Last-second losses doom Hempfield in PIAA team tournament quarterfinals

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Friday, February 10, 2023 | 7:11 PM


HERSHEY – An unbelievable postseason came to an end Friday for the Hempfield Area wrestling team, but it was not from a lack of effort.

The Spartans dropped a heartbreaking 31-28 decision to Central Mountain in the PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals and fell to Chambersburg, 32-31, in the consolation round at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Three last-second losses cost Hempfield in the quarterfinals.

Central Mountain ended the Spartans’ run by getting one-point wins late in matches from Braylen Corter (152), Jagger Pardoe (121) and Griffin Walizer (145) for a 3-point victory.

“I’m so proud of these guys the way they came here and competed,” Hempfield coach Vince DeAugustine said. “Actually, they competed the last month. We continued to get better in each and every match. When the competition got better, the wins were a little tougher.”

DeAugustine said he knew the matchup against Central Mountain would be tough, so he adjusted his lineup.

“We put all our eggs in the basket trying to win that quarterfinal-round match,” DeAugustine said. “We made some lineup changes that we needed to win that match. We were in a position to win it.

“But, with this team, if you make one mistake, then it can cost you a match. We were fortunate enough leading into today and were able to overcome those mistakes. We made a couple mistakes in the quarterfinal match, and it cost us.”

Hempfield (11-6) put itself in great position to win the match thanks to pins by Elijah Binakonsky (215), Nico Kapusta (107) and Ty King (114), a major decision win by Lucas Kapusta (160) and wins by Owen Caracciolo (127) and Pierce Turner (172).

Central Mountain recorded two pins, a forfeit, a major decision and the three one-point decisions.

The match didn’t start well for the Spartans, as Braylen Corter rallied in the final 10 seconds to record a four-point move in a 5-4 win against Charlie Mesich.

In the final match, Central Mountain’s Griffin Walizer got a reversal with four seconds left to edge Eli Carr, 3-2.

“As long as we’re learning from those mistakes,” DeAugustine said. “We have to learn from those situations.”

Against Chambersburg, the Spartans got pins from Lucas Kapusta (160) and a technical fall from Nico Kapusta (107) and Ethan Lebin (133).

But Chambersburg’s dominance in the upper weights was too much for the Spartans to overcome.

Class 3A

Quarterfinals

Central Mountain 31, Hempfield 28

152: Braylen Corter (CM) dec. Charlie Mesich, 6-5.

160: Lucas Kapusta (H) major dec. Gino Serafini, 13-3.

172: Pierce Turner (H) dec. Jacob Weaver, 7-2.

189: Rocco Serafini (CM) pinned Ryan Steffey, :41.

215: Elijah Binakonsky (H) pinned Dakota McDermott, 1:32.

285: Brayden Blackwell (CM) won by forfeit.

107: Nico Kapusta (H) p. Caden Stoner, :13.

114: Ty King (H) p. Collin Bauman, 1:55.

121: Jaggar Pardoe (CM) dec. Nathan Caracciolo, 7-6.

127: Owen Caracciolo (H) dec. Carnell Noone, 8-4.

133: Luke Simcox (CM) major dec. Ethan Lebin, 8-0.

139: Dalton Perry (CM) pinned Logan Williams, :29.

145: Griffin Walizer (CM) dec. Eli Carr, 4-3.

Consolation second round

Chambersburg 32, Hempfield 31

160: Lucas Kapusta (H) pinned Ivan Mixell, :54.

172: Jacob Stoner (Ch) dec. Pierce Turner, 2-0.

189: Aiden Hight (Ch) major dec. Ryan Steffey, 11-1.

215: Zack Evans (Ch) dec. Elijah Binakonsky, 4-2.

285: Avery Kuhns (Ch) won by forfeit.

107: Nico Kapusta (H) tech fall Ben Hoover, 17-2 (3:41).

114: Zach Sherman (Ch) major dec. Ty King, 9-0.

121: Owen Caracciolo (H) dec. Ryan Carter, 8-6.

127: Luke Mentzer (Ch) won by forfeit

133: Ethan Lebin (H) tech fall Ashton Romberger, 21-6 (5:00).

139: Logan Mickey (CH) pinned Logan Williams, 2;24.

145: Eli Carr (H) won by forfeit.

152: Charlie Mesich (H) won by forfeit.

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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