Hempfield’s Kemerer, Franklin Regional’s Camacho win 3rd WCCA titles
By: Paul Schofield
Sunday, January 7, 2018 | 9:41 AM
Three wrestlers had a chance to join an elite club Saturday at the 65th annual Westmoreland County Coaches Association Wrestling Tournament at Norwin.
Hempfield senior Luke Kemerer and Franklin Regional junior Colton Camacho joined the three-title club, while Southmoreland senior Tyler Griffiths came up short.
But one wrestler, Burrell senior Corey Christie, had the tournament of his life.
Christie was named TribLive HSSN Most Outstanding Wrestler after defeating two state placewinners. He denied Griffiths his third WCCA title with a 2-1 ultimate tiebreaker win at 152 pounds.
Kiski Area captured its third consecutive county team title and 11th overall. The Cavaliers finished with 218.5 points and crowned three — Darren Miller (120), Noah Levett (138) and Danny Starr (195). It was the second titles for Miller and Starr.
Hempfield finished second with 197.5 points and two champions — Kemerer and junior Kyle Burkholder (113).
Belle Vernon finished third with 139 points and had three champions — junior Logan Seliga (126), senior Zach Hartman (160) and junior Scott Joll (170).
Burrell finished fourth with 135 points.
Kemerer said it means a lot winning a county title. He said having three titles is one more than his brother Jake, a two-time champion.
“It means a lot because the history of this tournament,” said Kemerer, who defeated Kiski Area junior Cam Connor, 9-1, in the 145 final. “I knew the kid was tough, so I stayed aggressive and tried to stay on the attack.”
Camacho was a little disappointed how he earned his title. He was scoreless in the first period with Penn-Trafford junior Nick Coy when he took a shot and his shoulder connected with Coy’s head.
Coy, who was able to walk off the mat, was forced to injury default.
“This doesn’t feel as good as the first two titles,” Camacho said. “I feel bad. Nick is my friend.”
But Camacho still has a chance to be a four-time champion where he can join former Panthers Nico Megaludis, Josh Maruca and Josh Shields. There are only 12 wrestlers who are four-time county champions.
Kemerer and Camacho became the 40th three-time winners.
Christie earned the OW because of his wins against Belle Vernon senior Brock Godzin in the semifinals and Griffiths, both state placewinners in 2017. Godzin placed fifth in Class AAA and Griffiths second in Class AA.
“Corey had a tremendous tournament,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said.
Norwin sophomore Kurtis Phipps (21-0), the only wrestler with an unblemished mark in the tournament, rolled to an 8-2 win at 106 against Latrobe senior Brady Sherback. Phipps dominated the match from the state, scoring a quick takedown.
“I was confident I could beat him because I beat him at Powerade,” Phipps said. “I just have to continue to work and improve, but it feels great to win a county title.”
Burkholder said he was surprised that he didn’t score more points against Burrell Freshman Ian Oswalt. Burkholder won, 1-0, at 113.
The most exciting match of the night was at 120 where Kiski Area junior Darren Miller held off a late charge to edge Latrobe sophomore Gabe Willochell, 10-9. Miller built a 7-0 lead, but Willochell got hot and eventually tied the score, 8-8, in the third period.
Southmoreland senior Jaden Datz joined his brother Shane as a WCCA winner. Datz edged Kiski Area’s Logan Pollick, 3-1, at 182.
“It’s a good win because it helps my confidence,” Datz said. “I need to keep staying positive.”
Derry junior Dom DeLuca (220) and Valley junior Dave Schuffert (285) had impressive finals. DeLuca defeated Southmoreland junior Ryan Mauro, 9-0, and Schuffert pinned Hempfield freshman Isaiah Vance.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.