Frazier’s Rune Lawrence becomes 4-time PIAA wrestling champion

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Saturday, March 9, 2024 | 10:01 PM


HERSHEY – Frazier senior Rune Lawrence surprised many when he stuck the landing on a backflip after his final match Saturday at the Giant Center.

The impromptu move came after his opponent, Muncy junior Austin Johnson, said something to Lawrence following his dominating 6-3 victory at 215 pounds at the PIAA Class 2A wrestling championships.

Lawrence said he was going to shake his hand, but when a couple words were exchanged, he then executed the flip.

“A lot of people thought it would be close, but it wasn’t,” Lawrence said. “I dominated the match, and he said something.”

Lawrence (33-1) became the 14th wrestler to win four PIAA titles and seventh from the WPIAL to do so.

“Sure, I would have liked to pin him, but I’ll take the win,” said Lawrence, who was named outstanding wrestler of the tournament.

The seven wrestlers from the WPIAL to win four times are Waynesburg’s James Conklin, North Allegheny’s Ty Moore, Jefferson-Morgan’s Cary Kolat, McGuffey’s Jeremy Hunter, Derry’s Jimmy Gulibon and Jefferson-Morgan’s Gavin Teasdale.

“You can’t focus on anyone else. It’s just you out there,” Lawrence said. “I visualized this all the time of getting my hand raised four times out here. I think visualization plays a big part of it.

“It becomes a dream, and dreams become goals, and goals become reality.”

The West Virginia commit said winning OW was deserved.

“All my hard work over the years paid off,” Lawrence said.

The WPIAL had four other state champions.

Norwin freshman Landon Sidun won the Class 3A 114-pound title by defeating Ridley junior Curtis Nelson, 6-3.

“I’ve looked forward to this moment all year,” Sidun said. “Finally to get out there and get it out of the way is awesome.”

Sidun said he didn’t think much about his first takedown because he got away right away. He just went about his work.

“I knew my offense would win this match for me,” Sidun said. “I felt him tire out when I was on top of him. I beat him up on top a little bit and made him not want to go as much.”

Thomas Jefferson junior Maddox Shaw claimed the Class 3A 139 title with a 3-1 victory against Central Mountain junior Dalton Perry.

“This feels great to finally win,” Shaw said. “It feels good to get it done. The ceiling is a lot higher for me.”

Pine-Richland junior Vaughn Spencer rallied to defeat Trinity senior Bodie Morgan, 8-4, to claim the 172-pound Class 3A title.

Central Valley senior Brenan Morgan built up a lead and held on to defeat Berks Catholic senior Brody Kline, 6-4, to win the Class 2A heavyweight title. He is the first wrestler from Central Valley to win a state championship.

He joins his dad, Bruce, who was a PIAA champion in 1990 at Cameron County.

“It’s a dream I had since I was young to win states like my dad did,” Morgan said. “I worked real hard and I got it.”

Morgan finished second to Johnson last year, so he decided midseason to test the 285-pound waters, where Lawrence and Johnson weren’t.

Coming up short in the finals were Franklin Regional senior Ty Kapusta, who fell 3-1 in overtime to Bethlehem Catholic sophomore Keanu Dillard at Class 3A 121, and Bentworth senior Chris Vargo, who lost 15-0 to Bishop McCort sophomore Jax Forrest at 127 in Class 2A.

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 pschofield@triblive.com.

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