WPIAL, Pennsylvania all-star teams lose at Pitt wrestling classic

Sunday, March 25, 2018 | 10:10 PM

If Hempfield standout wrestler Luke Kemerer's performance at Sunday's 44th Annual Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic is any indication as to how well he'll do at Pitt the next four years, the Panthers have gotten themselves a gem of a wrestler.

Kemerer landed an 8-2 decision over Iowa's Ryan Steffen in the 145-pound match to give the WPIAL all-star team a much-needed win. It was a tough afternoon for WPIAL wrestlers as the Iowa all-stars got a 36-6 win.

“It was awesome being able to wrestle in my future home gym,” said Kemerer, who finished his high school career with a 151-23 record. “This is something I've had on my radar for a while, having come and watch as a younger kid.”

Westmoreland County wrestlers provided all the points for the WPIAL team. Southmoreland's Tyler Griffiths, a Seton Hill commit, put the WPIAL all-stars on the board with a 7-5 decision over Michael Blockhus, a Northern Iowa commit. The win cut into Iowa's 6-3 lead.

“I knew coming into the match that (Blockhus) was ranked fifth in the country or something like that, and I saw that he beat a couple kids who were ranked No. 3 in the country,” said Griffiths who finished his high school career 143-23. “We go to these big dual meets all the time, and that doesn't surprise me that I went out there and beat that kid.”

Burrell was represented well, but both wrestlers came up short. Iowa's Grant Stott (156-17 career record) scored a 2-0 decision over the Bucs' Corey Christie (112-47) at 152 pounds. Shaun Gates (86-56) lost an 8-2 decision to Ohio State commit Josh Ramirez at 160 pounds.

“He was really good, really tough and really hard to move,” said Christie, a Coker (S.C.) commit.

Iowa's Joel Shapiro scored a takedown with 5 seconds remaining in the 182-pound match to earn a 4-3 decision over Albert Gallatin's Tim Wallace, a Kent State commit. Bryce Esmoil scored a fall of Connellsville's Nate Ansell at the 3:20 mark to give Iowa a 21-6 lead.

Boone McDermott earned a 6-3 decision over Laurel Highlands' Ian Edenfield at 220 pounds, and Caleb Sanders scored a takedown with 20 seconds remaining in the final period to get a 3-2 win over West Mifflin's Gerald Brown at 285 pounds.

At 113, Grayson Kesterson earned a 5-2 decision over Moon's Frankie Bonura (33-6), a Wheeling Jesuit commit. Kyle Biscoglia scored a 9-5 decision over Louis Newell of Seneca Valley at 120 pounds.

It's been seven years since the Pennsylvania all-star team defeated the USA all-stars, but it came close to ending the streak Sunday. Trailing 23-18 going into the final match of the evening, the Pennsylvania all-stars put all their hope in Jefferson-Morgan standout and Penn State commit Gavin Teasdale (163-2) at 126 pounds. Only a fall would give Pennsylvania the win. Teasdale held a 2-1 lead over New Jersey's Patrick Glory (159-8), but the Princeton commit scored a takedown with 22 seconds remaining in the second period to even the score 3-3. Glory's last-second points set up a dramatic third and final period. Teasdale managed to score two points with seven seconds remaining that to earn a 5-4 win. But it wasn't enough as the Pennsylvania all-stars fell to the USA all-stars 23-21 to bring an end to the classic.

“It's the best tournament of the year, and it's great,” Teasdale said after his win. “You gotta just believe in what you do. I went in, and my goal was trying to score points.”

There were three WPIAL wrestlers on the squad.

Kiski Area's Isaac Reid, a Lock Haven commit, lost a 17-8 major decision to Minnesota's Gable Steveson at 285. Steveson, a Minnesota commit, came into the meet 171-0. Canon-McMillan's Logan Macri lost a 6-4 decision to Patrick McKee of Minnesota at 120 pounds, and Belle Vernon's Zach Hartman, a Bucknell recruit, lost a tough 14-8 decision to Ohio's David Carr, an Iowa State commit, at 152.

William Whalen is a freelance writer.

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