Fallen champions eye Hershey after tough WPIAL losses
There was some damage control Saturday after the WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA Wrestling Championships.
A couple of coaches had to spend time with some of their wrestlers after they were upset in the finals.
Their message: “There is a bigger prize still available in Hershey.”
Hempfield junior Sam Krivus, and Franklin Regional senior Tyler Smith and junior Michael Kemerer were among wrestlers who were upset in the finals.
Krivus lost to Dalton Macri, 4-3, after the Canon-McMillan senior was awarded a takedown at the buzzer. Some observers felt the buzzer had sounded before Macri secured the winning points.
Hempfield coach Vince DeAugustine said the mat judge agreed with the head referee on the call.
“Sammy will be OK,” DeAugustine said. “Sure, he's a disappointed, but he still has a shot at defending his state title.”
Smith, also a returning PIAA champion, was stunned by his 5-2 loss to Penn-Trafford freshman Cameron Coy in the 132-pound finals. It was the fourth time Smith had finished second in the WPIAL.
While Kemerer lost to Vincenzo Joseph of Central Catholic, 5-2, in the 138-pound final, he too still has a shot at the prize that has eluded him the past two seasons. He's a two-time PIAA runner-up.
Kemerer had defeated Joseph, 3-2, for the WPIAL title two years ago.
Franklin Regional coach Eric Mausser said Smith and Kemerer will be focused to get to the top of the podium this weekend.
“They'll both work hard this week to achieve their goals,” Mausser said.
Coy (35-5), meanwhile, celebrated a hurdle with his victory. Coy previous had dropped close decisions to Smith and Krivus.
This time was different. Coy set the pace.
“Cameron has been close,” Penn-Trafford coach Rich Ginther said. “He knew he was right there with those guys. He had been hesitant to pull the trigger, so I told him he had nothing to lose. Go for broke.”
Ginther said Coy has a lot of heart.
“He's one of the smartest wrestlers I've seen on the mat,” Ginther said. “He doesn't panic and keeps his composure. When 98 percent of wrestlers are giving up points in tight situations, he doesn't.”
Earning a berth to the state tournament is tough coming out of the consolation rounds. It's even tougher when you lose in the first or second rounds.
Bethel Park junior Paul Dunn and Ringgold sophomore Doug Gudenburr didn't let early defeats end their dreams.
Dunn (33-9), pinned by Central Catholic senior John Cole in the first round, won five consecutive matches to earn a trip to Hershey. He pinned Cole in the consolation semifinals and then pinned Kiski Area's Jake Ardellitz for third place at 152 pounds.
Gudenburr (27-5) lost to Canon-McMillan's Brendan Price, 2-1, in the quarterfinals. But Gudenburr became the school's first sophomore to qualify for the state tournament with four consecutive pins.
Those wins included getting revenge against Connellsville junior Ethan Kenney, 5-2, in the consolation semifinals and Price, 3-1, in the finals. Kenney had beaten Gudenburr in the Section 2 finals.
“I'm excited to make states,” Gudenburr said. “Getting revenge against Kenney and Price was sweet.”