PIAA team wrestling tournament: Waynesburg reaches state finals

Friday, February 7, 2020 | 10:50 PM

All Waynesburg junior Wyatt Henson was focused on was winning his match Friday at the Giant Center.

He didn’t realize that his major decision victory clinched his team’s win against District 11 power Bethlehem Catholic.

The Raiders (15-0), who are making their first trip to the PIAA Class AAA Team Championship, will be wrestling for their first state title after defeating Bethlehem Catholic, 33-31.

It won’t be easy. The Raiders will face the top team in the state, Nazareth, another District 11 power.

“Don’t count my wrestlers out,” Waynesburg coach Joe Throckmorton said. “We’ll be ready to wrestle our best.”

Waynesburg raced out to a 20-6 lead by winning four of the first five bouts.

The match began at 170 pounds and Luca Augustine delivered a technical fall for a 5-0 lead. Darnell Johnson then made it 8-0 with a 2-0 win against Justuz Bozzi and freshman Noah Tustin followed with a pin at 195 for a 14-0 lead.

After Waynesburg forfeited to Tavion Banks at 220, Ryan Howard bumped up to heavyweight and recorded a pin for a 20-6 lead.

“We lost the toss and still got the matchups we wanted,” Throckmorton said. “We were excited. We knew we had to catch up with them in the upper weights. Everybody came through and everybody pulled through.”

The Raiders won despite Mac Church losing at 106. He dropped a 4-3 decision to freshman Tyler Kasak, who is unbeaten.

But the Raiders got six unexpected points at 113 when Bethlehem Catholic’s Dante Frinzi was called for an illegal slam of Nate Jones. The Raider freshman injured his ribs, according to Throckmorton.

The slam was called because Frinzi didn’t maintain control of Jones when he lifted him and took him to the mat.

“I let the officials make that call,” Throckmorton said. “I had no problem with it, and neither did they. It’s unfortunate it occurred.”

One of the Bethlehem Catholic wrestlers, however, was vocal about the call and the team was penalized a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The slam pushed the lead to 26-8.

The Raiders sewed up the match when Rocco Welsh rallied to defeat Matt Mayer, 8-2, at 126, and Henson posted a major decision win against Evan Gleason.

“All I was looking for was a win,” Welsh said. “My goal is to score a lot of points. Every time I wrestle, I just want to go out and have fun. I didn’t have a goal. I just want to go out and destroy and dominate my opponent.”

After Bethlehem Catholic’s Cole Handlovic didn’t get a pin against Colton Stoneking, Throckmorton forfeited the final two bouts.

“I think we would have been fine, but I decide to forfeit the final two matches,” Throckmorton said. “You take what you can.”

Bethlehem Catholic coach Jeff Karam said losing the 182-pound match was the turning point.

Earlier in the day, Waynesburg dominated the light weights in a 44-24 victory against Erie Prep.

The Raiders got pins from Cole Homet (132), Augustine (160), Johnson (170) and Tustin (195).

Canon-McMillan stays alive

Canon-McMillan had mixed results Friday.

The Big Macs didn’t match up well against Bethlehem Catholic, falling 39-22. Canon-McMillan won five bouts and Bethlehem Catholic won the first three light weights.

Things were a lot better in the consolation round as Canon-McMillan defeated Delaware Valley from District 2, 42-21. The Big Macs got pins by Gabriel Stafford (138), Tanner Rohaley (152), Tyler Rohaley (185) and Evan Miller (285).

Canon-McMillan faces Erie Prep in a consolation match at 9 a.m.

Seneca Valley bounces back

Like Canon-McMillan, Seneca Valley too was overpowered in the quarterfinals by District 11 power Nazareth. The Eagles roared to a 50-10 victory.

The Raiders bounced back in the consolation round to defeat Central Dauphin, 37-28. Dylan Chappell (126), Antonio Amelio (145) and Liam Volk-Klos (170) had pins for the Raiders.

Seneca Valley squares off with Spring-Ford in the consolation bracket at 9 a.m.

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

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