Franklin Regional wrestler Carter Dibert not pleased with second-place finish at Powerade

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Saturday, January 4, 2020 | 9:13 AM


Franklin Regional junior Carter Dibert wasn’t in a good mood after his match in the Powerade finals.

It was clear he’s a wrestler who isn’t accustomed to losing.

Dibert dropped a hard-fought 5-2 decision to Reynolds junior Gary Steen in a battle of returning PIAA 106-pound champions in the finals of the annual wrestling holiday showdown Dec. 28.

Steen was the Class AA champion and Dibert was a Class AAA champion. Steen had defeated Dibert, 2-1, last season.

Steen led Dibert 2-1 after two periods and was in the top position when he was able to return Dibert to his back for a three-point nearfall. Dibert got a late escape but could not finish a takedown as he attempted to rally.

“Carter had trouble getting off the bottom against Steen in his semifinal round bout,” Franklin Regional coach Matt Lebe said. “It’s something he has to work on if he wants to be a repeat PIAA champion. This is a good tournament to learn your weaknesses.”

Dibert was seeded No. 1 at 113 pounds at the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association tournament at Kiski Area on Jan. 3-4.

Two other Panthers placed at Powerade. Sophomore Finn Solomon finished sixth at 126 pounds, and Mason Speers was sixth at 145.

Lebe said he was looking for big things from Solomon, Speers and freshman Nate Stone at the county meet. Stone went 3-2 at the Powerade tournament.

Dibert was far from the only top WPIAL wrestler who didn’t climb to the top step of the podium at Powerade, a tournament that boasts a strong field with competitors from all over the country.

Wyoming Seminary, a national prep power near Wilkes-Barre, won the team title with five wrestlers in the finals and two champions. Malvern Prep, another strong wrestling school from Chester County, was second. West Virginia’s Parkersburg South and Reynolds were also among the top 10 teams.

Waynesburg was the top WPIAL school, finishing third behind a championship performance from 106-pounder Mac Church and four other placewinners.

Four other WPIAL wrestlers claimed individual championships, including a third straight Powerade title for Norwin’s Kurtis Phipps.

The 126-pound final between Phipps and Wyoming Seminary sophomore Nic Bouzakis was tied 3-3 when Bouzakis picked up Phipps and slammed him to the mat.

The slam was deemed illegal, and when doctors ruled Phipps could not continue, he was awarded the win.

“I didn’t want to win that way,” Phipps said. “I tried to convince them that I wanted to continue, but they wouldn’t let me. My head was hurting, but I don’t think I blacked out. It happens in wrestling. It’s awesome to say I’m a three-time champion, but I wish I could have shown it. I was hanging with him.”

Latrobe 132-pounder Gabe Willochell pulled off the biggest upset, beating two-time state champ Alejandro Herrera-Rondon of Seneca Valley, 2-0, in an ultimate tiebreaker.

“I wrestled well in the entire tournament,” Willochell said. “I just tried to score as many points as I could. Two was enough. It feels real good to win a Powerade title.”

Canon-McMillan’s Gerrit Nijenhuis (182) and Mt. Lebanon’s Luke Stout (195) also won individual titles.

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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