Kiski Area’s Morlacci plays starring role at states, reaching Class 3A semifinals

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Friday, March 11, 2022 | 10:08 PM


HERSHEY – Kiski Area senior Enzo Morlacci is a filmmaker.

That’s what he plans to pursue after high school instead of going to college and wrestling.

So far, Morlacci’s final high school tournament has been a blockbuster.

Morlacci won his third match of the PIAA Class 3A championships Friday at the Giant Center and advanced to the semifinals at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. He’ll face a familiar opponent, Connellsville senior Jared Keslar, in the 160-pound semis.

Morlacci (35-6), who de-committed from Lehigh University, rolled past Nazareth senior Ryan Fairchild, 11-6, in the quarterfinals. Keslar defeated Council Rock South senior Matt Colajezzi, 5-3.

Keslar and Morlacci have split their matches with Morlacci winning 3-1 on Dec. 11 and Keslar winning 11-5 on Dec. 20 at Powerade. Since Powerade, Keslar has won 26 consecutive matches.

“Two more is the goal,” Morlacci said. “We’ve met before; it should be a good one. A good semifinal-round match, I’m excited.”

Morlacci jumped out early on Fairchild with a takedown and a two-point near fall for a 4-0 lead.

“The job is not done yet,” Morlacci said. “It feels good to be in the semis, so I have some things to work on. A lot people have pitched in during the season and it’s a great place to be.”

Morlacci said the key was just wrestling and not stopping.

“Enzo is wrestling pretty well right now,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “Obviously, this is the time to put it all together. He looks good on his feet, top and bottom, but we have to correct our stops. That’s fixable.

“I just asked him to relax and open up. Just have fun and cut it loose and be himself.”

Keslar had a close battle in the quarterfinals, defeating Colajezzi, who was ranked No. 1 in the state prior to his loss in last week’s Southeast final.

Highlands senior Jrake Burford (37-11) saw his season come to an end, falling to Central Mountain sophomore Griffin Walizer, 2-1, allowing a reversal at the buzzer.

In Class 2A, Burrell sophomore Cooper Hornack was hoping to reach finals for the second consecutive season, but that dream ended in the quarterfinals with a 12-4 loss to Wyoming Area junior Jaden Pepe, the top seed.

Hornack, however, bounced back in the consolation round, winning his blood round match, 3-2 over Chestnut Ridge senior Ross Dull.

He followed that with a 9-2 win against Brookville freshman Cole Householder in the fourth round of consolations. He then faced Bentworth sophomore Chris Vargo in Round 5 and used an escape in overtime for a 2-1 win.

“That’s who I wanted,” Hornack said. “One of my goals was to be a four-time WPIAL champion and (Vargo) took it away from me. This one was personal.

“Consolations in states are brutal – match after match. You can catch the kids off guard who lose in the semis. I came back with confidence, and I wanted it more. This weight class has to be the toughest in the state.”

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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