PIAA’s 1st girls wrestling tourney brings wins for Kiski Area’s Ava Golding, Norwin’s Karsyn Champion

Thursday, March 7, 2024 | 5:41 PM

HERSHEY — Anyone might have more experience than an opponent on the wrestling mat, but no one at the PIAA girls wrestling championships Thursday afternoon had an advantage in experience in the event itself.

That happens when it is the first championship meet of its kind.

So you can forgive Ava Golding of Kiski Area for being a little off balance at the beginning of her first-round match at the 136-pound weight class. She was taken down quickly by Gabrielle Costa of Coatesville.

But there was no panic.

“I was pretty confident I would be able to work my way back up,” Golding said. “I was surprised by her intensity.”

Surprised, but not unprepared. Golding hit a reverse, picked up a couple near-fall points and won by pinfall 1 minutes, 34 seconds into the match.

Golding, like the other first-round winners at Giant Center, will advance into Friday’s quarterfinals. The losers are not done but fall into the consolation bracket, which also takes place Friday.

The PIAA aspect may be new for all involved, but for Norwin’s Karsyn Champion, all of this is fairly new.

“I personally am a first-year wrestler,” Champion, a freshman, said. “I’ve only been doing this since October, so my approach is to just expect anything.”

That approach worked for Champion as she built a 15-2 lead before winning by pin over Helena Socash of Red Land at 5:06 at 148.

Champion felt it was an accomplishment for herself to win but also an accomplishment for female athletes just in having the state championships.

“Seeing that girls have been able to make a boys sport our own is very rewarding,” Champion said. “Just to see how far we’ve come and what we can make.”

Also winning by pinfall for Norwin was Josephine Dollman, who won her 142-pound match with Olivia Capra of Easton in 2:28.

Two other Norwin wrestlers lost their openers. At 170, Octavia Walker was pinned by Sierra Ripka of Greater Nanticoke in 42 seconds. At 190, Abigail Hewitt dropped a 2-0 decision to Southwestern’s Davina Crump.

Canon-McMillan had the most girls at states of any WPIAL school with eight. They split their opening matches 4-4. All the results were by pinfall.

Valarie Solorio had one of the first pins in girls PIAA championship history, winning her 100-pound match in 1:23 over Danica Bacorn of Williamsport. Dynisty Williams pinned Ashlyn Van Fleet of Athens in 4:16 at 155. Audrey Calgaro also pinned an Athens wrestler, Abigail Wagner, to win at 170 in 2:58. Natalie Rush pinned Jorelys Peguero of McCaskey in 2:57 to win at 190.

Connelsville was tied with Norwin for second-most WPIAL girls wrestlers at PIAAs, but they went 0-4 in the opening round.

Trinity Moore trailed her 118 match 6-4 throughout the entire third period but never was able to take down Anaiah Kolesar of Northeast Bradford and lost by that score. Janayah Nobles was pinned by Liberty’s Doniya Anwari in 4:52 at 136. At 155, Imani Cameron-Butti was pinned by Raegan Snider of Northern Bedford in 1:27. Olivia Shultz was pinned by Kendall Wagner of Central Mountain in 3:31 during their 170 match.

One of the wildest wins for a WPIAL wrestler came from Fort Cherry’s Abigail Dolanch at 136. She trailed 6-3 in the opening stages of the third period but turned a reversal and then won by pinfall over Ruth Rivera of Whitehall at 4:50.

Fort Cherry’s other wrestler, Isabella Spotti, lost by pin to Jaidyn Mikulak of Honesdale in 58 seconds at 235.

On the other hand, Laurel’s Alexis Brua suffered a tough loss in 124. Up 7-0, she lost by pinfall to Hanna Rathbun of Athens. Laurel’s other wrestler, Zoey Haines, also lost by pinfall, 33 seconds into her 148-pound contest against Zoey Haines of Gettysburg.

Alaina Claassen of Plum won at 235 with a pin in 1:39 against Zoey Lake of Wallenpaupack. Saphia Davis lost 7-3 to Callie Hess of Benton in 124.

Ana Malovich of Butler won her 118 bout with a pin at 3:29 against Rachel Shoemaker of Crestwood. Anastasia Manchester was pinned at 142 pounds by Jessia Ayala of Garnet Valley in 4:57.

Grace O’Korn earned a pin at 142, beating Rylee Netter of Upper Dublin in 2:38. Her Peters Township teammate, Lilliana Giolianelli, lost at 190 after being pinned by Central Dauphin’s Aaliyah Armstrong in 2:16.

Mt. Lebanon and Latrobe both went 0-2 in the opening round. For Mt. Lebanon, Sophia Beanner lost 18-6 to Juliette Cuevas of Bellwood-Antis at 100, and Paige Jox dropped a 7-3 decision to Layla Bennett of Sayre at 124. For Latrobe, Rowan Lewis was pinned in 44 seconds by Jael Miller of Punxsutawney at 170, and Miranda Kantoris was pinned in 3:48 by Mylah Steinbuch of Bedford at 235.

Schools with just one wrestler in action, other than the aforementioned Kiski Area:

At 100, Mountour’s Krista Walzer advanced with a pinfall of Ariahna Moore of Hughesville at 1:34.

Miranda Lajevic of Knoch recorded a pin of Autumn Shutt of Moshannon Valley in 1:52 at 100 pounds.

Two WPIAL wrestlers won at 130. Ringgold’s Anna Duncan pinned Ainsley Bounds of Manheim Township in 39 seconds. Haley Smarsh of Moon pinned Kenna Hoffman of Dallastown in 1:27. Asia Fowler of Woodland Hills lost to Zalika Roberts of Gettysburg, 2-0.

In 155, Leyna Rumpler of North Allegheny led 12-0 and ultimately won by pinfall over Juliet Fitzpatrick of Delaware Valley at 3:50.

Zoey Murphy of Southmoreland won a 235 bout in 1:33 with a pin of Leah Nason of Athens.

Joanna Saad of North Hills lost in 106 by technical fall to Isabella Wilkes of Hamburg 17-0 at the 5:15 mark.

At 148, Hannah Hornick of Seneca Valley was pinned by Myah Mulgrew of Cumberland Valley in 1:02.

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