215-pound weight class full of heavy hitters at WPIAL Class 3A championships

Wednesday, March 2, 2022 | 7:27 PM

If you’re looking for a weight class to watch at the WPIAL Class 3A championship, focus on 215 pounds.

There are at least six wrestlers who not only can win a title Friday and Saturday at Canon-McMillan but also qualify for the state tournament.

Thomas Jefferson senior Brian Finnerty, Belle Vernon senior Cole Weightman and Latrobe junior Corey Boerio competed in the Section 2 qualifier on Feb. 26 and already experienced a taste of what’s to come this weekend.

Finnerty is ranked No. 1, Weightman, a two-time champion, is No. 2 and Boerio is seeded No. 4. The other seeds are: Seneca Valley senior Liam Volk-Klos (No. 3), Chartiers Valley senior Josh Sarasnick (No. 5) and Waynesburg junior Eli Mackel (No. 6).

“It’s up for grabs,” Latrobe coach Mark Mears said. “Whoever gets hot will probably win. It should be fun to watch.”

Volk-Klos (18-0) and Boerio (37-8) are expected to face tough quarterfinal-round matches. Volk-Klos could face Makel (32-9), and Boerio probably will face Sarasnick (27-6).

Boerio said he learned a lot from last week’s tournament. He dropped an overtime match to Finnerty in the semifinals.

“The biggest things I learned are to be more aggressive in the first period,” Boerio said. “I have to get to my attack quicker, that’s the goal.

“The other goal is to qualify for Hershey. There are six to eight guys in the field that could go to Hershey. I’m hoping to be one of them.”

Boerio said he feels he is ready to take on all comers. He said the difficult schedule has prepared him for the competition.

“My goal is to get to Hershey and be on the podium,” Boerio said. “I feel I can do it.”

Weightman, who was recovering from knee surgery, lost to Finnerty (36-1) in the finals, 2-1.

Despite his ailments, Weightman (7-1) said his goal is to become a three-time WPIAL champion and Belle Vernon’s first state champ.

“I made a mistake and it cost me,” Weightman said. “But it was good to go six minutes. It showed me I still have work to do on my conditioning. My goals are still achievable.”

Several freshmen could make noise this weekend.

At 106 pounds, the top seeds are Latrobe’s Luke Willochell (36-4) and Indiana’s Nico Fanella (28-0).

“I feel I’m ready,” Willochell said. “We’ve wrestled a tough schedule, and it’s prepared me for the big tournaments. I’m just trying to tweak some things this week at practice.”

At 113, Peters Township’s Darius McMillon (26-2) is seeded No. 2, and Connellsville’s Evan Petrovich 930-9) is seeded No. 4. Others to watch are Latrobe’s Leo Joseph (29-12) and Baldwin’s Ramil Islamov (25-5).

Maybe the top freshman this season is Thomas Jefferson’s Maddox Shaw (34-4), the No. 1 seed at 126 pounds.

Keep an eye on Connellsville’s Lonzy Vielma (33-7), who is seeded No. 2at 138 pounds.

The action at Canon-McMillan begins 5 p.m. Friday.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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