High school wrestling notebook: Hempfield’s Vance gets physical in claiming county title

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019 | 5:54 PM


When Valley senior Dave Schuffert won the 2018 Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association heavyweight title, he outmuscled and pinned Isaiah Vance, a Hempfield freshman.

Vance changed his attack this season, and the result was a lot different.

Vance used an escape and takedown in the third period and defeated Schuffert, Trib HSSN’s No. 1 ranked wrestler in Class AA, 3-2, at the WCCA tournament Saturday. Vance is ranked No. 2 in Class AAA.

“We watched the film from last year and noticed Schuffert was more physical,” Hempfield coach Tommy Dolde said. “So we got Isaiah to be more physical, and Schuffert didn’t like it.”

Vance joined his grandfather, Mike Kirkling, in becoming a county champion. Now he’d like to also join his grandfather as a WPIAL and PIAA champion.

“That’s the goal,” Vance said. “I want to do what my grandfather achieved.”

Joins the club

There haven’t been many fathers and sons win Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association titles.

That list grew by one when Hempfield sophomore Ty Linsenbigler won the 138-pound title on Saturday. He joined his dad, Rich, who won the 125-pound title in 1989. There are now eight.

“I didn’t realize it was 30 years ago,” Ty Linsenbigler said. “Then I started thinking how neat it would be to achieve it.”

WCCA officials and coaches could only come up with seven other fathers/sons to achieve the feat — Chris/Clem Guarlotti, Jim/Jimmy Gulibon, Rick/Eric Svec, Tim/Scott Morgan, Troy/Troy Dolan, Rick/Nathan Pennesi and Lionel Frowen (1958-60) and his sons Jim Mullen (1978) and Scott Mullen (1984-86) from Latrobe.

No laughing matter

Washington junior heavyweight Gerald Comedy is making a name for himself and getting the last laugh.

Comedy is 11-0 with eight pins and won the Steve DeAugustino Memorial tournament at West Mifflin on Dec. 28 and last week won the Tri-County Athletic Directors Association tournament at Trinity.

He has posted impressive wins against Burgettstown junior Riley Kemper, twice, and South Fayette junior Quentin Franklin. Comedy is now No. 1 in the Trib HSSN rankings at heavyweight,

Kemper is ranked No. 3 in Class AA and Franklin No. 4 in Class AAA.

A-K Valley showdown

It will be a battle of No. 1s Friday in the Allie-Kiski Valley when Burrell (Class AA) and Kiski Area (Class AAA) clash in a nonsection match at 7 p.m. at Burrell.

Kiski Area won its fourth consecutive WCCA title and 12 th overall on Saturday, tying the Cavaliers with Greensburg Salem and Latrobe for the most in the tournament’s history.

The Cavaliers had five county champions — Darren Miller (132 pounds), Cam Connor (152), Jack Blumer (160), Nick Delp (170) and Brayden Roscosky (195).

The Bucs finished fourth overall and had two finalists. Ian Oswalt upset Class AAA No. 1 Kurtis Phipps of Norwin, 2-1, at 120. Austin Mele (160) also reached the finals, but lost to Blumer, 2-1.

Former Kiski Area coach Chuck Tursky, now a Cavs’ assistant, started his coaching career at Burrell.

Sleeping Tigers

The North Allegheny wrestling team is flying under the radar this season, but that doesn’t mean the Tigers won’t be a force come playoff time.

The Tigers (7-1, 3-0 Class AAA, Section 3B) won the Penn Cambria tournament last month and finished third behind Brockway and Penns Valley at the Tool City Classic on Saturday.

North Allegheny had four finalists and walked away with three champions — freshman Dylan Coy (106), junior Nick Marcenelle (160) and senior Jon Hoover (170). Sophomore Brady Leczo finished second at 152.

Coy is 16-0, Marcenelle is 16-2, Leczo is 10-2 and Hoover is 18-1.

Other wrestlers to watch are junior Freddy Junko (126), who is 18-4, and junior Ben Grafton (285), who is 9-4.

Kazalas commits

Quaker Valley senior John Rocco Kazalas has made a decision about his future.

Kazalas committed to Division I Binghamton this week

He is a three-time PIAA qualifier who placed sixth in 2017. He is 108-30 overall and 14-2 this season.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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