At WPIAL girls wrestling, Plum’s Claassen sisters keep promise to grandmother

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Saturday, February 17, 2024 | 7:20 PM


Plum’s Claassen sisters kept their promise Saturday.

They vowed to their ill grandmother, Marilynn Claassen, they would bring home medals from the first WPIAL girls wrestling championship at North Allegheny.

Sophomore Alaina Claassen was going to present her with a gold medal, and freshman Addison Claassen was going to give her the sixth-place medal she earned at 130 pounds.

Alaina was emotional following her pin of Southmoreland sophomore Zoey Murphy because of her grandmother.

“She’s not doing well,” Alaina Claassen said. “We want to get back to see her and present her the medals.”

Claassen is ranked No. 1 in the state at 235, and her goal is to capture at state gold medal.

Plum sophomore Saphia Davis was the school’s first champion when she defeated Mt. Lebanon’s Paige Jox, 5-0, to win the 124 title.

Davis defeated Jox a week ago in ultimate ride-out.

“Getting the first takedown was huge,” Davis said. “She’s a great wrestler, and it was a good battle.

“It’s really exciting to be the first champion. It’s a great accomplishment for me. I’m looking forward to the regional in two weeks.”

Davis said she came to love the sport by watching her four brothers compete.

Freshman Caroline Perez (190) was the fourth Mustang to advance. She placed seventh at 190 pounds.

Kiski Area sophomore Ava Golding captured the 136-pound title when she defeated Connellsville’s Jayanah Nobles, 8-2.

“It’s a great accomplishment in my high school career,” Golding said. “I fell in love with the sport eight years ago. I never dreamed I’d win a WPIAL title during my high school career. Now I want to win states.”

Burrell’s Ella Campbell placed fourth at 112, and Valley’s Zainaya Jones placed fifth at 106.

In the record books, Canon-McMillan senior Valarie Solorio always will be known as the first girls WPIAL champion after she defeated Montour’s Kristen Walzer, 16-1, at 100 pounds.

The Big Macs, the top team in the WPIAL, dominated with three champions and two runners-up. They advanced 11 wrestlers to the West Regional March 2 at Canon-McMillan.

Solorio and North Allegheny senior Leyna Rumpler (155), who won MyHouse Pennsylvania State titles in 2023, are looking forward to competing with the boys at Giant Center.

“It means that we belong,” Rumpler said. “Everyone across the country was excited to learn that the PIAA was finally going to sponsor the sport. Now we get to show what we’re made of.”

The other Big Mac winners were Capri Chambers (106) and Natalie Rush (190). Norwin also had two champions.

Josephine Dollman (142) was Norwin’s first champion. But the gymnasium erupted when freshman Octavia Walker (170) rallied from a 5-0 deficit to pin and stun Canon-McMillan’s Audrey Calgaro.

The other first-time champions were Hampton’s Isabella McNutt (112), Butler’s Ana Malovich (118), Moon’s Haley Smarch (130) and Laurel’s Contessa Cotelesse (148).

The top six in most weight classes advance to the West Regional. The top seven move on at 190 and 235, and the top five at 118 advance.

This is because District 10 and 8 had trouble filling out the bracket.

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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