Kiski Area qualifies 11 wrestlers for WPIALs at Section 1-3A tournament

Saturday, February 26, 2022 | 9:07 PM

As a wrestler, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done throughout the season. It matters what you accomplish during the postseason.

Even though the Kiski Area wrestling program didn’t finish the way it wanted during the WPIAL team championships, the Cavaliers were well represented during the individual Section 1-3A tournament Saturday at Kiski Area.

The Cavaliers had 10 of their 11 wrestlers qualify for the WPIAL/PIAA Southwest Class 3A Regional tournament March 4-5 at Canon-McMillan.

Senior Enzo Morlacci (27-4) headlined the Cavaliers who qualified for the WPIAL tournament. Morlacci defeated Penn-Trafford senior Wesley Stull by a 14-2 major decision in the 160-pound weight class.

“I love the process it takes to get to the end goal. One thing I’ve been trying to do is enjoy the process with how everything builds onto one another. I think I’m peaking at the right time. I’ve never felt better out there on the mat,” Morlacci said.

Morlacci, a two-time section champion, took a 5-0 lead after the first period. After building a 9-2 lead after two, he scored five more points in the third.

“I wanted to go have fun and score points as much as I can. I’ve started to use some things that I learned the last couple of weeks,” Morlacci said.

Senior heavyweight Stone Joseph joined Morlacci on top of the podium as the only other Cavalier to win his weight class. Joseph beat Penn-Trafford junior Joe Enick by an 8-4 decision.

The Cavaliers had four wrestlers finish second: Ryan Klingensmith (126), Logan Bechtold (138), Mark Gray (152) and Carter Dilts (215).

Ethan Connor (145) finished third, and Clayton Cramer (106), Noah Henry (120) and Evan Artman (172) placed fifth.

“I’m very happy with our performance today. Some of our guys wrestled really well. The guys on our team are very team-oriented. You just hope when you transition to the individual part of the season that these guys individually and for themselves want to set goals and get after it,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said.

“They’ve worked hard since we dropped out of the team championship when we lost to Connellsville. We worked hard on cleaning some stuff up over the last three weeks. I’m not surprised by their performance, but it’s hard because a match could take a turn on you. We set a standard, and I love seeing the guys wrestle up to that standard and expectation,” Heater said.

Kiski Area nearly had all 11 wrestlers qualify, but Amari McNeil finished sixth at 113 pounds.

The top five finishers in each weight class qualify for the regional tournament.

Franklin Regional and Indiana finished the day with the most champions — three.

Franklin Regional senior Finn Solomon (30-2), an N.C. State recruit, captured his fourth section title after pinning Highlands senior Jrake Burford at 3 minutes, 48 seconds in the 145-pound championship bout.

“I thought I wrestled really well. It was fun to have a bunch of my teammates qualify. It’s hard to win sections four times. I beat a lot of kids to do it. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s a really cool accomplishment,” Solomon said.

“I wanted to open up my offense and score as many points as possible so I feel confident going into next week.”

Nathan Stone (138) and Juliano Marion (189) joined Solomon as the Panthers to win their weight classes.

Indiana was represented by the trio of Nico Fanella (106), Caster Putt (113) and Danny Turner (152), who all won their first section titles.

Penn-Trafford’s Troy Hohman (120) and Hayden Coy (126) won their second section titles.

Armstrong joined Penn-Trafford and Kiski Area with two winners as Connor Jacobs (172) and Corbin Johnston (215) won their weight classes.

Plum’s Vincent Citrano, who earned his 100th win during the event, captured the 132-pound title after a 12-4 major decision over Highlands’ Brayden White.

Highlands, Franklin Regional, Armstrong and Penn-Trafford each had seven wrestlers qualify for the WPIAL tournament. Plum and Fox Chapel had six wrestlers, and Indiana and Hampton had four.

Gateway had three wrestlers qualify, and Penn Hills and Woodland Hills had one apiece.


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