“John Rocco is our leader and someone I hope we can build a Quaker Valley junior and senior high team around,” Coach Richey said. “I am optimistic that John Rocco will have a chance to place in the Pennsylvania State Championship this year.”

• Elijah Faulkner, 6, competes at 50 pounds. He has a 59-7 record and at one point won seven tournaments in a row. Faulkner easily defeated all four opponents in the WAWA Open tournament.

“I think Elijah is the best 6-year-old wrestler in Western Pennsylvania. I would put him up against anyone,” Coach Richey said.

• Tomasso Floro, 8, wrestles at 85 pounds and is 30-7 this year. He easily defeated all of his opponents to take the WAWA Championship.

“The sky is the limit for Tommaso,” Coach Richey said. “When he wrestlers someone his own size, he will win.”

• Jack Diemert, 6, wrestles at 45 pounds and is 25-5 on the year. Diemert won a number of difficult and highly-energized matches to take the championship.

“I expect Jack to be a dominant wrestler for QV wrestling for many years to come,” Coach Richey said. “He is a naturally aggressive wrestler and a pleasure to coach.”

For more information on Quaker Valley wrestling, visit

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