Quick start pushes Hempfield wrestling past Norwin

Wednesday, January 20, 2021 | 10:02 PM

Hempfield wrestling coach Vince DeAugustine couldn’t have asked for a better starting point on Wednesday in his team’s WPIAL Section 2B-AAA first-place showdown with Norwin.

The match began at 120 pounds, and Hempfield used that advantage to race out to a big lead, eventually winning 40-34.

Hempfield improves to 3-0 in the section, and Norwin falls to 2-1. Both are in good position to represent Section 2B in the playoffs. Latrobe, which defeated Greensburg Salem, must defeat Hempfield on Tuesday to have a chance at a section berth.

Pins by Ethan Lebin (120 pounds), Briar Priest (132) and Lucas Kapusta (138) and a major decision win by Ethan Berginc put the Spartans up 22-0.

“We started at a really good weight for us because it gave a chance to get the momentum going,” DeAugustine said. “Ethan (Lebin) went out got the pin and got us started.”

DeAugustine coached Norwin the past two seasons before returning home to Hempfield this season.

“Norwin battled,” DeAugustine said. “Nolan (Daerr) battled John Altieri and only gave up a major decision, which saved us points. We knew we’d struggle against them in the upper weights.”

Berginc said he is used to starting a lot of matches, and he likes to set the tone for the team. Even though he didn’t get a pin, he did record a major decision.

“I was able to get bonus points for the team,” Berginc said. “That was the key.”

After Altieri’s 11-1 win cut the Hempfield lead to 22-4, the Spartans’ Ty Linsenbigler posted a first-period pin at 152 to push the lead to 28-4.

“We needed a lot of things to happen,” Norwin coach Kyle Martin said. “Some things did, but they’re solid. We have a lot of room to grow and develop. Not having Luke Passarelli (at 120 pounds) hurt. But I thought Evan Gill, a freshman, gave everything he had, which was awesome.”

Martin said Passarelli was out with covid concerns.

The Knights (3-1, 2-1) charged back as Chase Kranitz (160) and Tanner Babeo (172) registered pins to make the lead 28-16. DeAugustine then decided to forfeit to Josh Page at 189 and push sophomore Elijah Binakonsky to 215, where he recorded to pin to give Hempfield a 34-22 lead.

Hempfield heavyweight Isaiah Vance went out and clinched the match with a 6-second pin over Riley Schades to make it 40-22.

“We just have to get a little better in some weights we can compete at,” Martin said. “Hempfield has some of the best guys in the country.”

Carson Handra got a pin at 106 and Conner Handra a forfeit at 113 to finish the scoring.

“It was a tough match,” DeAugustine said. “I have a lot of respect for the people at Norwin, especially Coach Martin and the wrestlers. It’s a great program that gave me some great memories for two years. I was pleased with our effort.”

The victory puts Hempfield in a good position to win the section title.

“I told the kids we have to be better tomorrow than we were today,” DeAugustine said. “So that’s the kind of mentality we have to get to.”

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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