Franklin Regional wrestlers win 4 county titles; Panthers take team championship

Saturday, February 6, 2021 | 6:07 PM

In an event that featured several marquee matchups, Franklin Regional stole the show during Saturday’s finals at the Westmoreland County Wrestling Tournament.

The effort helped the Panthers capture the title for the first time since 2015. It was their fourth and ended Kiski Area’s five-year reign. The Panthers finished with 189.5 points. Mt. Pleasant finished second with 163 points, followed by Kiski Area 154.5, Hempfield 151.5 and Burrell 149.

Franklin Regional had four champions: Carter Dibert (126 pounds), Finn Solomon (138), Mario Sarnic (145) and Garrett Thompson (152).

Dibert won his third county title by using a quick takedown to defeat Hempfield senior Ethan Berginc, 3-2, in a battle of PIAA champions. Dibert won in 2019 and Berginc in ’20.

“I’m sure we’ll meet again,” Dibert said. “I expect that: WPIALs, Super Regional and PIAAs. I knew if I finished my single leg that would be a key to the match. I kept pushing the pace and almost had another. He’s a tough wrestler and goes hard all of the time.”

Dibert was one of three wrestlers to win a third title. The other two were Hempfield senior heavyweight Isaiah Vance and Kiski Area senior Brayden Roscosky (195).

Two other wrestlers could have won their third titles, but Hempfield senior Ty Linsenbigler (152) lost to Thompson in overtime, and Burrell senior Ian Oswalt missed while resting a leg injury.

“Winning a third title feels awesome,” Dibert said. “It shows how tough the county is. It’s pretty cool.”

The other big showdowns featuring possible WPIAL and PIAA finalists were at 113, 132, 160, 215 and 285.

Latrobe sophomore Vinny Kilkeary, the returning PIAA Class 106 champion, defeated Penn-Trafford junior Troy Hohman, 4-0, in a classic battle at 113. Kilkeary and Hohman are wrestling partners at Young Guns.

“I’m sure we’ll meet again,” Kilkeary said. “Troy is a tough wrestler, and it’s always great to face tough competition.”

Kilkeary used a second-period escape and then got a 3-point nearfall in the third period.

“I just didn’t finish my shots, and he capitalized on my mistake on the bottom and got back points,” Hohman said. “I’ll learn from this.”

Hempfield junior Briar Priest rode a first-period takedown to a 2-0 victory against Latrobe sophomore Nate Roth at 132. Priest won an early match 6-5.

“Getting the first takedown in any match is the key,” Priest said. “Nate is tough, and I’ll have to figure out how to escape the next time we meet. Beating him again helps my confidence.”

Solomon used a first-period takedown and edged Hempfield sophomore Lucas Kapusta, 3-1, at 138.

Sarnic, who wasn’t seeded in the top four and had to wrestle in Friday’s round, won the 145 title with an impressive 16-0 win against Hempfield senior Nolan Daerr.

“Not wrestling last year and missing early this season messed up my seeding,” Sarnic said. “I was confident I could win it if I wrestled well. Battling Finn and Garrett in practice has made me a better wrestler.”

Thompson rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeated Linsenbigler in overtime and earned the Outstanding Wrestler Award.

“Watching Mario win pumped me up,” Thompson said. “I knew if I kept pushing I could win it. Winning the OW shows me the hard work I do at practice.”

Vance won his third title by edging Greensburg Salem heavyweight Billy McChesney, 1-0.

“Billy and I have to figure out new things when we wrestle,” Vance said. “Winning another county title is big.”

Roscosky used a takedown in the third period to defeat Belle Vernon’s Logan Hoffman, 3-1.

Other champions were Burrell freshman Cooper Hornack (106) and senior A.J. Corrado (160), Mt. Pleasant junior Dayton Pitzer (215) and Kiski Area sophomore Ryan Klingensmith (120) and senior Sammy Starr (172).

Hornack defeated Franklin Regional’s freshman Ty Kapusta, 9-0; Klingensmith blanked Hempfield sophomore Ethan Lebin, 7-0; Corrado edged Kiski Area junior Enzo Morlacci, 3-1; Starr beat Mt. Pleasant junior Colin Gnibus, 4-0; and Pitzer nipped Belle Vernon junior Cole Weightman, 6-4, in a battle of the top 215-pound wrestlers per classification in the WPIAL. Pitzer (22-2) is Class AA ,and Weightman (15-4) in Class AAA.

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

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