North Allegheny wrestlers working to qualify for 3rd straight PIAA tourney
TribLIVE Sports Videos
North Allegheny wrestlers certainly have their work cut out for them.
After reaching the PIAA Class AAA tournament the past two seasons, it was clear from the start what this season's goal would be.
“We always talk about individual and team goals, and that was a team goal, to go to states for the third year in a row,” coach Jamie Kyriazis said. “One thing I think this team does is not take it for granted that just because we qualified for states last year, we're going to qualify again this year. Once you taste that success, you're going to want to go after it.”
The Tigers are 4-0 overall and lead Class AAA, Section 3-A at 3-0, with wins over Seneca Valley, 55-9, Knoch, 67-10, and Butler, 46-16.
The real tests will come in the WPIAL tournament against teams like Latrobe, Canon-McMillan and top-ranked Franklin Regional.
For North Allegheny — or anyone else in the WPIAL — to overcome the odds and defeat Franklin Regional, just about everything would have to align, Kyriazis said.
This year, not only does a run at a WPIAL title seem more difficult, but returning to states will be a challenge. Kiski Area, Connellsville and Peters Township also have a shot at states.
“You want to win,” said Kyriazis, whose team lost to Franklin Regional, 28-27, in the WPIAL semifinals last year before defeating Kiski Area, 44-20, in the consolation match.
“Obviously, you want to say that you want to win a WPIAL title, but you also have your sight on the fact that the top three teams go to states, and there are probably six teams making a run at it.
“Obviously, you have some very good teams staying at home.”
If the Tigers reach their goal, it will have a lot to do with underclassmen contributions, particularly the freshmen.
“We knew the freshman class coming up was going to be strong,” said senior Scotty Stossel, who is 11-2 at 120 pounds. “Nothing was really a big surprise. They're just a bunch of hard workers.”
Whether the team is with them, Stossel and fellow senior Dom Forys have their sights set on a trip to states as individuals.
Forys is now 17-2 this year and has a chance to break Rob Waltko's school wins record of 150. He enters this week's action with a career record of 138-19.
After placing fifth last year and third as a sophomore, Forys is hoping for nothing less than a PIAA title at 126 pounds.
Although Stossel has yet to reach the state tournament, moving from 106 to 120 pounds has led to his best season yet.
“I feel more confident than ever at my weight,” Stossel said. “Last year, I was always tired trying to make 106. This year, I'm still counting my weight, but not as much, and I feel great when I wrestle.”
Other Tigers with double-digit victories include junior Clay Byerly (11-4 at 182), freshman Luke Landefeld (11-4 at 113) and junior Zach Smith (12-4 at 195).
In addition to Landefeld, freshmen Will Baierl (132), AJ Boeh (132), Jake Hinkson (132), Zack Stedeford (106), Sean Hoover and Jake Woodley (160) have contributed.
North Allegheny was at its best over the holiday break, when it won the Manheim Tournament, edging Kiski Area, 179-169.5.
Stossel and Forys each took first place, and Landefeld, Boeh, Blynn Shideler (152), Colton Byerly (170), Clay Byerly, Zach Smith (195) and Layne Skundrich (220) were top-six medalists.
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.