WPIAL team wrestling championships: Kiski Area beats Moon to move into 1st round

Monday, January 29, 2024 | 10:05 PM

All Kiski Area senior Evan Artman had to do during the final bout of the match against Moon was win.

Artman did more.

He pinned Moon’s Kaiden Kessler in the second period of the WPIAL Class 3A team championship preliminary round to clinch a playoff victory 33-24 and send the Cavaliers to a first-round matchup Wednesday at No. 1 Trinity.

Artman is the only senior who won for the Cavaliers, a team that jumped out to a 12-0 lead thanks to a pin by sophomore Cooper Roscosky (189) and wins by sophomores Abraham Taylor (215) and Alex Akerly (285).

The win was also the 600th combined victory for former Kiski Area coach Chuck Tursky (459), who was on the bench, and current coach Chris Heater (141).

The Cavaliers (8-9) had three freshmen — Dom Roland (114), Jackson Pollick (139) and Travis Shearer (152) — and one other sophomore — John Deluca (133) — collect wins against a scrappy Moon squad.

“We got bonus points and were able to win some close ones,” Heater said. “It was a crazy way the 133-pound match ended in regulation, but I’m glad John got the job done. I told him in overtime he had to work fast and get the takedown, and he did.”

Deluca was protecting a 5-3 lead in the third period when he was called for stalling, and then he accidentally poked the eyes of Joe Maritato trying to fend off an attack.

“I’m proud the way we wrestled,” Moon coach Mike Muraco said. “We battled, and it came down to one match. They were able to win the close ones.”

Bryce Thomas (107), Cael Yanek (121) and Liam Costa (145) had pins for the Tigers (6-4).

Pine-Richland 38, Hempfield 35 — In another 3A preliminary-round match, Pine-Richland got a pin from junior Vaughn Spencer in the final bout of the night and rallied to defeat Hempfield.

The victory puts the Rams (5-3) in a first-round match at 6 p.m. Wednesday at No. 2 Franklin Regional. It was Pine-Richland’s fourth playoff victory and first since 2020, when it defeated Peters Township.

Hempfield, a PIAA qualifier in 2023, led Pine-Richland, 35-28, with two bouts left.

Maclane Miller got a major decision, 13-4, against Pierce Turner at 172. Spencer, a PIAA qualifier last season, pinned Nicholas Marquis.

“We bumped in the upper weights, and it worked out,” Pine-Richland coach Ian Abplanalp said. “We also got a big pin from Rocco Campanella at 145. That gave us a little breathing room.”

The match began at 215 pounds, where Pine-Richland’s Cole Wilson got a pin and heavyweight Sam Harris received a forfeit.

Hempfield (3-9) grabbed a 24-12 lead by getting pins from Nico Kapusta (107), Nathan Caracciolo (114), Ty King (121) and Jake Halsted (127).

Pine-Richland got pins from Dominic Ferraro (139) and Campanella (145) and a major decision by Robert Hoy (145) to take a 28-24 lead.

Then the Spartans got a technical fall from Giovanni Caruso (152) and a pin by Eli Carr (160) for a 35-28 lead.

“We would have liked a matchup between Carr and Miller, but they bumped away from Eli,” Hempfield coach Steve Santia said. “We couldn’t overcome holes in our lineup at 189 and heavyweight. Still, we felt we still had a chance at winning, but things didn’t work out.”

Class 2A

Hampton 38, Avonworth 21 – Dustin Kerr (145) won by fall and Brandon Johnston (152), Alan Danner (160) and Caleb Rihn (172) won decisions as Hampton strung together four straight wins in the middle weights to take control of a WPIAL Class 2A preliminary round match.

Logan Poslusny (133) and Nate Glock (285) also had pins for the Talbots (7-5), who will face Burrell in Wednesday’s first round.

Luke Maddalena (139) had a pin and Michael Tabano (127), Jackson Krul (189) and Tyler Hanny (215) won decisions for Avonworth (6-6).

Laurel 39, Central Valley 36 – Ashton Maine (152), Willie Moore (160), Dom Willis (172) and Jack Miles (189) won by fall in four consecutive weights to lead Laurel (9-9) to a preliminary round win over Central Valley (5-5). Casey Wilson (285) and Logan Ketzel (114) also had pins and Noah Spencer (139) won by decision for the Spartans, who will meet Burgettstown in the first round Wednesday.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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