South Fayette wrestlers adjust to move up to Class AAA
By: Nathan Smith
Thursday, January 10, 2019 | 7:57 PM
It is a year of transition for the South Fayette wrestling team.
The Lions moved from Class AA to AAA in the last round of WPIAL realignment. The team also has several new faces in the lineup after graduating eight wrestlers from last season’s roster.
“They are competing,” South Fayette coach Rick Chaussard said. “We have a couple of juniors and a freshman who are new to the lineup. They are inexperienced, and it shows at times.”
South Fayette scored wins over New Castle, 45-24, Ambridge, 49-13, and West Allegheny, 46-24, but fell to Mt. Lebanon, 48-18. Despite some inconsistencies, Chaussard has seen good things from his team this season.
“We are not where we are accustomed to be,” Chaussard said. “The jump does make a difference.
“I told the guys that I don’t believe we are that far away from the upper echelon. I think we just need to work a little harder.”
Leading the way have been juniors Eli Brinsky and Quentin Franklin.
Brinsky has stormed out to a 12-3 record at 152 pounds. He opened the season with a third-place finish at the Chartiers-Houston tournament and has been a leader for the Lions.
“He’s competing hard,” Chaussard said. “He has run into some strong competition. He is a very good leader and trying to get the kids to work a little harder.”
Franklin has found success at heavyweight and has compiled a 10-3 record. Chaussard said he is wrestling at a heavier weight than in the past seasons. As a freshman he weighed 220 and was up to 230 as a sophomore.
“He is a lot stronger,” Chaussard said. “He can move really well for a big guy when he wants to.”
One of the few seniors on the roster is Michael Dedi. He has compiled a 9-5 record, showing versatility by wrestling at 160 or 170.
“He has been working hard in the room,” Chaussard said. “He has a few nice wins. He is one of the guys we move around when we make adjustments.”
Dawson Anderson is making up for lost time with the Lions. The junior has compiled a 9-5 record after missing the previous two seasons to injuries.
“When he wrestled at the Chartiers-Houston tournament (in December), it was almost two years since his last match,” Chaussard said. “He is making progress. He tries hard and comes out ready to compete in every match.”
South Fayette finished in eighth place at the 2019 TriCADA tournament at Trinity on Jan. 4-5. Two Lions wrestlers finished in third place — Brinsky at 152 pounds and Franklin at 285. Dedi placed fourth in the 160-pound bracket.
One of the new faces on the roster had a strong showing at 106 pounds — Cohlman Carpenter finished in fifth. Four wrestlers placed sixth — Anderson (120 pounds), Luke Finestone (132), Dalton Hirt (145) and Aaron Cardillo (170).
The tournament will prepare the Lions for their final stretch of the Section 4 slate. South Fayette closes the schedule against No. 5-ranked Canon-McMillan.
“We talked to them about competing,” Chaussard said. “We are a young team and just ask them to give us 100 percent. If they give us their best shot, the scoreboard will take care of itself.”
Nathan Smith is a freelance writer.
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