Norwin stuns Franklin Regional, clinches tie for section title

Wednesday, January 18, 2023 | 10:28 PM

The Norwin wrestling team made a statement Wednesday in its Section 3-3A first-place showdown at Franklin Regional.

Despite missing four starters with injuries, the unranked Knights (14-1, 4-0) earned a stunning 42-24 victory over the No. 7 Panthers (6-1, 3-1).

Now the Knights, whose only loss this season was to national power Malvern Prep, can clinch the section title Jan. 25 when they battle Penn-Trafford. The Knights clinched at least a tie for the section title.

Norwin raced out to an 18-0 lead thanks to a forfeit win at 121 pounds, a pin by John White at 127 and a victory by injury default for Gage Mamie.

Mamie accidentally kicked Franklin Regional’s Justin Bass in the chin trying to escape a takedown attempt near the end of the first period, causing the injury. Bass was unable to continue and was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

“They are a really good team and are well coached,” Franklin Regional coach Matt Lebe said. “Their kids compete hard. I thought the match could go the way it did or we could win eight or nine matches.

“The Bass match hurt, but we had other chances to win and just didn’t wrestle well enough. I’m more concerned about the health of Justin than how we wrestled.”

After Nate Stone was awarded a forfeit at 139 to cut the lead to 18-6, Jackson Huss (145) and Nick Puskar (152) pulled out huge wins to push the lead to 24-6.

“All the matches were big,” Norwin coach Kyle Martin said. “When you wrestle against Franklin Regional, you have to be ready for a battle. They are scrappy.”

“We had kids who stepped up big-time for us. Jackson, Nick, Aiden (Pham), Josiah (Pastories) and Luca (Butera) all had big wins. “

Franklin Regional pulled to within 24-21 after pins by Gavyn Beck (160) and Juliano Marion (189) and an exciting 12-9 win by Henry Patts (172).

Then Norwin reclaimed the momentum at 215 pounds. Franklin Regional’s Troy McClelland was leading Pham, 3-2, in the second period when the two got tangled up. While fighting for control, McClelland rolled to his back, and Pham got a defensive pin.

In the heavyweight match, Pastories trailed 2-1 when he was able to escape and take down Franklin Regional’s Andrew Nesler, who recently transferred back to Franklin Regional from the Hill School, and pin him.

That clinched the match, and Butera added a pin to make it 42-21. Tyler Kapusta won 11-0 at 114 pounds to end the scoring.

“I hope their kid is back for next week,” Martin said of Bass. “That was an unfortunate injury.”

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

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