Kiski Area’s Cooper Roscosky wins WPIAL title; pair from Plum headed to states

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Saturday, March 2, 2024 | 9:39 PM


Kiski Area sophomore Cooper Roscosky has one-upped his brother, Braydon.

With his 4-2 overtime win against Norwin senior Nathan Campbell, Cooper became the first in the family to win a WPIAL Class 3A title. He claimed the 189-pound title at the WPIAL Class 3A wrestling championships at Canon-McMillan.

Now his focus turns to the PIAA tournament, which begins March 7 at Giant Center in Hershey.

“Hopefully, I get a good seed,” Roscosky said. “It always feels good to be at the top of the podium. I thought I held back a little bit. I’m going into the tournament with some confidence. The WPIAL is a good region, and I want to get to the top of that podium.”

Roscosky was protecting a 2-1 lead in the third period and was called for stalling and a penalty point to tie the score.

In overtime, he went after Campbell and secured the winning takedown.

“I wish it would have been a little less stressful,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “But a win is a win, and we’ll take it.”

Kiski Area had three other placewinners, but only Roscosky is headed east. Only the top four finishers advanced to the state tournament.

Junior Mark Gray placed fifth at 172, sophomore Abrahm Taylor was seventh at 215 and junior heavyweight Ruder Ekas placed eighth.

Plum had four placewinners and will be sending two to Hershey: Senior Antonio Walker placed third at 152, and senior Joe Tongel was fourth at 172. Senior Rylen Campbell placed sixth at 127, and senior Carson Yocca took sixth at 133.

Connellsville was the team champion with 146.5 points.

Latrobe junior Luke Willochell (38-1) won his third title by defeating Franklin Regional senior Tyler Kapusta, 1-0, at 121.

Willochell is the 89th wrestler in WPIAL to become a three-time champion. He joins Bentworth senior Chris Vargo and Burrell senior Cooper Hornack, who added their names to the list last week.

Willochell got an escape in the second period for the winning point. He wouldn’t allow Kapusta to escape in the third period. He is now 6-0 against Kapusta.

“It was gritty and I got a gritty win,” Willochell said. “I had to ride him out for the last two minutes. I wasn’t looking at the clock. I was working on my ride.

“I usually score on top, but me and Ty have wrested six or seven times so it’s hard to turn kids who have your feel. That’s why I’m excited to get to college.”

Now Willochell is looking forward to states and becoming a possible four-time champion next season.

Before his match, Willochell slapped Butler sophomore Santino Sloboda on his back after his exciting win.

“I was so happy for Santino,” Willochell said. “That’s my training partner and one of my best friends. I told him he was awesome, and then I got ready to go.”

The stunner of the finals came in the second match when Sloboda (36-0) got a reversal with 2 seconds left to defeat Norwin freshman Landon Sidun, 5-4, in the 114-pound final.

Sidun (38-2) was ranked No. 1 in the country.

“Honestly, Landon is seeded No. 1 in the country and he’s really good,” Sloboda said. “I think everyone thought he’d roll through me like all the other kids. But my circle thought differently. I’ve been training for this for a while. It’s been a struggle all season, should I go to 107 or stay at 114. Staying was the right option.”

Sloboda got the first takedown for the early lead, but Sidun got a reversal near the end of the period to tie things up. Sloboda then rode Sidun out in the second period and headed to the final period tied.

Sloboda got an escape and then proceeded to fend off Sidun for the next minute. Sidun got a takedown with 24 seconds left for a 4-3 lead, but Sloboda got a reversal with 2 seconds left for the win.

“I had to make something happen with 20 seconds left,” Sloboda said. “It was a move I hit at practice all of the time. I couldn’t believe I heard the crowd go two.”

Said: Norwin coach Kyle Martin: “Landon didn’t wrestle well. He allowed Santino to dictate the pace. Next week is a new tournament.”

Hempfield senior Eli Carr claimed his second title by defeating West Allegheny senior Nick Jones, 6-0. Carr (32-2) didn’t allow a point in four matches, outscoring his opponents, 28-0.

“I wrestled pretty well this weekend,” Carr said. “I would have liked to score more points in that last match. Nick is a great opponent. That was my goal not allowing any points.

“I’m pretty happy. It represents that work I put in. I want to win a state title, but I just want to go out and have fun.”

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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