Gateway wrestlers cap season at WPIAL championships

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Sunday, March 13, 2022 | 12:01 PM


Arontay Heningcamp’s debut match at the WPIAL/Southwest Regional Class 3A wrestling tournament didn’t exactly go the way he had hoped.

The Gateway junior suffered an 8-0 major decision loss to Chartiers Valley junior Brady Joling in the first round.

But instead of folding his tent, Heningcamp bounced back and scored a close victory in the first round of consolations.

He added another consolation bracket win before bowing out in the consolation quarterfinals to finish eighth overall.

“For Arontay, being his first time at WPIALs, it was really good for him to go there and get a couple wins,” Gateway coach Ryan Sula said.

“It was a good experience that he can build on for the future.”

Heningcamp met Butler’s Kelley Schaukowitsch in his first consolation bout, and he grabbed a 2-0 lead with a first-period takedown.

Schaukowitsch then cut the lead in half with an escape.

Neither wrestler picked up a point in the second period before Schaukowitsch tied it with an escape early in the third.

With the bout knotted at 2-2, Heningcamp fired in from neutral with 20 seconds left to pick up a takedown for the deciding two points in the 4-2 victory.

“Getting that last takedown for the win really gave him some confidence,” Sula said.

“A lot of the matches at WPIALs are going to be close because you are talking the top 20 wrestlers in the region at each weight class. Just going down there and knowing he could compete and win a close match like that was a huge positive for him.”

Heningcamp met up with Plum’s Sam Snyder in the consolation quarterfinals. The only point scored in the bout went to Snyder when Heningcamp was called for stalling twice in the second period.

He chose the down position to start the third period, but wasn’t able to score an escape to tie the bout.

Heningcamp capped his junior season at 25-11 overall with four pins, one major decision and one technical fall to his credit.

He punched his ticket to the WPIAL/Southwest Regional with a third-place finish at the Section 1 tournament. He went 1-1 in the championship bracket before capturing two matches in the consolation rounds.

“Through wins this year, he realized what he’s really good at in the sport, and in the losses, he saw what he still needs to work on,” Sula said.

“I know he’s going to work on a lot of things in the offseason to be ready for his senior year.”

Freshman Luke Pawlowski (120) and junior Floyd McKenna (172) also qualified for WPIALs after both placed fourth at the Section 1 tournament.

Both found themselves on the short end of pigtail results. Pawlowski suffered an 8-4 loss to Ringgold’s Noah Mimidis, while McKenna was pinned by Trinity’s Nick Fedorchak in 4:36.

“It was nice to see Luke make WPIALs as a freshman to let him know that what he was able to do in his first varsity year paid off,” Sula said.

“Taking steps forward for any of our guys is what we want to see.”

Five Gateway wrestlers captured at least 10 victories this season, led by Heningcamp and McKenna (21-10). McKenna led the team with 13 pinfall victories.

Luke Pawlowski and his brother, sophomore Jake Pawlowski (189), each finished their seasons with 14-12 marks.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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