5 Belle Vernon Area wrestlers reach semifinals

| Saturday, March 1, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

For Belle Vernon senior Brendan Hasson, it's all about believing.

Hasson had never advanced past the quarterfinals in the Class AAA WPIAL/PIAA Southwest Regional Championships, until this year.

Hasson posted a 5-2 decision over Canon-McMillan's Matt Oblock in Friday's 120-pound quarterfinals, earning the right to compete in Saturday's semifinal round. The quarterfinal victory puts Hasson one win away from a shot at a regional title and a guaranteed berth in the PIAA Championships next week in Hershey.

“It's a huge deal for me because I've never made it to the semifinals before,” Hasson said.

Hasson certainly had the confidence he could do it, considering his past history with Oblock. Hasson noted he was able to defeat his opponent at the Powerade Tournament as well as this year's team playoffs.

“I beat him twice before, and I felt like I could do it again,” Hasson said.

Hasson will wrestle Waynesburg's Shaun Wilson in the semifinals.

“I just want to wrestle my match and believe I can win,” Hasson said.

Hasson will have plenty of teammates joining him in the semifinals as Jarod Verkleeren (145), Derek Verkleeren (152), Austin Bell (160) and Milton Kobaly (170) all came up with quarterfinal victories.

Jarod Verkleeren will take on Franklin Regional's Josh Maruca, and Derek Verkleeren will battle Latrobe's Jake Shaffer. Bell is set for a semifinal showdown with Waynesburg's Colin McCracken, and Kobaly will square off with top-seeded Noah Wilps of Chartiers Valley.

The Leopards' Tyler Seliga (113), Mitchell Hartman (126) and Pat Mayernik (220) fell in the quarterfinals and will have to fight their way through the consolation bracket. Jacob Dunlop (106) remained alive in the tournament with a consolation victory. William Korber (195) suffered a consolation loss and was eliminated.

Ringgold's Devin Fallenstein (170) had a strong showing, scoring an 8-0 major decision over Upper St. Clair's Eli Grape in the quarterfinals. Fallenstein will meet Central Catholic's Kyle Coniker in the semifinals. The Rams' Doug Gudenburr (113) dropped a quarterfinal decision and will wrestle in the second round of consolations. Kenny Tarpley (132) and Brandon Heinzelman (152) each kept their seasons alive with consolation victories.

Ringgold's Jake Gerard (138) and Elizabeth Forward's Colt Belardia (182) were each eliminated with consolation losses.

Second-round consolations will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by the semifinals at noon. The consolation finals are set for 5:30 p.m., followed by the championship bouts at 7 p.m.

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