Norwin, Franklin Regional, Pine-Richland, Chartiers Valley move on in WPIAL wrestling playoffs

Monday, January 27, 2020 | 9:23 PM

Norwin didn’t have a good Section 1-3A wrestling tournament on Jan. 22, losing twice and finishing fourth.

But the Knights bounced back, winning the Sharon Duals on Saturday and then defeating West Mifflin, 51-18, in the WPIAL Class AAA pigtail round match Monday at Canon-McMillan.

The victory was the 250th of Norwin coach Vince DeAugustine’s career.

Norwin advances to a first-round match on Wednesday at Canon-McMillan against the No. 3 ranked Big Macs.

The Knights (15-4) won seven of the final eight matches, including pins by Carson Handra (103 pounds), Connor Henning (113), Luke Passarelli (120) and Kurtis Phipps (126).

Senior Frankie Gill gave the Knights a big lift early by rallying for a 9-6 victory against Gavin Russo at 160. Gill was trailing 6-3 with a little more than a minute remaining when he reversed Russo and turned it into a five-point move.

“Frankie is one of the guys that continue to get better,” DeAugustine said. “He did a really good job. I’m proud of him and the way he came out and competed.

“He was down most of the match and then he hit the big move at the end. He’s doing some good things and we’re looking forward to the postseason.”

Norwin also received three forfeits – Chase Kranitz (152), Josh Page (182) and Ryan Weinzen (195).

Clayton Morris (220) picked up an 8-3 win at 220 and John Altieri (145) got Norwin on the board after West Mifflin won the first two bouts to go up 6-0 by defeating Tony Salopek, 7-2.

“We lost to two good teams (Hempfield and Latrobe), but we bounced back,” DeAugustine said. “We faced some adversity with a couple key injuries. But we continue to practice hard. That’s what I preach to these guys.”

West Mifflin won three of the first six bouts and tied the score, 12-12, when Frank Guzzi recorded a pin at 170.

Franklin Regional stayed alive and advanced to the next round by rallying to defeat Trinity, 38-36.

Mason Spears finished the rally with a 16-0 technical fall victory against Evan Bell at 152 pounds.

The match started at 160 pounds, which Trinity coach Mark Powell said was perfect.

But when Franklin Regional freshman Gavyn Beck defeated James Porter, 2-0, the Panthers got a much-needed victory. Porter defeated Beck, 1-0, earlier this season at the Gateway tournament.

Trinity shrugged off the early defeat and got consecutive pins by Drew Cain (170), Hunter Frantz (182) and Cole Whitmer (195) and then forfeits at 220 and 285 to grab a 30-6 lead.

That’s when the match swung Franklin Regional’s way. Justin Bass, who lost to Lane Whitmer twice this season, was trailing 2-0 in the second period at 106 when he hit Whitmer with a throw and pinned him.

The pin stopped the Hillers’ momentum and reversed another loss from the Gateway tournament.

“I tell my wrestlers what happens in December has no bearing on who we are now,” Franklin Regional coach Matt Lebe said. “Gavyn and Justin are a lot better now than they were in December. I felt we could win both of those matches.

“We knew it would be close. We held Garrett (Thompson) out because of an illness. He said he would have gone, but Justin’s pin gave us some wiggle room.”

Franklin Regional got forfeits at 113 and 126, and pins by Carter Dibert (120) and Finn Solomon (132) to grab a 33-30 lead.

Trinity won the next two bouts by decision for a 36-33 lead, but Lebe had a veteran in the hole and Spears delivered.

“Wrestling is like ‘Beauty and the Beast’,” Powell said. “Some wrestlers wrestled well and others wrestled ugly. The big boys came through big for us and got the points we needed early.”

Franklin Regional moves on to face No. 2 Seneca Valley on Wednesday.

The other teams advancing were Pine-Richland, which defeated Peters Township, 42-39, and Chartiers Valley, which pummeled Hampton, 48-27.

Anthony Ferraro (106 pounds), Keilin Laffey (132), Nathan Lukez (145), Cole Spencers (152), Jacob Lukez (160), Zachary Shaver (220) and Joseph Schneck (285) had pins for Pine-Richland.

Chartiers Valley was led by Brady Joling (106), Dylan Evans (126), Cody Trout (138), Chris Beatty (145) and Khojiakbar Sultanov (152), who all had pins.

Pine-Richland travels to No. 1 Waynesburg and Chartiers Valley heads to No. 4 Hempfield.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

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