HERSHEY — Latrobe freshman Vincent Kilkeary continued his stunning run through the PIAA Class AAA individual wrestling tournament.
Now he finds himself in the finals Saturday night at the Giant Center.
Kilkeary scored 11 points in the third period and rallied for a thrilling 14-10 victory against tournament favorite Ty Kasak of Bethlehem Catholic at 106 pounds. Kilkeary got a reversal and three-point nearfall in the final seven seconds.
When the match ended, he jumped into the air, pumped his fist and then jumped into the arms of coach Mike Ciotti.
“I still have one more match to go,” Kilkeary said. “Winning this hasn’t hit me yet.”
Kilkeary will face Cathedral Prep sophomore Jacob Van Dee in the 106-pound final at 7 p.m.
Senior teammate Gabe Willochell came up to Kilkeary after the match and told him he was sorry he missed the final seconds.
“I left when he got the takedown to warm up,” Willochell said.
Entering the semifinals, Kasak had only allowed a single point in nine consecutive matches. He allowed more in two matches than he did all season after Waynesburg freshman Mac Church pinned him in the consolation semifinals.
Kilkeary is one of 13 WPIAL wrestlers who advanced to the finals, including all-WPIAL matchups at 126, 138, 182 and 195 pounds.
Hempfield junior Ethan Berginc continued his impressive tournament by defeating Easton sophomore Braxton Appello, 5-2. He’ll face Cedar Cliff junior Aiden Lewis in the 113 final.
Berginc, with blood running from his nose, said he’s been wrestling well the past two weeks.
“I believe everything happens for a reason,” Berginc said. “God always has a plan. Whatever happens, happens. I just want to wrestle my best.”
Like Kilkeary, Berginc has taken down highly-ranked wrestlers along the way. Berginc is the only wrestler in Class AAA to reach the finals after wrestling in the preliminary round.
The four all-WPIAL matches are: Norwin senior Kurtis Phipps vs. Waynesburg freshman Rocco Welsh at 126 pounds, North Hills senior Sam Hillegas and Waynesburg junior Wyatt Henson at 138, Canon-McMillan senior Gerrit Nijenhuis vs. Peters Township’s Donovan McMillon at 182; and Mt. Lebanon senior Luke Stout vs. Bethel Park senior Luke Montgomery at 195.
The other WPIAL finalists are Seneca Valley junior Dylan Chappell (120), Mt. Lebanon Mac Stout (170) and Hempfield junior heavyweight Isaiah Vance.
Falling in the semifinals were Seneca Valley junior Alejandro Herrera-Rondon, a two-time state champion at 132, Willochell (132), Norwin junior John Altieri (138), Connellsville sophomore Jared Keslar (145), Waynesburg junior Luca Augustine (160), Kiski Area senior Jack Blumer (160), Belle Vernon sophomore Cole Weightman (220) and Greensburg Salem senior John Meyers (220).
There are 34 WPIAL wrestlers in Class AAA who will return home with medals.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .