Kiski Area wrestlers storm past Greensburg Salem into WPIAL semifinals

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018 | 11:36 PM


Kiski Area wrestlers fully plugged in to watch Bobby Lawrence's 126-pound bout during the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals Wednesday, the final matchup of the Cavaliers' tilt with Greensburg Salem.

And when Lawrence scored the winning takedown over Colt Rubrecht in sudden-victory overtime, they leapt to their feet in delight.

Lawrence's victory didn't factor into the outcome of the match, a 62-6 Kiski Area victory that sent the defending WPIAL champion Cavaliers to the semifinals Saturday against Waynesburg, but it still meant a lot.

“Halfway through Bobby's match, I forgot we were up by like 60 points,” senior Danny Starr said. “We all just get so into it, and he wrestled a great match.”

Kiski Area rode its “band of brothers” team motto to the WPIAL title in 2017, and although the Cavaliers swapped it out for “built on tradition” this season, they still vouch for the old saying's merits.

“We care about every one of our guys,” coach Chris Heater said. “Back in the old days, it used to be the heavyweight that didn't get the love at the end. Now with the random draw, it just happened to be (Lawrence). He works so hard and gives us everything he has. Everything he's doing is for the team and for his brothers on the team.”

No. 2 Kiski Area, which will meet No. 3 Waynesburg in the semifinals at noon Saturday at Trinity, dominated its two matches Wednesday. The Cavaliers won 11 of 14 bouts in their 54-12 first-round victory over Thomas Jefferson, then claimed 13 bouts in the quarterfinal triumph over Greensburg Salem.

Between the two matches, 12 bouts came with bonus points attached, and an additional five forfeits helped the Cavaliers roll.

“It's going to be great wrestling Saturday,” Lawrence said. “We'll see how that goes.

“Everyone wants another ring, so the coaches keep us motivated every day and the team comes together and just wins.”

After Thomas Jefferson took a quick 6-0 lead in the first round with a pin, Kiski Area responded by winning six consecutive matches — getting three pins in a row from Cam Connor, Jack Blumer and Nick Delp — to take control. Troy Kuhn and Darren Miller added pins later in the match.

The Cavaliers, who beat Greensburg Salem, 53-9, in the Section 1-AAA tournament last week, didn't give the Golden Lions much of a chance for a different result in the rematch.

Jared Curcio opened the quarterfinal with a 35-second pin of Greensburg Salem's Connor Moore at 132 pounds, and Noah Levett, Connor, Blumer and Delp followed with victories — including another pin by Blumer — to give Kiski Area a commanding 24-0 lead.

Jesse Quatse gave Greensburg Salem a brief reprieve with a pin at 170, but Kiski Area responded by winning the final seven bouts. Kuhn got another pin, Logan Pollick won by technical fall and Danny Starr, Sammy Starr and Dom Giordano secured major decisions.

Lawrence finished it off with his overtime victory.

“It felt really good,” Danny Starr said. “It's just one of the first steps towards hopefully a repeat WPIAL title, which is our goal. To be in our home gym and smack them like that, it felt really good as a team.”

Greensburg Salem outlasted North Allegheny in the first round, as Nico Williams fought off the pin attempts of Freddy Junko in the final bout to preserve the Golden Lions' victory.

It was the 200th win of coach Randy Parsley's career.

Although Kiski Area is seeking the first back-to-back WPIAL titles in school history, Heater isn't looking ahead that far.

To get there, the Cavaliers need to beat Waynesburg.

No. 1 Canon-McMillan and No. 5 Hempfield will face off in the other semifinal Saturday, with the winners advancing to the championship match at 2 p.m

“Obviously, we've got to take them one at a time here,” Heater said. “Our focus right now will be Waynesburg. These guys, they've got tunnel vision right now. It's a good time to have that, and right now they're just focused on wrestling.”

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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