Norwin’s Phipps, North Hills’ Hillegas reach WPIAL wrestling finals, eye elite group

Saturday, February 29, 2020 | 6:33 PM

Norwin senior Kurtis Phipps and North Hills senior Sam Hillegas are one victory away from reaching an elite group.

But to join the four-time champion club, they must get through two tough wrestlers from WPIAL Class AAA team champion Waynesburg.

Phipps (35-1) was seeded third after dropping an overtime decision to Franklin Regional sophomore Finn Solomon.

But Phipps looked determined when he met Solomon in the semifinals at the WPIAL/PIAA Class AAA championships at Canon-McMIllan.

Phipps got an early takedown and worked into a first-period pin. He will face Waynesburg freshman Rocco Welsh in the 126-pound final. Phipps defeated Welsh in the semifinals at Powerade.

Hillegas (35-1) reached the finals by defeating Norwin junior John Altieri, 12-4. He will face Waynesburg junior Wyatt Henson, who transferred back to Greene County after winning a state title in Missouri, in the 138 final. Henson defeated Seneca Valley junior Chanz Shearer, 8-6. Hillegas defeated Henson in the semifinals at Powerade.

Kiski Area senior Jack Blumer, who became the school’s all-time pin leader (107), will be looking to become the next three-time champion at 160.

He too will meet a Waynesburg wrestler in the finals, junior Luca Augustine. Blumer pinned Connellsville senior Casper Hinkle in the semifinals.

Looking for their second WPIAL titles are Seneca Valley sophomore Dylan Chappell (120) and junior Alejandro Herrera-Rondon (132), Canon-McMillan senior Gerrit Nijenhuis (182) and Mt. Lebanon senior Luke Stout (195).

Stout’s brother, sophomore Mac, is looking for his first WPIAL title at 170. The Stouts look to join a long list of brothers to win titles during the same season.

The biggest upset of the semifinals came at 106 when Latrobe freshman Vincent Kilkeary rolled to a 12-6 win against No. 1 Ty Watters of West Allegheny.

The toughest loss was by Latrobe freshman Nate Roth, who was leading Connellsville freshman Jace Ross, 10-4, but had to default because of a shoulder injury at 120.

Waynesburg has four wrestlers in the finals. Joining Welsh, Henson and Augustine is freshman Mac Church at 106.

Franklin Regional junior Carter Dibert, a returning PIAA 106-pound champion, reached the finals at 113 and will face West Allegheny’s Nico Taddy.

Latrobe senior Gabe Willochell (33-0) will face Herrera-Rondon, a two-time state champion, in the 132 final. Willochell defeated Herrera-Rondon in the Powerade finals in December.

There will be three Westmoreland County battles in the finals, at 145, 220 and 285.

Hempfield junior Ty Linsenbigler faces Franklin Regional senior Mason Spears at 145; Greensburg Salem senior John Meyers meets Belle Vernon sophomore Cole Weightman at 220; and Hempfield junior heavyweight Isaac Vance meets Greensburg Salem sophomore Bill McChesney.

The finals and third-place matches began at 5 p.m.

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

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