High school wrestling notebook: WPIAL well represented at PIAA championships
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Hampton senior Jake Hart did a backflip, Canon-McMillan senior Cody Wiercioch held up three fingers and Franklin Regional junior Tyler Smith pumped his fists.
Those were just some of the reactions after 10 WPIAL wrestlers celebrated state titles at the PIAA championships Saturday at Giant Center in Hershey.
Seven Class AAA wrestlers and three in Class AA stood atop the podium. Six others placed second, and five lost to WPIAL winners.
The WPIAL had 42 wrestlers entered in the tournament and 31 returned with medals. Of the 34 Class AA qualifiers, 20 placed.
The Southcentral Region was next with 29 medalists, but it had 56 qualifiers.
“When I wrestled (1980s), District 11 dominated,” Latrobe coach Tad Harbert said. “That has shifted to the WPIAL, and that was proven this weekend. That trend should continue.”
Also, at 120 and 126 pounds, the WPIAL finished 1-2-3, which is rare.
Hempfield sophomore Sam Krivus defeated Canon-McMillan junior Dalton Macri in the 120-pound final, and Central Catholic sophomore Vincenzo Joseph ended up third. Canon-McMillan senior Connor Schram won the 126-pound title by defeating Franklin Regional sophomore Michael Kemerer, and North Hills senior Tyler Walker placed third.
The other state champions in Class AAA were Latrobe freshman Luke Pletcher (106) and Canon-McMillan junior Solomon Chishko (145). The Class AA champions were Derry freshman George Phillippi (113), Kittanning junior Jason Nolf and Burrell senior Dakota DesLauriers (182).
Keystone Oaks senior 132-pounder Nick Zanetta wanted first place when he wrestled Kittanning junior Jason Nolf for a fourth time in as many weeks during the PIAA Class AA finals. He lost, 4-2, but he still found a sign of progress.
“That was my first takedown in four matches against him,” said Zanetta, who led, 2-0, early in the first period. “I knew once I took him down, I had to work even harder to keep him there. Like I said, it's the state finals, so a takedown isn't going to be handed to you.”
Zanetta allowed an escape soon afterward and fell behind, 3-2, when Nolf scored a takedown just before the first period ended. Down by two after two periods, Zanetta chose the bottom position rather than neutral, a decision he made after consulting with his coach (and brother), J.J. Zanetta. He hoped to earn an escape early and then score a takedown late rather than start on his feet, get two points, and then ride to get a lead or at least force overtime, he explained.
Nolf rode the entire two minutes.
“You have a game plan, and you've just got to stick to it,” Zanetta said. “I definitely need to work harder during the offseason on underneath.”
The WPIAL provided three of the PIAA's 10 undefeated champions. Kittanning's Nolf (45-0) and Burrell's DesLauriers (36-0) were among the seven from Class AA. And Chishko (11-0), who missed almost the entire season with an elbow injury, was one of three in Class AAA.
Nolf's win total ranked second highest among the 10. Only Benton senior 138-pounder Zain Retherford (47-0) accumulated more.
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.
- Class AAA Kiski Area wrestling team uses five pins to knock off Class AA power Burrell
- Hustle from young team could pay off for Elizabeth Forward wrestling