Franklin Regional’s Camacho cruises into PIAA Class AAA semifinals

Friday, March 9, 2018 | 7:42 PM

HERSHEY — Franklin Regional junior Colton Camacho had a close call in his opening-round match at the PIAA Class AAA wrestling championships Thursday at Giant Center.

He received a two-point reversal at the buzzer to record a slim victory.

There was no fooling around for Camacho on Friday. He racked up points in his 11-1 victory against Cedar Cliff junior Michael Cassidy in the quarterfinals. Camacho reverted to his favorite move — the dump — for three takedowns in his 132-pound match.

Camacho (39-2), who collected his 100th career victory in a 4-3 win against Nazareth senior Ryan O'Grady in the opening round, will face Souderton junior Tyler Williams (32-7) in the semifinals, which begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.

“Thursday, I wouldn't say it was luck. I've been working extremely hard, and I felt I had it,” Camacho said. “Against Cassidy, it really showed how much I worked. I wrestled my style, and I didn't have to worry about him. He never got into his offense.

“That was really important. I got to my offense, and I dominated the match.”

The only point Cassidy scored was when Camacho decided to let him escape to score another takedown, which he did.

“I'm focused on my next match and wrestling my style, and things will take care of itself,” said Camacho, who said he grew up watching former Panthers Spencer Lee, Devin Brown, Mike Kemerer and Josh Shields win state titles. “It will be hard for someone to beat me if I'm scoring a lot of points.”

Hempfield junior Kyle Burkholder (113 pounds) and Latrobe sophomore Gabe Willochell (126) also continued their march in the winners' bracket. After knocking off second-seeded wrestlers on Day 1, they picked up equally impressive wins in the quarterfinals.

Burkholder (38-4) edged Council Rock North sophomore Luke Lucerne, 2-1, and Willochell (35-6) turned a 2-1 deficit into a pin of Downingtown East junior Lukas Richie at 2 minutes, 15 seconds.

Burkholder will face West Chester Henderson sophomore Killian Delaney, and Willochell faces Central Dauphin senior Chris Wright in the semifinals.

Norwin sophomore Kurtis Phipps (38-0) continued his dominance with his second pin of the tournament at 106. He decked Coatesville sophomore Brennan McBride in 3:02. He'll face Cumberland Valley sophomore Ben Monn (38-7).

The other Westmoreland County winners Friday were Belle Vernon senior Zach Hartman (160) and junior Scott Joll (170), and Kiski Area seniors Noah Levett (138) and heavyweight Isaac Reid.

Hartman (42-1) blanked Emmaus senior Caden Wright, 6-0; and Joll (41-3) edged Downingtown West sophomore Maximus Hale, 5-1.

Levett (42-4) toppled Erie McDowell senior Leno Ciotti, 8-3, and Reid (21-0) recorded his second first-period fall, this time pinning Lower Dauphin junior Kyler Wuester at 1:11.

Also earning a spot in the medal rounds were: Penn-Trafford junior Nick Coy (132) and senior Job Chishko (145), Kiski Area junior Cam Connor (145), Hempfield senior Luke Kemerer (152) and Greensburg Salem senior Jesse Quatse (170). Quatse earned his 100th career victory.

All three Fayette County wrestlers — Albert Gallatin senior Tim Wallace (182), Connellsville senior Nate Ansell (195) and Laurel Highlands senior Ian Edenfield — reached the semifinals.

Shaler junior Ryan Sullivan (112) and North Hills sophomore Sam Hillegas (126), both top seeds, also advanced to the semifinals, along with second-seeded Logan Macri of Canon-McMillan.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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