Westmoreland high school wrestling notebook: Latrobe’s Roth looks for trip to Hershey

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 | 6:43 PM

Latrobe senior Nate Roth might be the best wrestler in the WPIAL not to qualify for the PIAA individual championships.

An unfortunate set of circumstances — injuries and a questionable slam in 2021 — have kept him from a trip to Hershey.

Roth gets one final shot at wrestling in the tournament at Giant Center that begins March 9. But he must get through this weekend’s Class 3A WPIAL and PIAA Southwest Regional at Canon-McMillan.

Action begins 4:30 p.m. Friday, and Roth (8-1) is seeded No. 1 at 139 pounds after winning Eastern Sectional at Norwin. He defeated the section’s top-ranked wrestler, Hempfield junior Eli Carr, in the first round of sectionals.

“I believe a lot of people think he’s one of the best,” Latrobe coach Mark Mears said. “He’s good to go. I’m eager to see him compete.”

Because Roth missed most of the season while recovering from an injury, he was seeded high and drew the top seed right off the bat. Even though Carr finished third in the Eastern Sectional, the WPIAL awarded him a No. 2 seed in this week’s tournament.

“They probably shouldn’t have met in the first round,” Mears said. “I told them Nate was going to wrestle. At least they did a good job seeding this week’s tournament for Eli.”

The Wildcats have three wrestlers seeded No. 1. Joining Roth are returning champions Luke Willochell (114 pounds) and two-time PIAA champion Vinny Kilkeary (127).

Action resumes 10 a.m. Saturday with the second round of consolations. The semifinals begins at 11:30 a.m. and the finals at 3:30 p.m.

There are three Class 3A wrestlers — Kilkeary, Seneca Valley senior Tyler Chappel and Waynesburg senior Mac Church — who can become three-time champions

The number grew to 86 last week in the Class 2A tournament when Laurel senior Grant MacKay and Frazier junior Rune Lawrence became three-time winners. Bentworth junior Chris Vargo was denied a third title when he fell to Burrell junior Cooper Hornack.

Lawrence has a shot at becoming four-time winner, joining his brother Thayne.

Other Class 3A returning champions include Hempfield senior Ethan Lebin (133), Chartiers Valley senior Dylan Evans (160) and Waynesburg senior Rocco Welsh (172).

Class 2A SW Regional

Lawrence, Vargo and MacKay are looking to win their third Southwest Regional titles at Altoona High School beginning Friday.

Others looking for their second titles include Hornack and Burgettstown’s Parker Sentipal.

“I just want to stay sharp,” Lawrence said. “It’s just another step to where I want to get to.”

MacKay said he wants to get back to the state tournament, where he can avenge a loss in the finals in 2022.

The WPIAL wrestlers to earn top seeds were Montour’s Peter Chacon (133), Burgettstown’s Joey Sentipal (139), MacKay (160), Lawrence (189) and Central Valley’s Brenan Morgan (215).

Action begins 3:30 p.m. Friday with quarterfinals commencing at 7:15 p.m. Action resumes Friday with consolation rounds at 9 a.m., semifinals at 12:30 p.m. and finals at 5:15.

This and that

Canon-McMillan senior Brandon Dami is not in the WPIAL tournament because he was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct at the Southern Sectional. … There were three Class 2A wrestlers to reach milestones: MacKay won his 160th match, Burgettstown junior Joey Sentipal his 140th and Lawrence his 100th.

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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