North Allegheny's Forys captures another Allegheny County title
By Bill West
Published: Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 9:36 p.m.
More than a dozen North Allegheny wrestlers have won titles at the Allegheny County Wrestling Championships since the tournament's creation in 2002, but Dom Forys surpasses all Tigers in terms of familiarity with the top spot on Fox Chapel High School's medal stand.
Forys entered rarified air for Allegheny County wrestling Saturday, as he became the third wrestler in tournament history to claim four titles. The senior 126-pounder cruised his way to the finals, where he defeated Thomas Jefferson's Braden Flinn, 22-5.
Allegheny County's other four-time champions are Plum's Sean Clair (2002-05) and Shaler's Nick Nelson (2004-07).
“I'm just trying to score points out there, have fun and put on a show for the crowd,” Forys said. “Ever since freshman year, I've just been pushing it to the limit and trying to push it more than the guy out there. I know he's tired, and I'm tired, so it's just who wants it more and who pushes through it.”
Forys' tournament performance — three technical falls and two pins — earned him the Outstanding Wrestler award, and it contributed to North Allegheny's dominant showing in the team standings, where the Tigers took first with 2431⁄2 points, 601⁄2 better than second-place Mt. Lebanon.
North Allegheny had three champions: Forys; Luke Landefeld, who won at 113 pounds; and Layne Skundrich, the 220-pound champ.
They also had two finalists: Jake Hinkson (132 pounds), who reached the title bout as an unseeded wrestler; and top-seeded Zach Smith (195).
The team title was North Allegheny's fourth.
“I'm excited for team sections and team WPIALs; the most fun time of the year is coming up soon,” Forys said.
While North Allegheny affirmed its powerhouse reputation, two less-heralded teams celebrated individual champions.
Penn Hills, a Class AAA program with 12 wrestlers this season, watched as junior Te'Shan Campbell battled through a loaded 160-pound weight class as the No. 4 seed and took the title with a 7-1 win over defending champion Jonathan Avon of North Hills.
Campbell, who placed fifth in the county at 160 pounds a season ago, prevailed in a bracket that also included Pine-Richland's Brendan Burnham, a 2013 PIAA Class AAA placewinner, and South Fayette's J.J. Walker, a 2013 PIAA Class AA placewinner.
“The athletic director (John Peterman), he's always talking about wrestling and saying that I could put Penn Hills wrestling back on the map and get my name out there,” Campbell said. “I've got the talent and everything; I just have to get that in my head. And I'm starting to believe it now, and I'm coming out wrestling better.”
Campbell is Penn Hills' fourth county champion.
“I haven't won a high school tournament since I've been in high school,” he said. “This is a good one to start off with.”
Senior 195-pounder Cole Macek ended Montour's title drought, as he toppled North Allegheny's Smith, 11-4, in the finals. His tournament also included two first-period pins, a 20-5 technical fall in the quarterfinals and a 12-1 major decision in the semifinals.
“(Coaches and teammates) didn't want to put too much pressure on me, but I knew what was at stake, and so did they,” said Macek, a four-time county placewinner and two-time finalist. “The cardio has really been my downfall the last couple years; I hadn't been able to pull matches out in the third period. And this year, I just feel way different.”
Aside from Forys, other repeat champions included North Hills' Gage Curry (106), who had five pins; Central Catholic's Kyle Coniker (170), who finished the tournament with two pins, a technical fall, a major decision and a 5-0 win in the title bout; and Central Catholic's Vincenzo Joseph (138), who won a title two seasons ago but lost to Forys in the finals last year.
Prior to this tournament, Mt. Lebanon never had placed better than sixth as a team, and it cracked the top 10 just twice. Kellan Stout (182) and Zeynul Zaynullayev (285) won championships for the Blue Devils, and Kevin Kinyua (120) took second.
South Fayette, led by 132-pound champ Mike Carr and 152-pound finalist Grant Fetchet, topped all Class AA programs with a third-place finish. Plum and North Hills rounded out the top five.
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.
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