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Bentworth wrestlers advance

| Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Even though he was facing a much higher seed, Bentworth senior Matt Vickless was not deterred from wrestling his type of match.

Vickless, the No. 12 seed at 126 pounds, was able to outlast Burrell freshman Anthony Marra by a 4-3 decision Friday in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Class AA Individual Wrestling tournament at Chartiers Valley.

Marra entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed at 126.

Vickless (28-7), who defeated Chartiers-Houston junior Ben Hritsko by a 3-1 decision in the first round, came into his match against Marra (26-14) with a game plan and knew Marra's tendency and wrestling style.

“It was a tough match. I knew he was good on top. I watched his prior match and I knew he liked tilts ... so I kept looking for that stuff,” Vickless said. “My coach told me to go neutral, so in the second period, I was able to get another take down and that kind of sealed the match for me.”

Even though he finished fourth last weekend at the Section 2 AA individual wrestling tournament, Vickless felt he was more prepared to face Marra and wrestled with no pressure.

“I finished fourth at sections so coming in as the 12th seed and going against the fourth seed looked like an upset. I feel like I had a tougher section and I feel like I could beat him on a normal day,” Vickless said. “I had nothing to lose. I was able to come in and wrestle my best and try to get into the top seven.”

Vickless, who will face the first-seed Jefferson-Morgan's John Demaske (36-0) in the semifinals.

“We were pretty sure we were in the right part of the bracket there. We had a shot to beat that kid right there,” Bentworth coach Mike Shrader said. “We have seen him wrestle before. We knew we had a good chance to win that match.”

Even though Vickless scored one of the night's bigger surprises, Bentworth's coach was pleased to see all his wrestlers survive and move onto the next day. The two-day tournament reconvenes at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

Also for the Bearcats, top-seeded sophomore Hunter Neely (29-3) moved onto the semifinals at 106 pounds after defeating Ellwood City freshman Tyler Alberts (24-11) by technical fall, 18-2.

Senior Jake Rothka (26-9) was able to defeat South Allegheny's Justo Hernandez (24-10) in the quarterfinals by a 3-0 decision at the 120-pound weight class.

At 170 pounds, senior Paul Mizia (16-10) was pinned at 2:35 by Laurel senior Dalton Rosta (22-2) in the quarterfinal. Mizia will have to travel through the consolation bracket in order to end up on the podium on the second day.

“We are where we thought we would be. All nine kids are moving on to tomorrow,” Shrader said. “Matt was a little bit of an upset ... we thought we had a shot at 170 but it kind of got away from us there.”

Along with Mizia, Bentworth will have Chad Gurdish (113), Ty Mitchell (132), George Liberatore (138), Ethan Tush (160) and Mason Shumaker (285) battling through the consolation bracket.

For Yough, junior Clay Waldron (26-11) advanced to the semifinals in the 182-pound weight class by a 6-2, overtime decision over South Side Beaver junior Austin Boone (18-10), the No. 4 seed.

Waldrone will be joined by teammate, junior Tom Sever (30-5), after he defeated Ellwood City junior Mike Sinclair (30-6) by a 3-2 decision. Sever is the No. 3 seed at 220 pounds.

Yough will also have Zach Charles (113), Teddy Charletta (132), Lucas Richardson (170) and Jerry Koza (195) wrestling Saturday in the consolation bracket.

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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