5 things to watch at Saturday’s WPIAL Class AA wrestling championships
By: Paul Schofield
Friday, February 15, 2019 | 1:30 AM
The WPIAL Class AA individual wrestling championships began Friday with preliminary round bouts at Canon-McMillan. The tournament resumes Saturday.
The finals are slated for 5 p.m. The top seven finishers in each of the 14 weight classes will advance to the PIAA Southwest Regional at IUP’s Kovalchick Complex on Feb. 22 and 23.
Here are five things to watch on Saturday.
1. Titles to defend
The 126-pound weight class has four returning champions vying for their second titles. It’s the first time in tournament history that four previous champions are in the same weight class.
Derry sophomore Ty Cymmerman (31-5), McGuffey senior Jett Pattison (30-6), Freedom senior Z.J. Ward (12-3) and Burrell junior Trent Valovchik (16-13) are the previous champions.
Cymmerman was the 120-pound winner in 2018. Pattison was the 120-pound winner in 2017, Ward took the 106-pound title in 2016 and Valovchik won the 106-pound title in 2017.
2. Chasing a third
There are three wrestlers looking to join an elite club as three-time WPIAL champions.
They are McGuffey’s Christian Clutter and Freedom’s Bryson Miller, both seniors, and Frazier junior Thayne Lawrence.
The last time a wrestler became a three-time champion was in 2017 when Penn-Trafford’s Cam Coy and Jefferson-Morgan’s Gavin Teasdale won their third titles.
Teasdale went on to become the 28th four-time champion in 2018, and Lawrence can duplicate that feat by winning the next two seasons. He is the returning PIAA 152-pound champion.
Lawrence won the 138-pound title in 2017 and the 152 title in 2018.
Clutter won the 160 title in 2017 and the 170 crown in 2018.
3. Possible rematch
If Miller wants to win his third title, the first two coming at 195 pounds, then the senior must navigate through Ellwood City junior Austin Walley and Mt. Pleasant super freshman Dayton Pitzer.
Pitzer (32-1) handed Walley his only loss of the season, 9-6, at the Southmoreland Holliday Classic.
Walley (27-1) also defeated Miller (21-5) three times season, 3-2, in the MAC tournament and by injury default in a dual. They met in the Section 2 final at 182 on Friday, and Walley won 3-2.
Miller is the returning PIAA Southwest Regional champion and he placed fifth in the state tournament.
4. Heavyweight battles
How good is Washington junior heavyweight Gerald Comedy? The Trib HSSN’s No. 1-ranked heavyweight battled Burgettstown’s Riley Kemper three times this season. Kemper beat him in the Section 1 final, 4-2, in overtime on Friday.
His other loss was to Upper St. Clair senior heavyweight Jake Slinger in the Burgettstown tournament final.
Valley senior Dave Schuffert could be his biggest challenge. He is ranked No. 2 with a 23-3 record.
Comedy (22-2) opened the season with 11 consecutive pins.
The last Washington wrestler to win a WPIAL title was Alex Evans in 2007 at 160 pounds.
5. Trojan horses
Four Derry wrestlers are approaching milestones.
Senior Dom DeLuca (29-1, 145-25) won his second Section 3 title and is now five wins away from reaching 150 in his career.
Senior Kace Sabedra (20-13, 99-60) is one win from reaching 100. He was denied the feat in the Section 1 106-pound final by Mt. Pleasant freshman Luke Geibig, falling 6-2.
Senior Trey Weinell, the coach’s son, reached the 100-win milestone with a victory in the Section 3 preliminary round Friday. After finishing third in the 152-pound weight class in the section tournament, he is 30-9 this season and 99-46 for his career.
The other senior approaching 100 wins is Jason Baker. He won the 132-pound Section 3 title by denying Burrell senior Bryan Gaul his fourth section title. He won 5-2.
He is 28-7 this season and 92-30. He’ll have to wait for the Southwest Regional tournament to get his 100th win.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .