Waynesburg defends WPIAL Class AAA wrestling championship

Saturday, February 13, 2021 | 4:53 PM

Waynesburg was favored to win its second consecutive WPIAL Class AAA wrestling championship Saturday and did just that.

But when Seneca Valley coach Kevin Wildrick held out numerous starters, including two-time PIAA champion Alejandro Herrera-Rondon, Waynesburg’s job became a lot easier.

No. 1-seeded Waynesburg (13-0) won 12 of 13 matches, including pins by Wyatt Henson (145 pounds), Rocco Welsh (152), Darnell Johnson (172), Eli Makel (189), Ryan Howard (285) and Zander Phaturos (126), and rolled to a 67-3 win against No. 2 Seneca Valley at Canon-McMillan.

Waynesburg defeated Seneca Valley, 42-12, on Jan. 23 at the Kiski Area Duals.

Sophomore Welsh said he thought it was strange Seneca Valley only had four fans in its cheering section. He figured something was up.

Wildrick said he put out the best lineup he had.

Waynesburg coach Joe Throckmorton said he didn’t know Seneca Valley was holding out at least seven starters.

“We had a good match against them a few weeks back,” Throckmorton said. “We were four points from winning all the matches. If we wrestled like we know how to wrestle, we’d be successful.

“I didn’t know some of their better wrestlers wouldn’t be in the lineup. We anticipate for the best of the best. If something changes, we adjust on the fly. We were excited to have some of those big matchups. I think they’re protecting their seeds for WPIALs. They’re a great team, and we respect them like crazy.”

The possible key matchups fans didn’t get to see included a Herrera-Rondon vs. Walsh match at 152 pounds, Antonio Amelio vs. Nate Stephenson at 160 and Dylan Chappell vs. Colton Stoneking at 132.

Seneca Valley’s Chanz Shearer, at 145, didn’t weigh-in. He is nursing an injury.

“We’ll probably meet them two or three more times in individuals,” Throckmorton said. “They have some really good guys, and so do we. I’m not mad at them. This is a season all about surprises.

“We’re just happy to be a repeat champion. Now we’ll look to three-peat.”

It was the Raiders’ third Class AAA title. They also have won four Class AA titles.

Seneca Valley (20-2) still is looking for its first title.

“Waynesburg is a tough team,” Wildrick said. “We happen to have the top team in the state in our region.

“We could have forfeited out like other teams. We’re looking at individuals now, and, hopefully, everyone is healthy. Hopefully, we can move on as many guys as we can.”

Throckmorton said his team will be ready to compete in the PIAA team tournament, though a date has yet to be announced.

“We have a lot of kids looking forward to the state tournament,” Throckmorton said. “It won’t be hard to keep them focused.”

Check out an archived video stream of the championship match on the TribLive High School Sports Network.

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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