Hempfield edges Seneca Valley on criteria to reach WPIAL semifinals

Thursday, February 1, 2018 | 7:32 AM

Hempfield wrestling coach Vince DeAugustine knew advancing to the WPIAL Class AAA team semifinals would be a challenge.

He didn't know it would take a rule book decision to determine a winner between his Spartans and No. 4 Seneca Valley on Wednesday.

The No. 5-seeded Spartans rallied for a 32-31 victory after gaining the extra point by criteria E, most six-point wins.

After Hempfield sophomore Dillon Ferretti's 10-3 win against Nick Funovits at 220 pounds tied the score at 31-31 in the final bout, officials had to look through the rule book and criteria formula to determine the winning team.

Hempfield (18-1) advanced to face No. 1 Canon-McMillan at noon Saturday in the semifinals at Trinity. Kiski Area and Waynesburg will meet in the other semifinal.

The winners will then compete for the WPIAL championship at 2 p.m.

The Spartans advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating West Allegheny, 47-24, while Seneca Valley needed to rally to defeat Franklin Regional, 37-23, in the first round.

“Seneca Valley is a good team, and I knew it would take a good effort to beat them,” DeAugustine said. “We knew all Dillon had to do was win after Justin (Cramer) didn't get pinned at 195. Tommy Abraham not getting pinned against one of their better wrestlers at 170 was also huge.”

Freshman heavyweight Isaiah Vance and senior Dallyn Wood (160) collected pins for the Spartans, and senior Luke Kemerer was awarded a forfeit at 145 after the Seneca Valley wrestler at the weight was injured against Franklin Regional.

“It wouldn't have mattered because the kid from Hempfield would have probably gotten a pin anyway,” Seneca Valley coach Kevin Wildrick said. “We didn't wrestle well against Franklin Regional, but looked a lot better against Hempfield.”

Each team won seven bouts. Seneca Valley got pins from state runner-up Louis Newell at 120 and Jason Geyer at 126.

Geyer's 20-second pin gave Seneca Valley a boost.

“Jason is a goer,” Wildrick said. “He'll catch kids sometimes. That was big for us.”

Geyer's pin seemed to shock Hempfield, which was forced to come from behind the rest of the match.

Freshman Ty Linsenbigler turned things around for the Spartans with a win, but it was Wood's pin that tied the score at 25 with four bouts left.

“Coach told me to get a cradle and pin the kid,” Wood said. “I kept working and working and finally got it. It's exciting going to the semifinals.”

Colin Choby picked up another big win for the Spartans at 182, a 3-1 decision against Patrick Johnson which set up the exciting final bouts.

“I was worried about this match,” DeAugustine said. “Seneca Valley has a really good program.

“We didn't expect Jared (Brean) to get pinned (by Geyer), but we talked to the guys after that happened and told them somebody had to pick up the slack. We fought and scrapped for every point.”

Ferretti admitted he was nervous stepping on to the mat, but after the bout started he got comfortable and did his job.

Now Hempfield will try to advance to the PIAA tournament, needing only a win Saturday to qualify.

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

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