Seneca Valley, Canon-McMillan come out on top of Kiski Area quad meet
Friday, December 20, 2019 | 11:30 PM
Four of the top five Class AAA wrestling teams in the WPIAL got together at Kiski Area on Friday evening for their second annual meeting.
Trib HSSN No. 1 Hempfield and No. 2 Kiski Area both lost twice, as No. 4 Seneca Valley and No. 5 Canon-McMillan went undefeated.
“It is nice. We just don’t want the guys to be content with having some victories here,” Seneca Valley coach Kevin Wildrick said. “These are early season dual meets and a lot of things change later in the season.”
The Raiders jumped out early on the three-time defending WPIAL Class AAA champions Kiski Area, winning the first eight matches of the night, including winning their 113-pound and 126-pound match by just one point as they cruised to a 35-29 victory.
Seneca Valley’s Tyler Chappell (113) earned a 4-3 decision over Kiski Area freshman Ryan Klingensmith and Dylan Chappell (126) got away with a 3-2 decision over Dom Giordano.
“We know our guys are tough. We know our guys are experienced,” Wildrick said. “So it was just a matter of putting it into play and having that chip on their shoulder to go out and work hard each match.”
After Alejandro Herrera-Rondon (132) picked up the quickest pin of the night in 19 seconds, the Raiders won the next three matches and built up a 35-0 lead. In order to come back, the Cavaliers needed six straight pins, which is a tall task for any team.
“We’ve never been in that situation. That’s a big hole to dig out of,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “Where the final six matches, to tell those guys to pin out to win. But that loss goes on the entire team.”
The Raiders ended up taking down Hempfield as well in their second match, getting four pins, including three straight from 160 to 182 pounds. Wildrick thought that stretch of wins from Caden Leighty, Liam Volk-Klos and Marshall Adamson was big for his team.
“That was what we needed and those guys delivered,” Wildrick said. “But depending on what dual match you look at, we had a lot of guys who had great individual efforts and helped the team as a whole.”
Just like Seneca Valley, the Big Macs got out of Kiski Area with two wins on the night. They earned a win over Hempfield thanks to three straight pins from Matt Furman, Tyler Rohaley and Gerrit Nijenhuis that allowed them to build a big lead.
The match of the night came in a rematch of last year’s WPIAL Class AAA semifinal, which the Cavaliers won, 45-26. This time around, the Big Macs got the best of Kiski and escaped with a narrow 32-27 victory.
Heading into the final match, the Cavaliers needed a pin from Antonio Giordano in the 106-pound weight class to earn the victory. He ended up winning the match but came just short of a pin and Canon-McMillan coach Jeff Havelka thought that was big for junior Conlan O’Donoghue.
“He knew what he had to do going out there,” Havelka said. “I’m proud of him. That was a gutsy match for him and especially when it’s all on the line.”
The Big Macs were 1-0 in dual matches heading into Friday night and they had placed first and third in their first two individual tournaments. Being able to come into Kiski Area and leave with two wins over a couple of top teams gives the Big Macs a little more confidence moving forward.
“This definitely feels good,” Havelka said. “When we wrestled this last year, we came out the exact opposite at 0-2. But you know what, it’s early and we’re proud of the guys for what they did tonight and we will definitely let them know that. But we gotta get back to work.”
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .