Norwin wrestlers look to build on 3rd-place finish at WCCA tournament
By: HSSN Staff
Friday, January 11, 2019 | 8:24 PM
Norwin had its best finish at the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association wrestling tournament since 1975 on Jan. 5. The host Knights finished third with 169.5 points, behind Kiski Area 233 and Hempfield 213.
Norwin had 10 placewinners, including two second-place finishers — juniors Kurtis Phipps (120 pounds) and Ryan Weinzen (220).
Then, on Wednesday, the Knights sealed a berth in the WPIAL Class AAA team tournament for only third time since 1992.
And while new coach Vince DeAugustine said he was happy with the performance, the tournament also showed where the team needs to improve.
“It was a tough week — Christmas, Powerade, New Year’s, Franklin Regional and this,” DeAugustine said after the tournament. “We weren’t totally satisfied. We have some work to do because we have some big matches coming.”
Phipps, ranked No. 1 in Class AAA by Trib HSSN, was upset by the top Class AA wrestler in the rankings, Burrell sophomore Ian Oswalt, 2-1. Phipps had beaten Oswalt, 4-0, at Powerade, but in the WCCA final, Oswalt used a half-nelson ride to control the match.
“That’s something I don’t usually use, but it was effective,” Oswalt said. “I followed my game plan.”
Weinzen was pinned by the No. 1 wrestler in Class AA at 220, Derry senior Dom DeLuca. Weinzen had two pins before the finals. He is ranked No. 2 in Class AAA.
The Knights had three third-place finishers: Chase Kranitz (138), Bryce Long (160) and heavyweight Zach Cypher.
Kranitz rebounded from an opening-match loss by winning four consecutive matches. He downed Kiski Area’s Sammy Starr, 7-1, for third.
Long also went 4-1. He defeated Belle Vernon’s Jack Fine, 5-0, and Cypher also went 4-1. He beat Greensburg Salem freshman Billy McChesney, 7-3, and had three pins.
“Chase had a really good tournament,” DeAugustine said. “We have high expectations for him. Zach can be tough when he comes to wrestle.”
Placing fourth were John Altieri (132), Frankie Gill (145) and Clayton Morris (182). Altieri dropped a 2-0 decision in sudden victory to Franklin Regional senior Zach McCann. It was the second time in a week he lost to McCann in a close match.
The Knights’ fifth-place finisher was Connor Henning at 106, and their sixth-place finisher was Jon Ireland at 195.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at [email protected] or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.