Kiski Area picks up two sub-section wins ahead of Powerade wrestling tournament

Thursday, January 28, 2021 | 9:29 PM

The Kiski Area wrestling team still is trying to find its identity in a year in which the coronavirus pandemic has caused it to pause and restart multiple times.

But, over the course of the past week, the Cavaliers finally started to get back on the mat. They hosted the Cavalier Duals last weekend, going 2-3 against some of the top schools in the area. Then, on Thursday, they earned two Section 1A-AAA wins over Highlands (63-11) and Armstrong (41-29).

“These are subsection matches, so these are important to us, and we still have a lot of things with this young team that we are trying to improve on,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “Some things are showing signs of improvement, and some things we still have some work to do. These are competitive matches for our young group, so it’s good to see that.”

The Cavaliers tallied eight pins, two technical falls and won six matches via forfeit, and Heater liked what he saw for the most part.

“These guys are scrapping more, but there are still guys that are giving up some falls that need to battle more,” Heater said. “I mean we are who we are, and we can become a better team as long as we continue to work and show improvement out there. I had some places where I was pleased tonight and some places where we still need to work on.”

The Cavaliers gave up five pins between the two matches and two technical falls.

Junior Ethan Connor (138) was one Kiski Area wrestler who shined in both dual meets. Against Armstrong, he battled to a 7-0 decision over Dylan Wolfe, but in his first match of the evening, he out-maneuvered Highlands’ Jrake Burford in a 9-7 decision.

Burford was WPIAL Class AA runner-up at 138 pounds last season, losing to Burrell’s Ian Oswalt.

Both wrestlers went back and forth throughout the three-period match, but Connor looked like the better-conditioned wrestler and took advantage.

“He didn’t do anything that’s not in his wheelhouse, and he went to the things that he’s good at,” Heater said of Connor. “I thought he stayed in good position and scored when opportunities were there. Then when he smelled blood, he picked it up a little bit. I really thought that was one of the better matches I’ve seen him wrestle.“

Sophomore 120-pounder Ryan Klingensmith picked up a 23-7 technical fall victory over Armstrong’s Braden Trumbull and escaped out of a few tight situations in the process.

Heater said Klingensmith (11-0) has shown improvement in his maturity.

“When he got put on his back twice then got the reversal and got on top, he was aggressive but he wasn’t out of control,” Heater said. “He didn’t let his anger take over who he was out there and then he just started scoring points. That shows the maturity from this year to last year.”

The Cavaliers now turn their attention to the Powerade wrestling tournament this weekend at the Monroeville Convention Center. Kiski Area seniors Sammy Starr (172) and Brayden Roscosky (189) earned top-five seeds in their respective weight classes.

“We’re certainly going to have our hands full this weekend,” Heater said. “Even though it’s a different structured tournament it’s still going to be a super-competitive tournament.”

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

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