Wrestling notebook: Kiski Area's Worthing gets breakthrough win
At the Manheim Holiday Tournament last Saturday, Kiski Area sophomore Tyler Worthing received a fine post-Christmas present — a dose of vengeance.
Worthing won the tournament's 195-pound weight class title with a 4-2 victory in the finals over North Allegheny's Zach Smith, who beat Worthing the last three times the wrestlers met.
“He's a really funky wrestler, so you just have to stay in good position,” Worthing said. “It felt good to beat him. It was what I needed to do.”
Worthing lost twice — once by pinfall and once by a 5-4 decision — during the regular season as a freshman. He went on to place fourth in WPIAL Class AAA's 170-pound weight class, while Smith took fourth at 195.
The two met again at the season-opening Eastern Area tournament at Gateway Dec. 7, and Smith prevailed, 3-1, in overtime.
“The first time I wrestled him this year, I wasn't really myself,” Worthing said. “I was just thinking too much. I wasn't going out there and just wrestling my match.”
More often than not, Worthing, who improved to 15-1 this season, ends his matches with pinfalls. He has pinned eight of his 11 opponents — four wins were by forfeit — and beat another by technical fall.
Worthing went 31-11 with 17 pins as a freshman.
“I'm definitely known as a pinner,” he said. “But I'm trying to score more points and open them up, and then get the pin this year.”
While Worthing left with a championship, several teammates and the Cavaliers as a team came up just short of titles.
Kiski Area finished second at the tournament with 169.5 points, while North Allegheny took first with 179.
Senior 285-pounder Shane Kuhn endured a regular-season loss for the first time since his sophomore season, as he lost to J.W. Robinson (Va.) senior Jake Pinkston, 7-3, in the tournament finals. Kuhn (16-1), who pinned 12 of his previous 13 opponents, beat Pinkston, 4-2, last season in the tournament as part of a 40-match win streak. Pinkston, a three-time Virginia state finalist, went on to win his first state title, while Kuhn took third in PIAA Class AAA.
Other placewinners at the Manheim tournament included senior Jake Ardellitz (second at 152 pounds), freshman Joey Blumer (third at 120), sophomore Alex Delp (fourth at 182), freshman Vince Romano (fourth at 160), senior Ryan Hardaway (fifth at 126), junior Garrett Fitzsimmons (fifth at 145), junior Dakota Lange (fifth at 170), sophomore Chad Kuhn (fifth at 220), and freshman Matt Siszka (sixth at 106).
Matches to watch
A strong slate of local dual meets will kick off 2014.
On Friday, Kiski Area will travel to Franklin Regional for a Section 1-AAA subdivision A match between two WPIAL team title contenders. Franklin Regional placed first as a team at the presitigious Powerade Christmas Tournament last Saturday.
Valley will host a a six-team dual meet tournament that begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The Vikings' guests include Avella, Avonworth, Hampton, Summit Academy and South Fayette, which reached the WPIAL Class AA team tournament finals last season.
On Jan. 15, Valley and Burrell will square off in a match that likely will determine whether the Bucs claim their 11th consecutive section title.
Valley senior Terrell Fields and Blairsville junior Scott Thompson are no strangers to one another, and their latest run-in again ended in favor of Thompson.
Fields advanced to the 182-pound finals of the Southmoreland Christmas Tournament last Saturday and clashed with Thompson, who won, 11-8.
Thompson also beat Fields, 9-4, in the PIAA Southwest Regional tournament semifinals a season ago.
Two seasons ago, Fields topped Thompson with an overtime pin in the regional tournament semifinals. And Thompson beat Fields three times during the 2011-12 regular season.
Fields and Thompson might meet again next week at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament, which begins Jan. 10.