Hempfield rolls over Kiski Area to reach WPIAL wrestling semifinals

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 | 9:36 PM

Hempfield didn’t look sharp in its first match Wednesday in the WPIAL Class AAA team tournament.

But the Spartans were a different team in the quarterfinals against No. 5 Kiski Area.

Fourth-ranked Hempfield won the coin toss, which allowed coach Tommy Dolde to dictate matchups, and his team did the rest, rolling over Kiski Area, 48-23, to advance to the semifinals.

Hempfield (19-2) defeated Chartiers Valley, 56-15, in a first-round match, and Kiski Area downed South Fayette, 56-14. It was Kiski Area coach Chris Heater’s 100th career win.

Hempfield defeated Kiski Area, 34-31, for the Section 1 title a week ago. But this went Hempfield’s way early.

The match started at 120 pounds, and junior Ethan Berginc, shaking of a knee injury, pinned Conner Murray to give the Spartans a 6-0 lead.

After Hempfield forfeited at 126, Dolde bumped up his lineup.

Lucas Kapusta got a pin a 132, and Nolan Daerr a pin a 138 to give the Spartans an 18-6 lead.

“Winning the toss was huge,” Dolde said. “We had an extra move that we didn’t use the last match. The last time from 126-138, they outscored us 7-6. We reversed that, and we came out ahead. It was a seven-point swing in our favor.”

Ty Linsenbigler then kept the momentum going with a 4-3 come-from-behind win against Enzo Morlacci at 145, and Trevor Verkleeren quieted the Kiski Area crowd when he pinned Sammy Starr at 152 to put Hempfield up 27-6.

“When Trevor got the pin over Sammy, that was it,” Dolde said. “I knew we were in great shape. Ty coming back and getting that takedown was big. Ty gave us some momentum going into Trevor’s match. Everyone wrestled outstanding for us.”

Kiski Area got to within 27-23 by getting a pin by Jack Blumer (160), a forfeit by Nick Delp (170) and wins by Jared Curcio (182) and Brayden Roscosky (195), but Hempfield won the final four bouts, including pins by Dillon Ferretti (220) and Isaiah Vance (285).

Dolde said Julian Chillinsky, even though he dropped a close match, wrestled well when he bumped up to 182.

“Losing the toss allowed them to make moves,” Heater said. “It just didn’t go well, and we had things get away from us. We’ve been on the other side of those kinds of matches. It got away from us.

“I’m happy to get my 100th win but I’d rather we would that second match.”

This is the first time since 2015 that Kiski Area didn’t make the semifinals.

Hempfield returns to the semifinals for the first time since 2009.

“When I wrestled him last week, I was confident I could beat him,” Verkleeren said. “I’m so proud of the team. Everyone did their job.”

Hempfield will wrestle No. 1 Waynesburg at 4 p.m. at Norwin on Saturday. Waynesburg defeated Latrobe, 49-15.

Canon-McMillan and Seneca Valley meet in the other semifinal match.

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

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