WPIAL Class AAA wrestlers shine, Class AA struggles on Day 1 of PIAA tournament

Thursday, March 5, 2020 | 11:14 PM

HERSHEY — You couldn’t ask for a crazier day for WPIAL wrestlers than Thursday at the Giant Center.

Talk about your polar opposites.

The WPIAL Class AAA wrestlers shined, as 34 of 56 competing advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals. Class AA wrestlers didn’t do very well, as only 11 of 29 moved on in the winner’s bracket.

In fact, only one Class AAA wrestler didn’t win a match — Thomas Jefferson senior Brendan Finnerty, who suffered two one-point losses.

Five WPIAL wrestlers upset seeded wrestlers.

Hempfield junior Ethan Berginc (113 pounds) and Waynesburg sophomore Cole Homet (132) took out No. 2 seeds, Seneca Valley junior Chanz Shearer (138) beat a third seed, Connellsville sophomore Jared Keslar (145) took down a fourth seed and Norwin junior John Altieri (138) beat a fifth seed.

Waynesburg had a perfect day as all five of its wrestlers won — freshman Mac Church (106), freshman Rocco Welsh (126), Homet, junior Wyatt Henson (138) and junior Luca Augustine (160).

Homet stunned many by defeating Altoona senior Matt Sarbo, 9-6. He used a five-point move in the third period to pull off the win.

“Looking back now, it was like my blood round match last year,” Homet said. “Once I got that first takedown, I knew I could take him down a couple times. I was dead tired after the match.”

The Raiders are tied for third place in the team standings with Central Dauphin with 23 points behind Bethlehem Catholic (33.5) and Nazareth (30).

Seneca Valley has three wrestlers in the quarterfinals — two-time PIAA champion Alejandro Herrera-Rondon, state runner-up Dylan Chappell (120) and Shearer.

Hempfield also advanced three wrestlers, including Berginc who defeated Cumberland Valley senior Ben Monn, 3-2.

Mt. Lebanon’s Stout brothers — Mac (170) and Luke (195) — advanced along with returning state champions Carter Dibert of Franklin Regional (113) and Canon-McMillan senior Gerrit Nijenhuis (182).

While Class AAA has 53 wrestlers still competing for medals, Class AA is down 21.

Those still alive in Class AA include returning two-time champion Thayne Lawrence of Frazier (160).

Also in the quarterfinals are South Park junior Joey Fischer (113); Elizabeth Forward senior Ryan Michaels (120); Derry junior Ty Cymmerman (126); Burrell juniors Ian Oswalt (132) and AJ Corrado (152) and senior Ricky Feroce (182); Freedom junior Trent Schultheis (170); Ellwood City senior Austin Walley (182); and Quaker Valley sophomore Patrick Cutchember (182).

Class AA action resumes at 9 a.m. Friday, and Class AAA continues at 2:15 p.m.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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