Mt. Pleasant freshmen Luke Geibig and Dayton Pitzer wrestled like veterans in their first Section 3-AA tournament Friday at Canon-McMillan.
They both captured their first section title with impressive decision wins.
Geibig downed Derry senior Kace Sabedra, 6-2, to win the 106-pound title. Geibig, who was pinned by Sabedra during the regular season when he moved up to 113 pounds to get a match, changed his approach.
He took control of the match with two first-period takedowns. He added a third takedown in the third period.
He also denied Sabedra his 100th-career win.
“He’ll get it (Saturday),” Geibig said. “That pin against me motivated me to work harder.
“I learned I had to be mentally prepared for every match. I thought I was getting a forfeit, and I wasn’t prepared (in the first bout). I took 30 minutes to warm up and prepare for this match.”
Geibig (26-9) received a first-round bye and a second seed in the WPIAL tournament, which began Friday night and will continue Saturday. The top seed is South Park sophomore Joey Fisher (28-0).
Sabedra (20-13) also received a first-round bye after he was seeded No. 4.
Pitzer, who is No. 1 in Trib HSSN rankings in Class AA, won the 182-pound title with a dominating 9-2 win against Burrell junior Ricky Feroce.
He received the top seed for the WPIAL tournament with a 32-1 record.
Pitzer used four takedowns and an escape to win the match. The 6-foot-1 freshman used his length to his advantage.
“Winning the section title means a lot,” Pitzer said. “I’m wrestling with a lot of confidence, and I feel ready to face some tough competition on Saturday.”
Ellwood City junior Austin Walley is seeded No. 2 for the WPIAL tournament after he defeated Freedom senior Bryson Miller in the Section 2 finals, 3-2. It was the third time this season Walley defeated Miller.
Walley (28-1) has beaten everybody he’s faced except for Pitzer, who defeated Walley, 9-6, in the Southmoreland tournament finals in December.
Pitzer’s lone loss was to Belle Vernon’s Scott Joll, West Virginia recruit, in the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association finals in early January. Pitzer beat Joll two weeks ago at the Penn-Trafford Warriors Ultimate Challenge.
“I’m excited to wrestle Austin again,” Pitzer said. “It will be fun. I’ve never wrestler Miller before. I don’t care where they are. It doesn’t matter to me; I could be the last seed.”
Miller is a two-time WPIAL champion after winning the 195-pound title the past two seasons.
But he dropped to 182 pounds this season and is seeded No. 4 with a 21-6 record. West Greene junior Kolin Walker was seeded third at 16-6.
Pitzer said he’s not really surprised how well he’s wrestled this season. He was a two-time Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling champion and credits his coaches at Mt. Pleasant and at All-American for helping him develop.
Derry ended up with three Section 3-AA champions Friday night — Ty Cymmerman (126), Jason Baker (132) and Dom DeLuca (220). Southmoreland’s lone section champion was junior Brett Huffman (195).
Derry senior Trey Weinell picked up his 100th career win in the preliminary round of the WPIAL tournament Friday night.
Burrell had a rough session in the Section 3 finals. The Bucs had nine wrestlers reach the championship match, but only sophomores Ian Oswalt (120) and A.J. Corrado (138) came away with titles.
One of the biggest stories from the first day of the tournament was Beth-Center senior Dom Fundy, who injured his knee in the Section 1 195-pound final.
He was placed in the WPIAL bracket, but defaulted in the first round. It’s unsure if he’ll return for Day 2 of the tournament and wrestle.
Action resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday with the quarterfinals. The semifinals are scheduled for 12:20 p.m., and the finals will be held at 5.