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Kiski Area braces for loaded Section 1-AAA team tournament

Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review - Franklin Regional's Josh Shields attempts to pin Kiski Area's Jake Ardelitz during their 152 pound bout during their dual meet at Franklin Regional on Jan. 03, 2014. Shileds won 20-5. Franklin Regional defeated Kiski Area 38-24.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Barry Reeger  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Franklin Regional's Josh Shields attempts to pin Kiski Area's Jake Ardelitz during their 152 pound bout during their dual meet at Franklin Regional on Jan. 03, 2014. Shileds won 20-5. Franklin Regional defeated Kiski Area 38-24.
Louis Raggiunti | The Herald - Corey Mahon takes to the mat to represent Fox Chapel.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Louis Raggiunti | The Herald</em></div>Corey Mahon takes to the mat to represent Fox Chapel.

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Corey Mahon

Fox Chapel, Senior

Claim to fame: Mahon (17-5) finished sixth at 152 pounds after a 4-0 loss to Allderdice's Cameron Jacobson at the Allegheny County tournament Saturday at Fox Chapel. Mahon also finished fifth at the Steve DeAugustino tournament in December.

“I think I'm doing pretty good this year so far,” Mahon said. “I need to work on some little things to get better.”

What are your college plans for next year?

I'm still undecided. I want to go to college and wrestle. I don't have a final list of schools, but I just want to stay in the Pittsburgh area.

You're one of five boys in your family. Who is the best at wrestling?

I have two older brothers that graduated and two younger brothers. My oldest brother was really good at wrestling but didn't wrestle in college. My other brother, Danny, wrestles for Waynesburg. I'm not really sure who would better.

Where do you feel better wrestling, 152 or 160?

I feel much better at 152. I didn't have to do much to get to 160. But at 152, I feel a little stronger and more of my weight.

What have you learned at All American in Latrobe?

I have gone since the beginning of the summer. I have learned a lot about technique, which is something I needed this year.

— Andrew John

Wrestling rankings

Class AAA

Rec. Pvs.

1. Franklin Regional 8-1 1

2. Latrobe 8-0 2

3. North Allegheny 8-0 3

4. Canon-McMillan 12-0 4

5. Kiski Area 13-1 5

6. Peters Township 8-1 7

7. Belle Vernon 10-2 8

8. Hempfield 4-1 9

9. Connellsville 15-4 6

10. Greensburg Salem 4-2 10

Class AA

1. South Fayette 15-0 1

2. Burrell 7-3 2

3. Jefferson-Morgan 10-2 3

4. Bentworth 4-1 4

5. Burgettstown 6-0 5

Class AAA individuals

106: 1. Devin Brown, Franklin Regional (11-0); 2. Gage Curry, North Hills (20-0); 3. Kris Distefanis, Hempfield, (15-6).

113: 1. Spencer Lee, Franklin Regional (23-0); 2. Chris Eddins, Greensburg Salem (17-6); 3. Ethan McCoy, Latrobe (18-5).

120: 1. Luke Pletcher, Latrobe (22-0); 2. Scotty Stossel, North Allegheny (14-3); 3. Ricky Cavallo, Hempfield (8-3).

126: 1. Dalton Macri, Canon-McMillan (25-2); 2. A. C. Headlee, Waynesburg (28-3); 3. Dom Forys, North Allegheny (21-2).

132: 1. Tyler Smith, Franklin Regional (15-0); 2. Sam Krivus, Hempfield (17-2); 3. Cameron Coy, Penn-Trafford (22-4).

138: 1. Michael Kemerer, Franklin Regional (19-1); 2. Vincenzo Joseph, Central Catholic (19-3); 3. Joey Alessandro, Hempfield (17-3).

145: 1. Solomon Chishko, Canon-McMillan (11-3); 2. Josh Maruca, Franklin Regional (16-3); 3. Jarod Verkleeren, Belle Vernon (6-1).

152: 1. Josh Shields, Franklin Regional (16-3); 2. Jake Shaffer, Latrobe (18-5); 3. Derek Verkleeren, Belle Vernon (20-4).

160: 1. Dom Scalise, Latrobe (17-4); 2. Devin Austin, Penn-Trafford (19-6); 3. Brendan Burnham, Pine-Richland (12-2);

170: 1. Noah Wilps, Chartiers Valley (12-1); 2. Devin Fallenstein, Ringgold (19-1); 3. Kyle Coniker, Central Catholic (14-3).

182: 1. Zack Zavatsky, Latrobe (20-0); 2. Kellan Stout, Mt. Lebanon (16-2); 3. Elliot King, North Hills (16-4).

195: 1. Ty Worthing, Kiski Area (22-1); 2. Drew Phipps, Norwin (6-0); 3. Cole Macek, Montour (12-0).

220: 1. Fred Mantsch, Hempfield (18-4); 2. Lynn Skundrich, North Allegheny (9-2); 3. Chad Kuhn, Kiski Area (24-3).

285: 1. Shane Kuhn, Kiski Area (23-1); 2. Zaynul Zaynullayev, Mt. Lebanon (16-3); 3. Benji Kane, Shaler (10-0).

Class AA individuals

106: 1. Dallas Bulsak, South Park (15-3); 2. Hunter Neely, Bentworth (16-3); 3. Cole Lambie, Southmoreland (18-6).

113: 1. Brendon Howard, Jefferson-Morgan (18-3); 2. Austin Griffiths, Southmoreland (18-2); 3. Austin McDermitt, Burgettstown (16-2).

120: 1. George Phillippi, Derry (21-4); 2. Josh Kurlock, Chartiers-Houston (15-2); 3. Kody Komara, Freedom (14-3).

126: 1. Patrick DeWitt, Valley (17-0); 2. Stone Kepple, Derry (19-5); 3. Mike Novak, Mt. Pleasant (9-3).

132: 1. John Demaske. Jefferson-Morgan (21-0); 2. Mike Carr, South Fayette (13-0); 3. Shane Gentry, South Side Beaver (9-1).

138: 1. Jake Wentzel, South Park (18-0); 2. Jason Miller, Jefferson-Morgan (17-1); 3. Shane Ging, South Fayette (14-5).

145: 1. Jason Nolf, Kittanning (26-0); 2. Nick Gavazzi, Charleroi (7-0); 3. Corey Falleroni, Burrell (15-4).

152: 1. Steven Edwards, Burrell (15-3); 2. Grant Fetchet, South Fayette (14-0); 3. Greg Bulsak, South Park (16-1).

160: 1. Jared Walker, South Fayette (14-0); 2. Ryan Zalar, Jefferson-Morgan (17-1); 3. Pete Provenzano, Chartiers-Houston (14-6).

170: 1. Bill Bowlen, Jefferson-Morgan (21-3); 2. Nick Pattock, Burrell (12-7); 3. Nico Brown, Beth-Center (15-6).

182: 1. Terrell Fields, Valley (14-1); 2. Dalton Wildman, West Greene (14-3); 3. Rausaun Culbertson, South Fayette (13-5).

195: 1. Marcus Davenport, Valley (15-3); 2. Zach Walker, South Fayette (12-1); 3. Jacob Robb, Kittanning (26-5).

220: 1. Jake Temple, Avella (16-0); 2. Josh Lind, Mt. Pleasant (17-8); 3. Tom Sever, Yough (15-4).

285: 1. Allan Beattie, Burrell (14-4); 2. Jake Beistel, Southmoreland (19-2); 3. Ian Wolfe, Jefferson-Morgan (18-4).

Pin Leaders

19: Gage Curry, North Hills; Shane Kuhn, Kiski Area

17: Jason Nolf, Kittanning

16: Mike Sinclair, Ellwood City

15: A.C. Headlee, Waynesburg; Zach Mattucci, Greensburg Salem; Jake Ardellitz, Kiski Area

— Paul Schofield

Top high school sports
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, 10:21 p.m.

Often with a grimace, Kiski Area wrestling coach Chris Heater admits this season's Section 1-AAA team tournament is a gauntlet.

Whether his Cavaliers will come out of Wednesday's tournament at Latrobe better off is, at least in Heater's mind, a bit of an uncertainty.

No matter their finish in the four-team event, the Cavaliers will qualify for the WPIAL Class AAA team tournament, which begins Monday. Their place in the section competition will influence their WPIAL seeding. Unfortunately for Kiski Area, the strength of Section 1's top four teams — Kiski Area, Franklin Regional, Latrobe, Hempfield — is unrivaled in Western Pennsylvania, so few bouts will allow the Cavaliers' coaches to breathe easy.

“You are going to come out of this battle-tested, and you are going to come out of this with matches that maybe some other teams from some of the other sections might not see until the quarter- or semifinals,” Heater said. “That's what we get right out of the gate. And it's good to be battle-tested, but you can get beat up in the process, too, and then the next week, you're maybe not in shape to go against somebody you should beat.”

Franklin Regional, which will wrestle Hempfield in one of the two semifinal-round dual meets, enters the Section 1 team tournament as a heavy favorite. The Panthers (8-1, 5-0), whose only loss came against national prep school powerhouse Wyoming Seminary, are ranked No. 9 nationwide by Intermat Wrestling and No. 8 by Flowrestling. They placed first in the team standings at the celebrated Powerade Christmas Tournament in December and cruised to another team championship at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament.

Kiski Area (13-1, 4-1) finished second behind Franklin Regional in Section 1-AAA subdivision A, as the Panthers beat the Cavaliers, 38-24, earlier this month. Latrobe (8-0, 5-0) took first in subdivision B, and Hempfield (4-1, 4-1) placed second.

The section tournament's semifinal matches begin at 6 p.m. The winners will wrestle for the title at 7:30 p.m., while the losers will determine who takes third.

How Latrobe and Kiski Area match up has been a topic of speculation for several weeks among Westmoreland County wrestling fans. Their performances at the WCCA tournament, though based on individual achievements rather than dual meet-style clashes, suggested their match Wednesday might go down to the wire: Kiski Area took second in the tournament with 187 points, and Latrobe placed third with 186.5.

Hempfield grabbed fifth in the WCCA event with 129.5 points.

“It's a different scenario in a tournament, but you do kind of get a gauge and see what their kids like to do,” Heater said. “You get an idea of who you'd like to get against them, which is the same thing they're trying to do against us.”

Collectively, the four teams possess a who's who of PIAA standouts. Franklin Regional features five returning state placewinners, including two champions, as well as freshman phenom 113-pounder Spencer Lee, who is regarded as the best wrestler in the country at his weight class. Latrobe's lineup includes returning state champ Luke Pletcher, now a 120-pounder, and Zack Zavatsky, a 182-pounder who placed third in the PIAA at 160 last season. Hempfield has returning state champ Sam Krivus, who won a title at 120 and now competes at 132. And heavyweight Shane Kuhn, who placed third in the PIAA last season, leads the way for Kiski Area.

After almost a month away from the team, coach Chuck Tursky has returned to lead the Cavaliers. Tursky, who underwent surgery in mid-December, trusted Heater, a longtime assistant, with control of the program while he recovered from his procedure.

“I'm loving life,” Tursky said. “I'm just glad to be back, and I'm feeling better — recovering every day and just enjoying everything I do.”

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

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