Hempfield wrestlers make quick work of Allderdice to earn trip to Hershey

Monday, February 6, 2023 | 9:35 PM

It’s official: The Hempfield wrestling team will be headed to Hershey on Thursday to compete in the PIAA Class 3A tournament.

Spartans took all of 22 minutes Monday to defeat Pittsburgh City League champion Allderdice, 72-6, in a preliminary-round match at Carrick.

Hempfield (10-5) will face District 1 champion Pennridge at 6 p.m. Thursday at Giant Center.

This is the third time Hempfield has qualified for the team tournament and the second time it has earned a trip to Chocolate Town. The other time was in 2007 when the Spartans were WPIAL champions.

After Allderdice junior Marcus Wahila gave the Dragons a 6-0 lead thanks to a first-period pin of Logan Wolfe at 189 pounds, the Spartans won the next 12 matches, nine by pin and three by forfeit.

Allderdice is 0-6 all-time in the state playoffs.

Senior Elijah Binakonsky got things started for the Spartans with 21-second pin of Tom Paternoster at 215 to tie the score. Senior heavyweight Ethan Shaw was awarded a forfeit, and freshman Nico Kapusta recorded a 15-second fall of Elysiah Rosario at 107.

The others to record pins were Sean Magill (121), Ethan Lebin (133), Eli Carr (139), Benjamin Aujay (145), Charlie Mesich (152), Lucas Kapusta (160) and Ryan Steffey (172). The other forfeits went to Ty King (114) and Owen Caracciolo (127).

“This is a big win for the team and the program,” Hempfield coach Vince DeAugustine said. “Nobody gave us a chance early in the season, but this group has bought into what we’re teaching.

“They are doing the little things it takes to win close matches. They understand what it takes.”

Hempfield has wrestled well the past few weeks.

The Spartans surprised many when they knocked off Trinity and Butler to qualify for the WPIAL semifinals.

Despite a close loss to eventual champion Canon-McMillan, the Spartans beat rival Connellsville in the third-place match to qualify for the state tournament.

“This is awesome that we’re going to Hershey as a team my senior season,” Lucas Kapusta said. “I didn’t expect this, but these guys worked hard in practice and believed what the coaches were teaching.

“We’re a close group. We had some young guys step up, and we had guys return to the program. We’re all brothers.”

Hempfield reached the semifinals in 2007 after defeating District 1 champion Council Rock South. The Spartans lost to Nazareth in the semis and then to Cumberland Valley in the consolation semifinals.

The Spartans lost to Clearfield in the opening round of the 2009 at Clarion.

“I’m a superstitious guy, so I really didn’t study much about Pennridge,” DeAugustine said. “I knew they have 40 to 45 guys on their roster. We’ll take our 15 and compete with whoever we face.”

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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