The WPIAL team championships may have had the same results for the 3rd year in a row, with Burrell winning the AA and Canon McMillan winning the AAA WPIAL title (in addition to the Big Macs winning the PIAA Championship). The individuals certainly did not disappoint, with the WPIAL bringing home 6 individuals state championships plus the City League claiming its first ever gold medal. Overall the WPIAL had 47 state medallists, including 30 from AAA and 17 from AA.
2011-2012 MSA Sports Outstanding Wrestler
126 – Jimmy Gulibon, Derry, Senior, 25-1, 136-4
Gulibon made history in his senior season by becoming the 22nd wrestler in history to win 4 WPIAL Championships and the 10th wrestler in history to win 4 PIAA Championships. He won both titles as well as a 4th Southwest Regional Championship by beating the same wrestler, Nick Zanetta of Keystone Oaks, in 3 straight weeks. In the state final, Gulibon beat Zanetta 9-3, to cap a remarkable high school career. Gulibon was able to make history but it wasn’t without trial and tribulation. He put a scare to many folks as he limped off the mat following his victory to win his 4th Powerade Championship with a knee injury. After missing over a month of the season with intense rehab, Gulibon returned stronger than ever. He will wrestle for the PA team at the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic against team USA. Gulibon will start a new chapter in his life next fall as he takes the mat for the Penn State Nittany Lions.
2011-2012 MSA Sports Fabulous Fourteen
106 – Michael Kemerer, Franklin Regional, Freshman, 39-1, 39-1
Kemerer got on the radar of a lot of high school coaches and wrestlers at Christmas time after winning the Powerade Tournament at 113 pounds. From that point he never looked back, rattling off win after win. Kemerer would drop to 106 pounds for the individual postseason and was the Champion of a talented Section 1 and WPIAL 106 pound weight class, included a pair of wins over another talented freshman in Vincenzo Joseph of Pittsburgh Central Catholic. Unfortunately for Kemerer he ended his freshman campaign with his first career loss, a 4-2 decision to Ethan Lizak of Parkland, to place 2nd in the PIAA Championships.
113 – Jason Nolf, Kittanning, Sophomore, 43-1, 87-1
After completing an undefeated freshman season that resulted in a PIAA Championship, Nolf was favored to return as a sophomore to the top of the podium. After wrestling most of the season at 120 pounds, Nolf dropped to 113 pounds for the individual postseason. After winning Section, WPIAL, and Southwest Regional titles, Nolf was on a collision course with an undefeated junior Ryan Diehl of Trinity, who had won 2 state championships in West Virginia. The two met in the semi-finals and Nolf came up short for the first time in his high school wrestling career, dropping a 6-4 decision. Nolf was able to bounce back after the tough loss to place 3rd in Hershey.
120 – Godwin Nyama, Brashear, Senior, 38-2, 126-19
There may not have been a better story in the 2011-2012 wrestling season than Godwin Nyama. In only his 4th year of wrestling in his life, Nyama became the first ever City League wrestler to win a PIAA Championship. After placing 7th in the state as a junior, Nyama quickly showed his improvement when he placed 5th at the Ironman Tournament and followed that by finishing in 1st at the Powerade Tournament. After his two losses at Ironman, Nyama would not lose again en route to a PIAA Championship, where he knocked off Canon-McMillan’s Conner Schram 3-1 in overtime. He will wrestle for the WPIAL team at the Dapper Dan Classic as they take on Maryland. Nyama will continue his wrestling career when he attends the University of Pittsburgh in the fall.
120 – Conner Schram, Canon-McMillan, Junior, 25-1, 114-8
A two time WPIAL and PIAA finalist, Schram looked to continue to add to his impressive high school wrestling season as a junior before injury derailed his season. Schram missed roughly a month of the season with a back injury. But he returned in a big way, helping pave the road to Canon-McMillan’s PIAA Championship. Individually Schram grabbed his 3rd Section title and 2nd WPIAL title before once again returning to the PIAA finals. Just like a season ago though Schram finished in 2nd, falling 3-1 in overtime to Godwin Nyama of Brashear. After three straight seasons as a PIAA finalist, Schram will have many choices on where to extend his wrestling career next year.
126 – Nick Zanetta, Keystone Oaks, Junior, 41-4, 97-21
After failing to place in the PIAA Championships a year ago, Zanetta set out to make this a year to remember. He did not fail in doing so. He was tough to beat all season long at 132 pounds, with his only loss coming to eventual AAA State Champion Mackenzie McGuire of Upper St. Clair 3-1 at the Allegheny County Tournament. Many expected him to remain at 132 for individuals but he surprised folks when he dropped to 126, the same weight class as 3 time WPIAL, Southwest Region, and PIAA Champion, Jimmy Gulibon of Derry. Zanetta put together a strong month of wrestling and despite falling short of his goal, placing 2nd to Gulibon in all three tournaments (WPIAL, Southwest Region, PIAA), Zanetta showed that he belongs in the discussion as one of the top wrestlers in Pennsylvania. That should draw the eye of a lot of college coaches heading into his senior season.
132 – Mackenzie McGuire, Upper St. Clair, Senior, 41-3, 132-11
After a 2nd place finish in the PIAA Championships a year ago, many wondered of McGuire could repeat his success and make his way back to the finals in Hershey. He did that plus more, winning a state championship in his senior season. McGuire was not a flashy wrestler on the mat but always knew what it took to win the match. He got a scare in the semi-finals of the PIAA tournament, falling behind 4-0 in the first period to John Dutrow of Council Rock North. But McGuire battled back to win the match 7-6 and set himself up for another chance at the gold, which he won with a 3-2 decision over Shyheim Brown of Central Dauphin. McGuire will continue his wrestling career in the fall as he attends Kent State University and will wrestle for the PA team in the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic against team USA.
138 – Solomon Chishko, Canon-McMillan, Sophomore, 44-2, 90-7
In his freshman season Chishko ran into one problem, continually running into stud senior Zach Horan of Nazareth. Not only did Horan beat him, but he beat him 3 times including a win in the PIAA semi-finals that knocked Chishko into 3rd place. It was more of the same in his sophomore season, as Chishko was dominate on his way to yet another Section and WPIAL Championship. But he ran into a returning state champion in Steve Spearman of Erie McDowell, who had previously beat him in the Team PIAA Championships 2-1 in ride out. In their second meeting in the semi-finals, Spearman was once again victorious, beating Chishko 3-1 in overtime. Chishko, like a year ago, did a great job to battle back to place 3rd for the second straight season.
152 – Tyler Manion, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Senior, 44-9, 98-33
A three year starter for the Vikings, Manion won his second straight WPIAL Class AAA title this season. He is also a two-time place-winner at the state tournament, finishing in fifth place this year and in sixth place last season as a junior. Manion completes his high school career with an overall 98-33 record. He has been selected to represent the WPIAL All-Star team that will face the Maryland All-Stars at the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic. Ironically, Manion will continue his wrestling career next season at the University of Maryland.
160 – Francis Mizia, Bentworth, Senior, 44-3, 152-31
Mizia capped off a very successful career as a four year starter by winning his first Class AA state championship. The only other Bearcats’ wrestler to capture state gold is C.J. Wonsettler, who won the heavyweight title a decade ago. Mizia also earned All-State honors as a junior, finishing in seventh place at Hershey, and qualified for the state tournament as a sophomore. Additionally, he is a four-time WPIAL Class AA place-winner, including capturing his first gold medal this season. Mizia also earned a silver medal last season and finished in fifth place in both his sophomore and freshman seasons at the WPIAL tournament. He finishes his high school career with an outstanding 152-31 mark, smashing the Bentworth school record of 136 wins set by his brother, Gus, at the end of last season. Mizia will start for the WPIAL All-Stars at the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic and hopes to continue competing next season, recently mentioning Mercyhurst College in Erie as a possibility.
170 – Cody Wiercioch, Canon-McMillan, Junior, 46-0, 123-4
The most dominating wrestler on the state’s top team, Wiercioch turned in a perfect 46-0 season, culminating with his first Class AAA state title after defeating Norristown senior Shane Springer, 7-4, in the championship bout. He also won a Class AA gold medal in Hershey as a freshman for Charleroi High School. The top-ranked junior in his weight class in the country by The Open Mat, Wiercioch is also a two-time Powerade Christmas Tournament and two-time WPIAL champion. His career record now stands at 123-4. After leading his squad to both the PIAA team dual meet and individual tournament championships, the Big Macs’ junior will undoubtedly be one of the most sought-after college recruits in the United States next season. Penn State currently tops his list of preferences.
182 – Dakota DesLauriers, Burrell, Junior, 45-1, 116-14
The Bucs’ star wrestler continued his climb up the state’s Class AA podium, placing second this season after a fifth place finish at the end of his freshman campaign and a bronze medal result as a sophomore. Suffering his only defeat of the season, DesLauriers’ came up just short in the championship bout, losing 6-4 to Grove City’s Wes Phipps (40-0). It was the only match that featured two undefeated wrestlers among the fourteen Class AA championship finals at Hershey this year. DesLauriers has finished in first place two times and second once at both the WPIAL and PIAA Southwest Regional Championships. He has recorded a 116-14 mark during his three seasons as a Burrell starter. Look for DesLauriers to once again be among the top wrestlers in the state next season.
182 – Matt McCutcheon, Kiski Area, Junior, 41-1, 121-12
In a season that saw his head coach, Chuck Turskey, become the all-time WPIAL dual meet wins leader, McCutcheon also added his own special accomplishment to Kiski Area wrestling lore. The talented junior became the first wrestler in Cavaliers’ history to win an individual state title. He earned the honor with a 2-1 tie-breaker victory over McDowell’s Khlique Harris. Just one week earlier, McCutcheon won his first WPIAL Class AAA title, after finishing in second place as a sophomore and in third as a freshman. He also has a fifth place finish to his credit at the state tournament last season. McCutcheon began this season’s campaign by winning the Super 32 Tournament, a pre-season competition held in North Carolina that draws many of the country’s best grapplers. Boasting a 121-12 career record, he is also a three-time Westmoreland County champion. McCutcheon will be one of the state’s most prized recruits entering next season.
195 – Perry Hills, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Senior, 35-0, 142-24
Knowing before the season began that this would be his last as a wrestler, Hills set lofty goals for himself. After winning his first Class AAA state championship and doing it in undefeated fashion, the Vikings’ senior achieved his objectives and will now be content as he moves on with his football career at the University of Maryland. The four-year starter defeated Hampton’s Jake Hart, 5-1, in the final bout at Hershey. He also beat Hart a week earlier to win his second WPIAL championship. Hills also won the prestigious Beast of the East tournament and captured his second Allegheny County Championship this season. He is the second Pittsburgh Central Catholic wrestler to win a state title and the first to be selected to the Pennsylvania All-Stars for the Dapper Dan Classic. Hills is also second on the all-time Vikings’ win list with 142. Lorenzo Thomas, now wrestling at the University of Pennsylvania, set the record at the end of last season with 157.
285 – Cody Klempay, Canon-McMillan, Senior, 40-4, 150-25
Klempay anchored the top of the Big Macs’ line-up for the past four years. He is a two-time WPIAL Class AAA champion and a two-time place-winner at the state tournament. He finished with a bronze medal at Hershey as a junior, but had to settle for sixth place this season after defaulting out of the tournament with a shoulder injury. Klempay’s 150 career wins land him in third place on the all-time Big Macs’ victory list behind Colin Johnston (163) and Nick Catalano (155). He also won the Powerade Christmas Tournament as a junior and placed second as a senior and as a sophomore. Klempay was recently selected to represent the WPIAL All-Stars in the Dapper Dan Classic. He will continue his wrestling career next season at the University of North Carolina.