8 WPIAL wrestlers advance to PIAA Class 2A semifinals

Friday, March 8, 2024 | 2:00 PM

HERSHEY — Eight wrestlers from the WPIAL have reached the semifinals at the PIAA Class 2A tournament at the Giant Center following wins in the quarterfinals Friday morning.

The semifinal round is at 7 p.m. Friday.

Burrell sophomore Cam Baker used a takedown in the third period to defeat Tussey Mountain sophomore Dakota Santamaria, 5-4, at 107 pounds. The two met at Bedford on Jan. 27, and Baker won 11-6.

“He’s a good wrestler,” Baker said. “I knew it would be closer this time.”

The win assures Baker will be a PIAA placewinner for the second consecutive year. He reached the semifinals last season and ended up third. He’ll face Faith Christian freshman Joey Bachmann.

Teammate and reigning PIAA champion, senior Cooper Hornack, dropped his quarterfinal-round match to Midd-West junior Matthew Smith, 4-3. Hornack stumbled during an attempt and Smith was able to secure a takedown with 16 seconds left.

Hornack, however, will place for the fourth time after he won his blood-round match against Bishop McDevitt’s Easton Comp, 7-4.

Frazier senior Rune Lawrence and junior teammate Jackson Angelo (189 pounds) advanced to the semifinals.

Lawrence recorded a first-period pin at 215 and will face Brookville junior Gavin Hannah, while Angelo downed Derry freshman Brady Brown, 3-0. Brown won the previous meeting in the WPIAL semifinals, 5-4. Angelo and Brown train together at All-American Wrestling Club.

Other WPIAL wrestlers to reach the semifinals were Bentworth senior Chris Vargo (127), Indiana junior Nico Fanella (127), Quaker Valley senior Jack Kazalas (133), Central Valley senior heavyweight Brenan Morgan and Burgettstown senior heavyweight Joey Baronick.

Vargo defeated Mifflinburg sophomore Ben Straub, 8-0. Fanella rallied to defeat United junior Giideon Bracken, 4-2.

Kazalas toppled Grove City sophomore Hudson Hohman, 5-2, Morgan edged Faith Christian sophomore Mark Eddendian, 5-1, and Baronick squeezed by Fort LeBoeuf junior John Duran, 4-1.

Also falling in the quarterfinals were Derry freshman Mason Horwat (145), Hopewell senior Isaiah Pisano (160) and Mt. Pleasant sophomore heavyweight Dylan Pitzer.

Horwat fell to Brookville junior Cole Householder, 8-1; Pisano fell to Faith Christian sophomore Cael Weidemoyer, 10-0; and Pitzer was edged by Berks Catholic senior Body Kline, 3-2.

All three got into medal contention by winning their blood-round match.

A total of 16 wrestlers from the WPIAL will earn medals. The others include Chartiers-Houston senior Jorden Williams (114), Burgettstown senior Gaven Suica (139), Fort Cherry junior Braedon Welsh (172) and Bentworth senior Vitali Daniels (189).

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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