Hempfield, Greensburg Salem wrestlers benefit from Powerade competition
The Hempfield and Greensburg Salem wrestling teams took a break from their WPIAL schedules over the weekend to compete against some of the top talent from Western Pennsylvania and beyond.
Competing in the Powerade Wrestling Tournament, the premier high school wrestling tournament in Pennsylvania that attracts teams from across the state and the east coast, Hempfield finished eighth (106 points) while Greensburg Salem was 31st (38).
Considered the third-best tournament in the nation by Inermat, the event held at Canon-McMillan gives local wrestlers a unique chance to take the mat against athletes they normally would not get to face.
“That's why we go there,” Greensburg Salem coach Randy Parsley said. “We gotta let our kids see the better kids so they can realize that they're no different than they are. It's just what they do in the practice room or what they feel mentally. There's no difference.”
Hempfield was led by 132-pounder Sam Krivus and Fred Mantsch (220), a pair of juniors who each finished as runners-up in their weight classes.
One of the top 132-pounders in the nation, Krivus entered as his bracket's top seed before losing to Franklin Regional's Tyler Smith by a 7-0 decision.
“You expect him to get to the finals, but he didn't have the output in the finals that we were looking for,” Hempfield coach Vince DeAugustine said.
Meanwhile, Mantsch advanced to the championship match in impressive fashion after scoring a 9-8 decision over top-seeded Bo Spiller (Solanco) in the semifinals.
“It's a big learning experience, and for him, it's going to be nothing but positive for the postseason,” DeAugustine said.
But maybe the Spartans' best performance came from 138-pounder Joey Allesandro, who entered the tournament unseeded before defeating the fourth, fifth and sixth seeds on his way to a fifth-place finish.
“He had the best tournament I've ever seen him wrestle. … It's a huge confidence builder for him,” DeAugustine said.
Competing along with Mantsch in the 220-pound bracket was Greensburg Salem sophomore Derek Berberick.
The Golden Lions' top finisher over the weekend, Berberick finished in eighth place after dropping a 5-2 decision to Cedar Cliff's Austin Shires.
“He did a good job,” Parsley said. “He's been doing a great job all year.”
While Greensburg Salem was limited to only 10 wrestlers in the tournament, the team had several bright spots, such as Berberick and 132-pound junior Austin Shaw, who picked up a couple of early wins.
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.