Busy weeks ahead for Franklin Regional wrestling

Saturday, January 8, 2022 | 11:01 AM

It will be an interesting couple of weeks for the Franklin Regional wrestling team.

Fresh off its 32nd-place finishing at the Powerade tournament Dec. 29 and 30 which saw senior Finn Solomon place third and finish 6-1, the Panthers get ready for consecutive Section 1B (3A) matches that will determine if they make the WPIAL playoffs or not.

The Panthers (2-0, 2-0) were scheduled to host Plum on Jan. 12 and will have a likely first-place showdown at rival Penn-Trafford on Jan. 19. They also are rescheduling a match with Gateway, which was postponed Jan. 5.

Solomon dropped an 11-4 decision to West Allegheny’s Ty Watters in the 145-pound quarterfinals at the Powerade tournament when he tweaked his knee.

He battled back in the consolations to defeat Hempfield’s Lucas Kapusta, 1-0; Williamsport’s Riley Bower, 7-4; and Malvern Prep’s Reed Fulmer, 2-0; and beat Delbarton, N.J.’s Cross Wasilewski, 7-1, in the third-place match.

“Finn was able to bounce back in the consolations,” Franklin Regional coach Matt Lebe said. “He’ll be OK. This tournament was a bear, and it showed us as a team what we need to continue to work on.

“Tyler (Kapusta) and Juliano (Marion) were a win away from earning a medal. I thought they wrestled well.”

Kapusta, competing at 106 pounds, was 3-2. He had a 16-1 technical fall win against Fort LeBoeuf’s Andre Przybycien and then fell to Bergen Catholic’s Brian Melamud. In the consolation rounds, he defeated Cathedral Prep’s Keagan Oler, 15-5, and Burgettstown’s Parker Sentipal, 3-0, before falling 7-0 to Wyoming Seminary’s Cooper Hilton.

Marion opened the tournament at 189 pounds by defeating Haku Watson-Castro of Homewood-Flossmoor, Ill., 8-2. He was pinned by Wyoming Seminary’s Jude Correa.

In the consolation round, he defeated Penn-Trafford’s Owen Ott, 4-1, and Connellsville’s George Shultz, 2-1. He fell to Quaker Valley’s Patrick Cutchumber, 3-2.

The Panthers’ depth took a hit before the season when two section placewinners — Anthony Alesi (285) and Dom Colaizzi (113) — decided not to wrestle this season.

Lebe has been able to juggle the lineup and he’s counting on junior Justin Bass (126), junior Gavyn Beck (160), freshman Nico Sarnic (106), junior Roman Sarnic (160), junior Nate Stone (138) and seniors Christo Marion (215) and Ben Pekarcik (132) to have good seasons.

“We’re working hard,” Lebe said. “Losing those wrestlers hurt, but we have guys who are ready to compete.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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