Waynesburg claims 3rd consecutive WPIAL Class 3A wrestling title

Saturday, February 5, 2022 | 4:31 PM

Cole Homet said he knew early in the week that he was going to wrestle in the WPIAL Class 3A team tournament final.

After nearly dying in a vehicle accident last summer and severely injuring his left arm, the Waynesburg senior was hoping is high school career wasn’t over. He worked hard to recover and trained to get back in shape. Saturday was the second time he took the mat this season.

His 5-4 victory against Connellsville’s Chad Jesko wasn’t the difference in Waynesburg’s 35-18 victory Saturday afternoon, but it did provide an emotional boost for his team and Raider Nation.

Top-seeded Waynesburg (13-0) claimed its third consecutive WPIAL title and seventh in school history and advanced to the PIAA tournament. Both Waynesburg and Connellsville will compete Thursday at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Latrobe defeated Canon-McMillan, 40-25, to place third. The Wildcats can earn a trip to Hershey if they defeat District 8 (Pittsburgh City League) champion Carrick at 7 p.m. Monday.

Canon-McMillan can also earn a trip to Hershey, but it must travel to Mechanicsburg to face District 3 third-place finisher Cumberland Valley at 6 p.m. Monday.

Waynesburg defeated Canon-McMillan, 36-22, and Connellsville upset Latrobe, 37-27, in the semifinals earlier Saturday.

“I wasn’t going to deny Cole a shot to wrestle,” Waynesburg coach Kyle Szewczyk said. “I told him you’re going to get your shot at 145, whoever it is, and whoever we’re going to see in the finals. You have to figure it out because you’ve figured it out since you were a child, and it didn’t surprise me that he found a way to win with one arm against a high level kid.”

Szewczyk said it was great for the fans, and he needed to be part of it, win or lose.

Waynesburg won the first four bouts by decision to grab an early 12-0 lead behind wins by Ky Szewczyk (113 pounds), Joe Simon (120), Zach Phaturos (126) and Mac Church (132).

The Falcons got on the board when freshman Lonzy Vielma rallied for a 7-5 win against Colton Stoneking at 138, but Homet countered that by holding off Jesko’s late attempts.

“I was planning on wrestling,” Homet said. “I play it by ear. I just give everything I’ve got. This title means a lot to me because the first one I had a bad taste in my month after I lost. Seven months ago I was dying and being here with my team winning a WPIAL title is awesome.”

Connellsville closed the lead to 15-12 on a win by Ethan Ansell (160) and pin by Jared Keslar (160), but Rocco Welsh (172) got a technical fall win to give the Raiders back the momentum.

“I thought we came out a little flat after our emotional win against Latrobe,” Connellsville coach Bill Swink said. “We were hyped for Latrobe, and I felt we wrestled well (in the semifinals).

“There were a lot of close matches, and we needed to win two of the first four matches to have a chance. We’re going to make it a learning opportunity as we get ready for Hershey.”

In the consolation match for third place, the Wildcats got pins from Vinny Kilkeary (120), Nate Roth (138), Corey Boerio (285) and Luke Willochell (106) to secure the win over the Big Macs.

Brandon Binni (113) and Andrew Binni (132) had pins for Canon-McMillan.

The key victory for Connellsville in the semifinals was Evan Petrovich’s 10-1 win against Latrobe’s Leo Joseph at 113. In their previous dual meet, Joseph pinned Petrovich.

The Falcons also got bonus points in matches by Gabe Ruggieri (126) and Zach Bigam (160).

The Wildcats didn’t have heavyweight Wyatt Held (sick) available for either match. Latrobe coach Mark Mears expects Held to be back in the lineup on Monday.

Watch a video stream archive of the match on Trib HSSN.

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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