12 from WPIAL to wrestle for state titles in Class 3A finals

Saturday, March 12, 2022 | 3:39 PM

HERSHEY – The WPIAL is guaranteed at least two PIAA champions, but they’re hoping for more.

The WPIAL advanced 12 wrestlers to the PIAA 3A championship finals Saturday night at the Giant Center after impressive wins in the semifinals. Finals begin at 7 p.m.

The two weight classes with all-WPIAL finals are 145 and 215 pounds.

The 145-pound final features Franklin Regional senior Finn Solomon (40-2), the returning 138-pound champion, and West Allegheny junior Ty Watters (34-3). This is the fourth time the two will meet with Solomon holding a 2-1 advantage. Solomon won in ultimate tiebreaker in the WPIAL finals March 5.

Solomon breezed to a 14-4 victory against Boyertown senior Chance Babb in the semifinals. Watters defeated Bellefonte senior Jude Swisher, 12-5.

The 215-pound final features WPIAL champion Brian Finnerty of Thomas Jefferson and Belle Vernon senior Cole Weightman. This is the third consecutive weekend that they’ve met in the finals. Finnerty has won the previous two times.

Finnerty defeated Seneca Valley’s Liam Volk-Klos, 2-0, while Weightman outscored State College junior Nicholas Pavlechko, 12-10. Volk-Klos and Latrobe junior Corey Boerio are wrestling for fifth.

Also advancing to the finals are Latrobe freshman Luke Willochell (106) and junior Vinny Kilkeary (120), Hempfield junior Ethan Lebin (126) and senior Briar Priest (138), Waynesburg juniors Mac Church (132) and Rocco Welsh (172), Chartiers Valley junior Dylan Evans (152) and Connellsville senior Jared Keslar (160).

Willochell pinned Haverford sophomore Cole McFarland in 55 seconds. He’ll face Bethlehem Catholic freshman Nathan Desmond.

Franklin Regional sophomore Ty Kapusta lost to Desmond, 16-0, and will wrestle for third place.

Kilkeary defeated Manheim Township sophomore Kamdyn Williams, 12-6. It was revenge for a loss to Williams in the 2021 Super West Region tournament.

Kilkeary will face Dover senior Mason Leiphart in the finals.

Canon-McMillan’s Jacob Houpt dropped a 5-2 decision to Leiphart and will wrestle for fifth place.

Lebin advanced to the finals with a 3-2 win against returning PIAA champion Jake Van Dee. He’ll face Central Mountain freshman Dalton Perry, who defeated Thomas Jefferson freshman Maddox Shaw, 3-1.

Shaw will wrestle for third place after defeating Waynesburg senior Zander Phatorus in the consolation semifinals. Phatorus will wrestle for fifth.

Church defeated Bethlehem Catholic freshman Kollin Rath, 3-1. He’ll face Central Dauphin junior Matt Repos. Connellsville senior Chad Ozias will wrestle for seventh. Church is a returning state champion.

Priest is going for his second title after beating Downingtown West senior Dom Findora, 3-1. He’ll face State College sophomore Pierson Manville, who pinned Bethlehem Catholic junior Tyler Kasak. Manville edged Priest, 4-3, at Powerade.

Waynesburg senior Colton Stoneking will wrestle for fifth place.

Evans advanced to the finals with an 8-1 win against Altoona freshman Luke Sipes. He’ll face Erie Prep senior Kaemen Smith, who defeated Pine-Richland senior Kelin Laffey, 4-2.

Latrobe senior Jack Pletcher will wrestle for third place at 152 and Laffey for fifth.

Keslar moved into the finals with a 7-1 win against Kiski Area senior Enzo Morlacci. He’ll face Central Dauphin sophomore Ryan Garvick. Morlacci will wrestle for fifth place after falling to West Allegheny sophomore Shawn Taylor in the consolation semifinals. Taylor is wrestling for third.

Welsh was dominating in his 172-pound final, winning 20-5. He’ll face Interboro senior Dom D’Agostino.

Canon-McMillan junior Matt Furman is wrestling for third, Belle Vernon senior Logan Hoffman for fifth and Armstrong junior Connor Jacobs for seventh.

Mt. Lebanon’s Mac Stout lost an exciting 9-6 decision to Nazareth junior Sonny Sasso. He will wrestle for third place and Franklin Regional sophomore Juliano Marion will wrestle for fifth.

Greensburg Salem senior Bill McChesney dropped a pair of 3-1 sudden victory decisions and will wrestle for fifth place. He lost to Easton’s Matthew Cruise.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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