PIAA Team Wrestling Championship: Resilient Waynesburg bounces back to take 3rd

Saturday, February 12, 2022 | 3:43 PM

HERSHEY – For what the Waynesburg wrestling team has gone through this season — an unexpected coaching change and having two quality wrestlers sidelined — finishing third in the PIAA Class 3A Team Wrestling Championship was quite an accomplishment.

Despite winning only six of 13 bouts, Waynesburg was able to rally and defeat Williamsport, 31-30, for third place Saturday at the Giant Center.

“Realistically, we probably overachieved here,” Waynesburg coach Kyle Szewczyk said. “We came here for first, but we’ll settle for third. It showed we can handle adversity.”

Waynesburg didn’t have sophomore Joe Simon the entire weekend and senior Kyle Homet, severally injured in a car accident in the summer, wrestled only once during the three-day tournament.

The difference came when freshman Xavier Harmon pulled out his first career playoff win. He defeated Nate Segraves, 4-1. In the consolation semifinals, Harmon not getting pinned saved Waynesburg in a 27-25 win against Connellsville.

“I couldn’t be prouder of my guys,” Szewczyk said. “We wrestled well and battled all weekend. They all pulled together at the end.”

Colton Stoneking (138), Brody Evans (172), Rocco Welsh (189) and Eli Makel (215) all recorded pins against Williamsport.

Zander Phaturos clinched the win with a major decision win at 126.

Bethlehem Catholic ended up winning the Class 3A title by defeating rival Nazareth, 34-22.

In Class 2A, Saucon Valley upset rival Notre Dame-Green Pond, 29-22. The third-place winner was Chestnut Ridge, which defeated Boiling Springs, 38-17.

Third-place match

Waynesburg 31, Williamsport 30

106: Jack Heller (Wi) p. Jake Thomas, 4:47.

113: Cael Nasdeo (Wi) m.d. Ky Szewczyk, 9-0.

120: Xavier Harmon (Wy) d. Luke Segraves, 4-1.

126: Zander Phaturos (Wy) m.d. Devin Harris, 13-0.

132: Braden Bower (Wi) won by forfeit.

*138: Colton Stoneking (Wy) p. Santino White, 4:45.

145: Riley Bower (Wi) m.d. Nate Jones, 13-0.

152: Carter Weaver (Wi) d. Jake Stephenson, 6-0.

160: Roman Morrone (Wi) d. Nate Kirby, 5-0.

172: Brody Evans (Wy) p. Ryan Dunlap, 1:25.

189: Rocco Welsh (Wy) p. Mariq Burks, :37.

215: Eli Makel (Wy) p. Sebastian Robinson, 2:26.

285: Charles Crews (Wi) m.d. Noah Tustin, 11-3.

Consolation semifinals

Waynesburg 27, Connellsville 25

106: Trent Huffman (C) p. Jake Thomas, 3:37.

113: Evan Petrovich (C) d. Ky Szewczyk, 6-5.

120: Jacob Layton (C) m.d. Xavier Harmon, 14-0.

126: Zander Phaturos (W) d. Gabriel Ruggieri, 7-3.

132: Mac Church (W) d. Chad Ozias, 6-5.

138: Lonzy Vielma (C) d. Colton Stoneking, 3-2.

145: Nate Jones (W) d. Chad Jesko, 6-4.

152: Ethan Ansell (C) d. Daniel Huffman, 11-4.

160: Jared Keslar (C) p. Nate Kirby, 1:55.

172: Rocco Welsh (W) won by forfeit.

189: Brody Evans (W) d. George Shultz, 2-1.

215: Eli Makel (W) d. Dennis Nichelson, 7-0.

285: Noah Tustin (W) p. Kenneth Shultz, :14.

The difference: Waynesburg won two one-point matches and Daniel Huffman got an escape to take away a major decision for Connellsville at 152 pounds. The close wins were by Mac Church (132) and Brady Evans (189).

Big win: Waynesburg’s Zander Phaturos defeated Connellsville’s Gabriel Ruggieri, 7-3, in the final match to secure the win at 126 pounds.

Referee’s decision: Connellsville’s Lonzy Vielma defeated Waynesburg’s Colton Stoneking, 3-2, at 138 pounds when the official penalized Stoneking for unsportsmanlike conduct with two seconds left in regulation.

Quote: “I thought we wrestled well and were aggressive. We kept battling to the end and I was proud of the team. It was a good weekend and it was a learning experience,” Connellsville coach Bill Swink said.

Consolation quarterfinals

Connellsville 49, Abington Heights 17

106: Connor Beck (AH) p. Trent Huffman, 2:58.

113: Luke Sirianni (AH) d. Evan Petrovich, 6-4 (SV).

120: Jacob Layton (C) p. Cote Kroptavich, 2:51.

*126: Gabriel Ruggieri (C) p. Luke Evans, 2:10.

132: Chad Ozias (C) t.f. Sam Stevens, 17-1 (3:31).

138: Lonzy Vielma (C) d. Brian Heard, 7-4.

145: Austin Smith (AH) d. Chad Jesko, 7-5.

152: Ethan Ansell (C) p. Anthony Curra, 1:35.

160: Jared Keslar (C) p. Hutch Lynott, 3:57.

172: Caleb Marzolino (AH) t.f. Zach Bigam, 21-5 (5:00).

189: George Shultz (C) p. Dean Phillips, :47.

215: Dennis Nichelson (C) p. Tomas DeLosrios, 1:38.

285: Tyler Gallis (C) p. Jackson Drake, :52.

Note: Connellsville penalized a team point for a singlet violation.

The difference: Connellsville won seven of the first nine bouts and built a 44-8 lead. During that run, the Falcons got pins from Gabriel Ruggieri (126), Ethan Ansell (152), Jared Keslar (160), George Shultz (189), Dennis Nichelson (215) and heavyweight Tyler Gallis.

Penalized for what? After the match concluded and the teams were shaking hands, Connellsville was penalized a team point because of a singlet violation. One of Connellsville wrestlers had ice on his shoulder and one of his straps down.

Quote: “I was told it’s a rule. But after the Waynesburg match, one of their wrestlers’ straps were down and they didn’t get called. I just want consistency,” Connellsville coach Bill Swink said.

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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