‘Iron sharpens iron’ for top WPIAL Class AAA wrestling teams at Kiski duals

Thursday, December 19, 2019 | 6:52 PM

Each wrestling season, teams from around the WPIAL seek out opportunities to test themselves against the best competition before the postseason arrives.

On Friday, four of the top five teams in the WPIAL Class AAA — No. 1 Hempfield (7-0), No. 2 Kiski Area (7-0), No. 4. Seneca Valley (2-0) and No. 5 Canon-McMillan (2-0) — will square off against each other at the Kiski Area Quad-Tri Meet.

“It’s going to be crazy around here, but if you’re a wrestling fan, it should be a pretty good crazy,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said.

Each team will wrestle two matches throughout the night. Hempfield and Canon-McMillan will square off in the first match while Kiski Area takes on Seneca Valley. Then, in the second set of matches, Hempfield will face Seneca Valley, while the Cavaliers take on the Big Macs.

Just a year ago, all four teams got together for the dual for the first time as they were the top four schools in WPIAL Class AAA and wanted to test their mettle against the best of the best.

“Part of the reason we put this together was because of the old ‘iron sharpens iron’ adage,” Seneca Valley coach Kevin Wildrick said. “We want to have our kids go against some tough competition and see what we can put together.”

Last season, Kiski won both of their duals by a combined 10 points. They defeated Seneca Valley by seven and took down the Big Macs by three. They were the only team of the four to win both of their matches, and the Cavaliers were able to take a lot from it as well.

“Last year, we won both of ours down at Canon-Mac in the quad,” Heater said. “But I really felt later in the season, we were a much different, much better team than we were at quad time. So I think you are gonna see that same scenario from one or all of the teams.”

The amount of talent that will take the mat tomorrow at Kiski Area is almost endless. It will feature two-time PIAA champion Alejandro Herrera-Rondon from Seneca Valley and the defending 170-pound PIAA champion Gerrit Nijenhuis from Canon-McMillan.

Overall, there will be seven PIAA placers from last season and four other PIAA qualifiers competing. With all of the talent in the room, Canon-McMillan coach Jeff Havelka said it makes for a pretty exciting night.

“I thought it was really good event, especially early in the year,” Havelka said. “We’ve been a rival with Kiski since way back before I started coaching here, and now it seems like we have a pretty healthy rivalry with Seneca Valley too. So it’s definitely a pretty exciting atmosphere.”

Matches will begin at 6:15 p.m. at Kiski Area high school with the second matches of the evening beginning around 8:15 p.m. Junior high teams will compete before the varsity matches beginning at 2:45 p.m.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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