Kiski Area to wrestle Bethlehem Catholic for PIAA title Saturday

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Friday, February 9, 2018 | 11:33 PM


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HERSHEY — It has been 15 years since Kiski Area wrestled for a PIAA championship.

That streak will end Saturday when the WPIAL champion Cavaliers take the mat against District 11 power Bethlehem Catholic in the Class AAA final.

Kiski Area (23-1) posted two impressive victories at Giant Center on Friday to earn a spot in the championship match.

First, the Cavaliers demolished returning PIAA champion Nazareth, 40-21. Then they took care of WPIAL rival Seneca Valley, 42-26.

Bethlehem Catholic, the top-ranked team in the state by PA Power Wrestling, defeated Erie Cathedral Prep, 33-26.

“It's going to take our best effort,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “I thought the Nazareth match was our best match of the season as a team. We'll need to take that or even a little better.”

Kiski Area lost to Bethlehem Catholic, 32-18, in last year's PIAA tournament and placed third by defeating Erie Cathedral Prep.

The rematch is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at Giant Center.

Bethlehem Catholic (16-1), which won its fifth state title in 2016, is led by Nathan Lackman (106 pounds), Matt Lackman (120), Kenny Herrmann (126), Jared Papcsy (132), Ryan Anderson (138), Cole Handlovic (145), Luca Frinzi (152), Mikey Lewis (160) and Robert Spezza (195), who are all ranked among the top 10 in the state.

Kiski Area will again have to be at its best.

Before the tournament, Heater told his team this weekend's event wasn't a three-day vacation. It was a business trip.

The Cavaliers must be good listeners; they were all business against Nazareth in the quarterfinals and Seneca Valley in the semifinals.

The trouncing of Nazareth sent shockwaves through the Giant Center with how easy the Cavaliers made it look.

The Cavaliers got wins from Sammy Starr (106) and Dom Giordano (113) to begin the match, and then a big win from Noah Levett at 138 to tie the score, 9-9. Pins by Cam Connor (145) and Jack Blumer (152) gave them the lead for good, 18-9.

They also got pins from Nick Delp (170), Danny Starr (220) and Isaac Reid (285).

They also got a major decision win from Logan Pollick (182).

“We got bonus points and didn't give up many bonus points,” Heater said. “I feel bad for a kid like Jared Curcio. He doesn't get a win but he wrestle his butt off and prevented bonus points. That's the type of effort we're getting from everyone.”

Kiski Area used pins from Noah Levett (138), Blumer (152), Nick Delp (160), Troy Kuhn (220) and Reid (285) to put away a scrappy Seneca Valley squad.

Heater said he knew his team would struggle after the big win in the afternoon

“I was hoping we came back and had enough spunk in us to take care of this last match,” Heater said. “We worked through it.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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