WPIAL roller-coaster ride sends 4 Franklin Regional wrestlers to states

Saturday, March 12, 2022 | 11:01 AM

Franklin Regional wrestling coach Matt Lebe said the WPIAL Class 3A championships were like a roller-coaster ride of a two-day tournament.

“We were good on Friday,” Lebe said. “Had a little letdown early Saturday, and then we finished strong.”

As a result, the Panthers had four wrestlers qualify for the state tournament, and senior Finn Solomon claimed his first WPIAL title. That gave Solomon a chance to capture his second PIAA title.

Joining Solomon at the state tournament were sophomore Ty Kapusta (106), junior Nate Stone (138) and sophomore Juliano Marion (189).

Kapusta finished third in the WPIAL, pinning Canon-McMillan sophomore Tanner Mizenko.

Stone finished fourth, falling to Connellsville freshman Lonzy Vielma, 5-2, while Marion fell to Canon-McMillan junior Gabriel Stafford. He defeated Stafford in the quarterfinals.

Overall, the Panthers had eight wrestlers compete in the WPIAL tournament March 4-5 at Canon-McMillan.

In the finals, Solomon defeated West Allegheny junior Ty Watters in overtime, escaping in the ultimate tiebreaker period for a 5-4 victory at 145 pounds.

“It was the most fun in a match I’ve been in,” Solomon said. “I wish I could have watched it.”

Lebe said after the Powerade tournament, Solomon changed his eating and work habits.

“He’s really improved since Powerade,” Lebe said. “He’s a different wrestler. All the guys have been working hard. It’s been fun watching them grow.

“Nate is an extremely hard worker and Ty has been getting better all season. Juliano has also shown steady improvement.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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