Kiski Area edges Hempfield to capture Section 1 championship
By: Paul Schofield
Thursday, January 25, 2018 | 7:39 AM
The Kiski Area wrestling team wears sweatshirts with TEAM on the front.
That exemplifies the way they approach the WPIAL team tournament.
“It takes more than one wrestler to win in the team tournament,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said after the No. 2 Cavaliers defeated No. 4 Hempfield, 40-21, to win the Section 1 title Wednesday.
“When one wrestler falters, someone else steps up. That's what we preach.”
Since the WPIAL started holding the section tournament in 2009, Kiski has won five times, including the past three seasons.
When Kiski defeated Greensburg Salem, 53-9, in the semifinal, Troy Kuhn didn't wrestle well and lost to the Golden Lions' Will Gongaware, 9-5.
But against Hempfield, Kuhn found a way to hold on for an 8-4 victory against the Spartans' Dillon Ferretti in the opening match, which got the Cavaliers off to a good start.
The teams traded blows through the 10 bouts, with Kiski leading 24-21 after Cam Connor fought off a pin attempt by Hempfield's Trevor Verkleeren for a 6-5 victory. Verkleeren had Connor locked in a cradle and on his back for the final 20 seconds, but he never gave up the pin.
“Cam did a great job,” Heater said. “We depend on each other. Hempfield is a good team, and we're going to be in a lot of battles in the coming weeks.”
Kiski then put Hempfield away by winning the final four matches, which was started when Jack Blumer pinned Dallyn Wood in the second period at 160 pounds to up Kiski's lead to 30-21.
Nick Delp then defeated Tommy Abraham, 11-0, giving the Cavaliers a 34-21 advantage. Kiski dominated the upper weights, winning all six bouts.
“I felt we wrestled well,” Hempfield coach Vince DeAugustine said. “We wrestled hard for six minutes, and that's what we needed. I'm not complaining about our effort.”
If Hempfield won the 220-pound match and Verkleeren got the pin, that would have changed things.
Logan Pollick edged Hempfield's Colin Choby, 1-0, at 182, and Danny Starr blanked Justin Cramer, 3-0, to finish off the match.
“We wrestled with a lot of heart,” DeAugustine said. “That's the type of effort we'll need moving forward.”
Hempfield defeated Armstrong, 68-0, in the semifinals.
Greensburg Salem bounced back to grab third place by defeating Armstrong, 52-24.
Golden Lions coach Randy Parsley was pleased his team bounced back after the loss to Kiski Area.
“I don't think there are any better third-place teams out there than us,” Parsley said. “When we're healthy, I feel we can go with anyone.
“We were in a lot of close matches against Kiski. We just have to find ways to win those types of matches.”
The WPIAL team tournament gets underway Monday with preliminary-round matches.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.