Latrobe’s Vinny Kilkeary, Waynesburg’s Mac Church win 3rd WPIAL titles
Saturday, March 4, 2023 | 2:02 PM
Latrobe senior Vinny Kilkeary and Waynesburg senior Mac Church joined an elite group Saturday at the WPIAL/PIAA Southwest Regional Class 3A wrestling tournament at Canon-McMillan High School.
They became the 86th and 87th members of the three-time WPIAL champions club.
Kilkeary (25-0) won his third consecutive title by dominating Canon-McMillan junior Andrew Binni, 10-4, in the 127-pound final.
It was a match that saw Binni use little offense and wrestle near the edge of the mat.
Kilkeary kept the pressure on and came away with four takedowns. Binni’s points came on escapes.
“I definitely feel I left some points on the mat in the finals,” Kilkeary said. “It happens. It was hard to score because he wrestled a certain way. I changed my style a little.
“If you look back at the records of people who were three- and four-time champions and see what they did in college, I feel it’s a huge leap in my career. I just want to keep moving forward.”
Church defeated West Allegheny senior Nico Taddy, 8-3, in the 145-pound final. His previous titles came in 2020 and 2022.
Latrobe sophomore Luke Willochell claimed his second consecutive WPIAL Class 3A title with a heard-earned 5-4 victory against Franklin Regional junior Tyler Kapusta at 114 pounds.
Willochell, who gave up a reversal, used a takedown in the third period to pull out the win. It was the third time this season that Willochell has defeated Kapusta.
“We’ve wrestled three times this year, and he’s got my number a little bit,” Willochell said of Kapusta. “He had a good gameplan. It was good to pull out the win and claim another title.
“It’s awesome to win another title. I’m on the board at school with guys like Luke Pletcher, Zac Zavatsky and Vinny Kilkeary and guys like that. To be in the conversation like that with those guys is amazing.”
Waynesburg senior Rocco Welsh (172 pounds) captured his second consecutive title with a default victory against Canon-McMillan senior Matt Furman. He was leading 12-3 when the match was stopped by Canon-McMillan coach Brian Krenzelak.
Welsh (39-0) was named the outstanding wrestler.
Two other wrestlers, Hempfield senior Ethan Lebin and Chartiers Valley senior Dylan Evans, were denied their second titles.
Lebin dropped a 2-1 decision to Thomas Jefferson sophomore Maddox Shaw at 133, and Evans fell to West Allegheny junior Shawn Taylor, 3-2, in the ultimate tiebreaker.
Canon-McMillan junior Tanner Mizenko wasn’t pleased with his seeding or ranking this season. So the No. 2 seed went out and showed people what he was made of when he pinned No. 1 seed and unbeaten Butler freshman Santino Sloboda in the second period of the 107-pound weight class.
Kiski Area senior Ryan Klingensmith won his first WPIAL title by easily whipping Chartiers Valley senior Brad Joling, 11-2. Klingensmith used a five-point move (reversal and three-point nearfall) in the second period to take a commanding lead.
Winning their first titles were Hempfield junior Eli Carr (139), West Allegheny senior Ty Watters (152), Pine-Richland sophomore Vaughn Spencer (189), Waynesburg senior Eli Makel (215) and Trinity senior heavyweight Ty Banco.
Carr used a five-point move in the last 15 seconds to stun Latrobe senior Nate Roth, 6-5. Roth used a five-point move in the third period to take a 5-1 lead.
“There was a blood timeout, and coach (Vince DeAugustine) told me don’t stop moving and keep creating motion and that’s what I did. I found myself on top, and I figured I had to go with something and I got the cross wrist and said go for it and I went with the cross-wrist tilt, and it paid off.”
Watters jumped on Hempfield senior Luca Kapusta early and recorded a pin.
Spencer (27-0) continued to shine with a 5-1 win against Waynesburg junior Brody Evans.
Makel showed why he’s the top 215 pounder in the WPIAL with a 5-1 victory against Armstrong senior Connor Jacobs, and Banco used a hip toss to pin Penn-Trafford senior Joe Enick in the first period.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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