Ohio State recruits beat Penn State recruits, Pa. squad falls at Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic

Saturday, March 25, 2023 | 9:20 PM

Vinny Kilkeary and Rocco Welsh ended their high school careers with wins at the 49th annual Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic on Saturday at Peters Township.

And the future Ohio State commits did it by defeating two Penn State commits. This could be the start of a good wrestling rivalry.

While Kilkeary and Welsh were winners, the strong United States squad handed the Pennsylvania squad a sound 33-9 beating before a standing-room-only crowd.

On hand for the match were former Classic All-Stars Sammy Sasso of Ohio State and Bethel Park grad and Pitt national champion Nino Bonaccorsi, who received a standing ovation.

Kilkeary turned a back trip into a cradle for a four-point move in the third period in his 5-2 victory against Braeden Davis of Dundee, Mich.

The Latrobe senior, the Tribune-Review Westmoreland Wrestler of the Year, was the first Pennsylvania wrestler to win.

Pins by Destiny Rodriguez and Brayden Thompson gave the United States a quick 12-0 lead.

Three more close decisions pushed that lead to 21-0 before Kilkeary stepped on the mat.

“It’s such a great feeling to get that last one done and go to the next level at Ohio State,” Kilkeary said. “I never hit that move, and I said, ‘Oh it’s right there. I have to hit it.’ It’s in my profile. I used it my freshman year to win a match in the quarterfinals.”

Kilkeary said he and Welsh winning made the day good.

“We only won three matches, and Rocco and I took out two Penn State guys,” Kilkeary said. “You can’t be happier to do that.”

Welsh used a takedown in overtime to defeat Joshua Barr of Davison, Mich., 3-1.

“Everything I worked for in my career came true,” Welsh said. “You can’t get too confident. I’ll be back to training Monday.”

Welsh, like Kilkeary, is eager to get started at Ohio State.

“We have a great class coming in, and we’re capable of being No. 1,” Welsh said. “Me and Vinny were talking, and it was nice to beat the Penn State commits.”

Welsh was the Pennsylvania Outstanding Wrestler, and Cael Hughes was Outstanding Wrestler for the United States squad.

Other WPIAL wrestlers competing were Waynesburg’s Mac Church, West Allegheny’s Ty Watters and Chartiers Valley’s Dylan Evans.

Church lost to Koy Buesgens of New Prague, Minn., 1-0; Watters fell 6-5 to Dylan Gilcher of Detroit Central Catholic; and Evans fell 5-3 to Ethan Stiles of Illinois.

Ohio 23, WPIAL 18: The WPIAL saw its two-match winning streak end at the hands of a strong Ohio All-Star team. Ohio leads the overall series 3-2.

West Allegheny senior Nico Taddy had the only pin in the match at 145 pounds.

Other WPIAL winners were Pine-Richland’s Anthony Ferraro at 133, Laurel’s Grant MacKay at 160, Waynesburg’s Brody Evans at 189 and Trinity heavyweight Ty Banco.

Other WPIAL wrestlers competing were Kiski Area’s Isabella DeVito and Ryan Klingensmith, Hempfield’s Ethan Lebin and Lucas Kapusta, Burgettstown’s Joey Sentipal, Canon-McMillan’s Matt Furman and Waynesburg’s Eli Makel.

The Ohio team had two three-time state champions and a two-time state champion.

MacKay, a Pitt commit, was the only state champion on the WPIAL team. His 7-4 victory against Wadsworth’s Chris Earnest earned him Co-Outstanding Wrestler from the WPIAL with Taddy.

Milan Edison’s Max Hermes was the Outstanding Wrestler from Ohio.

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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