16 WPIAL wrestlers advance to PIAA Class AA quarterfinals

Thursday, March 7, 2019 | 1:52 PM

HERSHEY — It was a sweet first day for WPIAL wrestlers at the PIAA Class AA championships.

A total of 16 competitors from the WPIAL advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament after winning first-round matches Thursday at Giant Center.

The lone defending state champion from the WPIAL, Frazier’s Thayne Lawrence, advanced to the quarterfinals with ease after pinning Central Columbia’s Jacob Busch in 30 seconds in their first-round match at 160 pounds.

“It felt really good,” Lawrence said. “Quick matches, you don’t always get them, so when you get them, you’ve got to take them. I like (those) quick matches. They save your body for what comes on later because as the day goes on and this tournament goes on, you get harder and harder matches every time.”

The WPIAL advanced wrestlers to the quarterfinals in 12 of 14 weight classes. Three made it through at 182 pounds — Mt. Pleasant’s Dayton Pitzer, Ellwood City’s Austin Walley and Freedom’s Bryson Miller — and two apiece at 170 (McGuffey’s Christian Clutter and Valley’s Noah Hutcherson) and 195 (Bentworth’s John Vargo and Quaker Valley’s Geoff Magin).

Magin pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the first day, beating second-seeded Colin Fegley of Mahanoy, 7-6. Hutcherson beat fourth-seeded Brady Gentile of Greenville, 10-8, in sudden-victory overtime, and Vargo defeated fourth-seeded Cael Black of Eisenhower, 3-2.

“I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work, and it just shows it out there,” Hutcherson said.

The top seeds from the WPIAL also advanced: Burrell’s Ian Oswalt at 120 pounds, Hopewell’s Jacob Ealy at 138, Lawrence at 160 and Derry’s Dom DeLuca at 220.

“It’s always good to start off like that,” said Ealy, who beat Hamburg’s Shane Strausser by technical fall. “There’s pressure (being the No. 1 seed), but I don’t feel like there’s more than there was before. It’s just the same amount of pressure there’s always been.”

Other quarterfinalists included South Park’s Joey Fischer at 106, Elizabeth Forward’s Ryan Michaels at 113, Derry’s Ty Cymmerman at 126, Quaker Valley’s John Rocco Kazalas at 145 and Freedom’s Trent Schultheis at 152.

The PIAA Class AA tournament will resume at 9 a.m. Friday with quarterfinal matches.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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