Quaker Valley wrestling crowns pair of county champs

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Sunday, January 23, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Quaker Valley wrestlers Mason Diemert and Jack Kazalas displayed their tenacity and mettle at the Allegheny County championships held Jan. 14-15 at Fox Chapel.

Both won county titles in impressive fashion.

Diemert, a senior, secured a pin in 1 minute, 49 seconds against Montour’s Aaron DeLuca in the 172-pound final to improve to 24-3 on the year with a team-high 17 falls.

“Mason is having an incredible senior year,” QV coach Mike Heinl said. “He is a competitor and is not afraid to be physical. Mason can score from any position. He appears to be focused and committed to reaching his goals this season.”

Diemert pinned all five of his opponents on his way to the first-place finish.

“It feels great to be a champ,” Diemert said. “My goal was just to wrestle match by match and wrestle at my best ability. My other goals for this season are for us to be WPIAL champs as a team and make a run at states.

“I think our team’s performance has been great this year, and I think we just keep getting better and better. Everyone hates on us; we are the underdog for everything. I just love proving people wrong.”

Kazalas, a 113-pound sophomore, pinned Bethel Park’s Aiden Bench in just 35 seconds in his championship bout to raise his individual record to 23-2. Kazalas owned 12 falls and two technical falls on the season.

“Jack is wrestling better,” Heinl said. “He is getting to his offense, scoring points and creating opportunities to pin his opponents. Jack is exciting to watch when he is attacking in every position.”

Kazalas entered the tournament with the goal of winning a county championship. His brother, J.R. Kazalas, captured county titles in 2018 and 2019 and is the all-time wins leader at QV.

“It felt pretty nice to win a county championship and join my brother,” Kazalas said. “My goal for this season is to place at the state tournament in March.

“I am very proud of the team’s performance this season. We’ve all been working very hard, both in the offseason and now.”

The Quakers wrapped up second place in the team race with 209 points, finishing behind only North Allegheny’s 222.5-point total.

“The QV coaches were happy with the team’s performance,” Heinl said. “Individually, we have some room for improvement. Going into the tournament, our goal was to finish in the top three. We had some bad breaks at 106, 120 and 132 that cost us a few team points, but we will work on those mistakes in practice.”

Several other grapplers helped in securing the runner-up spot for the Quakers.

Patrick Cutchember, a senior and Clarion recruit, placed second at 189, losing a major decision to Mt. Lebanon’s Mac Stout in the last round. Cutchember ended the tournament with a 24-4 record that included a team-high 17 pins. Stout is a three-time county champ.

Brandon Krul, a junior, and Justin Richey, a senior, took third at 126 and 152.

Krul won a 6-3 decision against Plum’s Antonino Walker to earn the third spot and go to 19-6 with 11 pins and two technical falls.

Richey pinned Avonworth’s Joey Boughton in 47 seconds to hike his record to 20-5 with 15 pins.

Richey’s brother, Logan, finished fourth at 120, losing a 4-2 verdict to South Fayette’s Luke Dunlap in his final bout. On the season, the QV junior was 21-6 with 12 pins.

Other QV competitors at the county event included sophomores Isaac Maccaglia (106), Nicholas Allan (138) and Aidan Fair (160), senior William Campbell (160), freshmen Marcus Richey (120), Jack Diemert (145), Sebastian Juarez-Safran (285), Grant Castaldo (106) and Wyatt Hamm (126), and junior Michael Carmody (132).

Maccaglia ended the tourney with a 16-5 mark; Carmody stood at 15-6.

QV senior Amir McCracken (215) did not participate in the tournament because of an injury.

The Quakers clinched first place in Section 2B by routing Avonworth, 51-15, Jan. 19 to improve to 5-0 in league play and 12-3 overall.

Maccaglia, Kazalas, Logan Richey, Jack Diemert, Campbell and Cutchember all registered pins.

“Our focus is on the team playoffs,” Heinl said. “Double-A wrestling has five or six legitimate contenders. We are focused on winning our section and the WPIAL, then making some noise at Hershey.

“The support from our school administration, our fans and the QV boosters is making this season special. The atmosphere at our home events is a lot of fun. Hopefully, we will host some of the WPIAL team tournament matches and families should come check it out.”

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