Kiski Area wins third straight WPIAL Class AAA wrestling crown

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Saturday, February 2, 2019 | 7:57 PM


Kiski Area is beginning to collect WPIAL championships the way it gets pins: in bunches.

Control of Class AAA wrestling remained firmly with the Cavaliers, who rolled to their third consecutive title with a convincing 49-17 victory over Seneca Valley on Saturday at Norwin. One of the WPIAL’s most consistent programs is making the WPIAL championship match its own: Saturday’s title marked Kiski Area’s fifth, joining ones in 1997, 2003 and the last two seasons.

“I feel like I’m getting a little spoiled,” said junior Jack Blumer, whose first-period pin of Liam Volk-Klos at 160 pounds secured the title with three bouts remaining. “Three for three so far, and I only have one year left, and I want to go four for four. That would be the best feeling ever.”

In becoming the first Class AAA team to three-peat since Canon-McMillan won four in a row from 2010-13, Kiski Area had a dominant performance typical of its season. Six wrestlers got pins as the Cavaliers (15-0) won 10 of the 14 bouts.

Troy Kuhn and Stone Joseph’s match-opening pins set the tone, Dom Giordano’s gave the Cavaliers the lead for good, Cam Connor’s widened the gap, Blumer’s sealed the victory and Nick Delp’s made it a rout.

“Our coaches told us to wrestle tough — everyone has a job, no matter what it is,” Delp said. “Whether it’s shaving points, getting bonus, whatever, we just feed off each other’s energy so one pin leads to many more.”

After beating Canon-McMillan in the final in 2017 and ’18, Kiski Area dispatched the Big Macs, 45-26, in the semifinals earlier Saturday and then took care of business against Seneca Valley.

“We have a lot of guys that have a good taste in their mouth, and they don’t want to let it go,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “I don’t blame them. I know we certainly love it, and it doesn’t get old.”

Kiski Area and Seneca Valley wrestled each other in a December nonsection match at Canon McMillan. That one ended in a 39-32 Kiski Area victory, but a healthier Cavaliers team won the rematch decisively.

“I’d say it’s experience for a lot of guys,” said Connor, a senior. “We’ve been working a lot harder in the (wrestling) room, too. Coach has us practicing really tough. We’re just scrapping out there.”

Seneca Valley made its first appearance in the WPIAL championship match after a 39-36 win over Waynesburg in the semifinals — Seneca Valley forfeited the final four bouts after clinching its spot in the finals — and the Raiders took a 13-12 lead after five matches against Kiski Area. That proved the high-water mark, however, as Kiski Area won eight of the final nine matches.

“Kiski always comes very well-coached, a lot of great wrestlers,” Seneca Valley coach Kevin Wildrick said.

After pins by Kuhn (220 pounds) and Joseph (heavyweight) gave Kiski Area the early edge, Seneca Valley got a sudden-victory decision by Hunter Swedish, a major decision by Dylan Chappell and a pin by Alejandro Herrera-Rondon to take the 13-12 lead.

Then came a Kiski Area avalanche. Giordano’s pin at 126 pounds and Darren Miller’s decision at 132 made it 21-13, Kiski Area. Seneca Valley got a major decision from Drew Vlasnik at 138 to make it 21-17, but then the Cavaliers closed the match with six straight wins.

“We work hard in the room every day just to strive for that goal,” Blumer said. “We’ll go down as one of the best teams in Kiski Area history, winning three, and I’ll always be a part of that.”

Kiski Area, Seneca Valley and Canon-McMillan — a 41-24 winner over Waynesburg in the consolation match — advance to the PIAA tournament, which begins Monday with preliminary-round matches before the first round in Hershey on Thursday.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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