Waynesburg routs Central Dauphin to capture 1st PIAA wrestling title
Saturday, March 27, 2021 | 9:31 PM
MECHANICSBURG — A year ago, Waynesburg made a run to the PIAA Class 3A team wrestling championships and came up just short of capturing the first PIAA title in any sport in Waynesburg history.
Although it was a devastating loss for the Raiders, 172-pound senior Luca Augustine also called it an “enlightening” one as it truly showed the Raiders what they were capable of.
“For me, personally, I didn’t think we were going to make it that far,” Augustine said. “But once we made it, it kind of opened our eyes to what we could actually do. It put it into perspective for us.”
Waynesburg coach Joe Throckmorton said from that day on the Raiders put in the work they needed to get back to the state championship this season. On Saturday at Cumberland Valley, the Raiders saw their hard work pay off.
After taking down District 4 champion Williamsport, 50-13, in the PIAA semifinals, the Raiders only allowed District 3 champion Central Dauphin to score three points in the state final as they cruised to a 42-3 victory and earned the first state title in school history.
“We’ve looked at this goal for a long long time and we wrestled our hearts out tonight,” Throckmorton said. “When they do that, I know really good things are going to happen. They’ve worked so hard at this, and it was a total team effort.”
Outside of the 1999 final between Bald Eagle Area and Upper Perkiomen, which resulted in a 53-0 score, Waynesburg’s state title victory was one of the most dominating performances in recent history, and it showed from the very beginning of the match.
Freshman Joe Simon started it off at 113 pounds with an 8-2 decision, then Zander Phaturos followed it up with a 13-5 major decision to lead 7-0. Mac Church (126) and Colton Stoneking (132) then gave the Raiders all the momentum they needed.
Going into the third period, Church trailed Central Dauphin’s Matt Repos by a point. But he escaped in the first four seconds of the period, and Repos picked up a technical violation a minute later as Church earned a 2-1 decision.
After taking a 10-3 lead in the third period of his match, Stoneking pinned Central Dauphin’s Mike Beers at the buzzer of the third period and the Raiders cruised from there.
“We were really confident coming into today,” senior Wyatt Henson said. “We know we’re really good and we know we can win any dual as long as everyone performs right.”
Cole Homet (138) captured a 5-3 decision and Henson earned a 14-5 major decision, which was followed up by a 17-7 major decision from Rocco Welsh.
Augustine and fellow senior Nate Stephenson (160) then capped off their high school careers with a 25-10 technical fall and a 6-0 decision, respectively.
Noah Tustin (215), Ryan Howard (285) and Ky Szewczyk (106) finished it off for the Raiders with three straight decisions.
“We all wanted it last year so after losing last year and coming back here and dominating, it’s just even better,” Henson said.
As the Raiders celebrated in Cumberland Valley’s gym they passed the trophy from wrestler to wrestler. But when Augustine got a hold of it, he wasn’t letting go.
“I love this trophy; I like gold,” Augustine said with a laugh.
It was a long-awaited reward for a job well done.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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