2nd WCCA wrestling championship includes a 1st for Norwin’s Phipps

Saturday, January 4, 2020 | 7:04 PM

Norwin senior Kurtis Phipps never had a defensive pin before Saturday’s finals at the 67th Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association wrestling tournament.

Now he can scratch that off the list of his accomplishments.

Phipps (15-0) was locked in a scoreless match late in the third period of the 126-pound final against Franklin Regional sophomore Finn Solomon (13-4).

Working from the bottom position, Phipps reached over his head and pulled Solomon over to his shoulders and got the pin to win his second county title.

His first came in 2018. He placed second last season.

“I made a mid-match adjustment, and I figured if I got him, he either had to bail out or give up the reversal,” Phipps said. “He hung on.”

Phipps said he wasn’t trying for the pin. He was trying to get loose.

“It took me awhile on bottom,” Phipps said. “I knew what he wanted to do. He’s really clingy. I was able to catch him and hold him there.”

Phipps, who was slammed Dec. 28 in the finals at the Powerade Tournament, said he was thankful he was able to compete in the county tournament.

Phipps was one of eight two-time champions. The others were Franklin Regional junior Carter Dibert (113), Burrell junior Ian Oswalt (132), Hempfield junior Ty Linsenbigler (145), Kiski Area seniors Jack Blumer (160) and Nick Delp (170), Kiski Area junior Brayden Roscosky (195) and Hempfield junior heavyweight Isaiah Vance.

Dibert (20-1) used a second-period reversal to grab a 2-0 lead on his way to a 4-2 victory against Hempfield’s Ethan Berginc at 113.

Dibert had trouble getting off the bottom at Powerade, and Panthers coach Matt Lebe said that was going to be a point of emphasis at practice. It paid off in the finals.

Oswalt (14-4) used a second-period escape to edge Franklin Regional’s Garrett Thompson, 1-0, in the 132 final.

Linsenbigler (21-2) didn’t like how he had wrestled this season. He decided to change his training habits and worked on conditioning.

He had four first-period pins, including one against Franklin Regional senior Mason Spears in the 145 final.

“I had to change the way I was wrestling,” Linsenbigler said. “This weekend was a good start.”

Kiski Area, which has won a record 13 team titles, put together three consecutive pins to clinch the team title. The pins were by Sammy Starr (152), Blumer and Delp.

The Cavaliers finished with 263 points. Hempfield was second with 224.5, Norwin was third with 179.5 and Latrobe, the Day 1 leader, finished fourth with 178.

Winning their first titles were Hempfield sophomore Briar Priest (106), Latrobe freshman Nate Roth (120), Norwin junior John Altieri (138), Kiski Area’s Starr (152) and Greensburg Salem senior John Meyers (220).

Priest (21-1) rolled to a 13-4 major decision win against Latrobe freshman Vincent Kilkeary. It was the second time in two weeks Priest defeated Kilkeary.

“I think my size works to my advantage,” said the lanky Priest. “I feel I’m a little taller and stronger than him. Winning the title means a lot to me. I reached one of my goals.”

Priest jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead and never looked back.

Roth jumped out to quickly lead against Kiski Area senior Dom Giordano and recorded a second-period pin.

“It’s nice to get the pin, especially against a senior,” Roth said. “I never wrestled him, but anytime I get into scramble positions, I feel comfortable.”

Meyers dominated his match against Hempfield senior Dillon Ferretti, winning 15-0. Meyers has won four tournaments this season.

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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