Connellsville knocks off top-ranked team to stay alive in Class 3A consolation bracket

Friday, February 9, 2024 | 3:52 PM

HERSHEY – Connellsville continued its comeback at the PIAA Class 3A team championship by knocking out District 1 champion and No. 1-ranked Council Rock South on Friday in Round 2 of consolations at the Giant Center.

The Falcons got big wins from their top wrestlers, picked up bonus points and didn’t allow many bonus points.

Freshman Tommy Gretz at 107, junior Julian Ruggieri at 145 and junior Evan Petrovich at 152 collected pins.

Connellsville forfeited the final two weight classes, which made the final score look closer than it was.

Turning point: “We got big wins by the Vielma brothers (Kai at 133 and Lonzy at 160),” Connellsville coach Bill Swink said. “We felt if we could win two of the final four upper weights, we’d win. Chris (Cook) and Tyler (Gallis) came through. We wrestled really well.”

Up next: The Falcons (15-3) face Trinity at 9 a.m. Saturday.


127: Christian Zimmerman (CRS) d. Chase Sparks, 2-0.

133: Kai Vielma (C) d. Pat Woloshyn, 3-2.

139: Ajay Bhatt (CRS) major Parker Lembo, 15-3.

145: Julian Ruggieri (C) p. Caleb Christian, 2:09.

152: Evan Petrovich (C) p. Max Nepochatov, 2:40.

160: Lonzy Vielma (C) d. Gavin Cole, 4-3.

172: Aidan Murray (CRS) d. Cooper Lembo, 4-1.

189: Bekhruz Sadriddinov (CRS) p. Nicholas Rohal, 3:30.

215: Chris Cook (C) major Aryn Valeriano, 9-1.

285: Tyler Gallis (C) d. Jeffrey Gessner, 3-0.

107:Tommy Gretz (C) p. Eddie Alvarez, 3:56.

114:Richie Kiker (CRS) won by forfeit.

121: Luke Reitter (CRS) won by forfeit.

Falcons bounce back

HERSHEY – Connellsville rebounded from a disappointing loss in the first round to throttle District 10 champion Cathedral Prep, 43-14, in the PIAA Class 3A tournament Friday at the Giant Center.

The Falcons (14-3) scored bonus points in the first six matches they won and got pins from Kai Vielma at 133 and Julian Ruggieri at 139 to win in the first consolation round. Freshman Tommy Gretz at 114 and sophomore Zachary Frank at 121 gave the Falcons a quick 8-0 lead with major decision victories.

Connellsville won 10 of the 13 matches. Heavyweight Tyler Gallis had one of the three Connellsville pins.

Turning point: Connellsville got huge wins at 133, 145 and 160 against Cathedral Prep’s top wrestlers. The start by Gretz and Franks gave the Falcons a lead they never relinquished.

Coach’s thoughts: “It was a good matchup for us,” Connellsville coach Bill Swink said. “Getting bonus points in duals are always big and we got them in our first six wins. I thought we wrestled well.”

Up next: Connellsville faces the loser of the Council Rock South and Central Mountain match at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Round 2 of the consolation bracket.


114: Tommy Gretz (C) major Will English, 11-2.

121: Zachary Franks (C) major Amir Johnson, 15-5.

127: Keagan Oler (CP) d. Chase Sparks, 6-0.

133: Kai Vielma (C) p. Andrew Gammon, 2:15.

139: Julian Ruggieri (C) p. Trevor Bruno, 1:52.

145: Evan Petrovich (C) major Gabe Dorman, 11-3.

152: Brandon Byrd (CP) p. Kolten Turek, 3:56.

160: Lonzy Vielma (C) major Robert Marucci, 9-1.

172: Nickolas Rohal (C) d. Jaden Crockett, 5-4.

189: Cooper Lembo (C) d. Corey Kowalski, 4-2.

215: Max Spaulding (CP) p. Chris Cook, 1:16.

285: Tyler Gallis (C) p. Alex Hagerty, 1:50.

107: Nolan Rice (C) d. Aiden Carter, 3-1.

Note: Cathedral Prep deducted a team points for unsportsmanlike penalty on coach at 121 pounds.

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


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