Quick start carries Franklin Regional past Penn-Trafford

Wednesday, January 11, 2023 | 10:42 PM

The Franklin Regional wrestling team stayed atop Section 3-3A by holding off rival Penn-Trafford in a first-place showdown Wednesday.

The Panthers (3-0, 6-0) raced out to a big lead and held on for a 41-28 victory.

Franklin Regional, ranked No. 7, built a 30-0 advantage on pins by Nate Stone (145), Luke Ankney (152), Gavyn Beck (172) and Juliano Marion (189) and a forfeit win by Roman Colangelo (160).

“It (145 pounds) turned out to be a good place to start, but to be honest with you, it forced me to show my hand early,” Franklin Regional coach Matt Lebe said. “We were bumping up no matter what because we wanted a matchup between Gavyn and Tasso (Whipple), two (Westmoreland) county champions.

“It was a great team effort. The team did what we asked them to do.”

In the Beck-Whipple match, Beck was aggressive and took Whipple down twice before recording the pin.

“It was a matchup we wanted,” Lebe said. “Gavyn and I talked in practice, and he said he’d do anything for the team. He did a great job.”

The Warriors (2-1, 4-8) rallied to win three in a row as Owen Ott (215) won by major decision, heavyweight Joe Enick received a forfeit and Jake Lang (107) got a pin. The wins trimmed to lead to 30-16.

Penn-Trafford bumped up freshman Dylan Barrett, its regular 107-pounder, to face the Panthers’ Ty Kapusta at 114. But the junior overwhelmed the freshman, winning 19-3, to push the lead to 35-16.

“Dylan’s a tough kid, but he was giving up some weight to Ty,” Lebe said. “We won seven matches and scored 41 points. That’s pretty good. We had kids who didn’t give up bonus points.”

Penn-Trafford strung together three more wins to close the score to 35-28 as Logan Ventura (121) posted a decision, Hayden Coy (127) a pin and Logan Matrisch (133) a 3-1 win in overtime. A lack of bonus points hurt the Warriors.

In the final match, Jude Gentile ended the night for the Panthers by pinning Nate Hernandez at 139.

All six Franklin Regional pins were in the first period.

The Panthers now face another first-place showdown with Norwin on Jan. 18.

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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