WPIAL wrestlers acquit themselves well at Class AAA Super Regional

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Saturday, March 6, 2021 | 9:00 PM


ALTOONA — Franklin Regional junior Finn Solomon and Hempfield senior heavyweight Isaiah Vance made statements Saturday at the PIAA West Super Regional at Altoona High School Field House.

Solomon had a dominating 12-1 victory against Waynesburg junior Cole Homet in the 138-pound final. Vance was equally impressive with a 7-2 thrashing of Selinsgrove senior Nate Schon, who was ranked No. 1 in the state by PaPowerWrestling.com.

It was a great day for the WPIAL as it walked away with nine champions and advanced 29 of 39 wrestlers to the PIAA championships March 13 at Giant Center in Hershey.

Solomon was upset when he lost to Homet, 4-2, in the Class AAA WPIAL/PIAA Southwest Regional on Feb. 27. He allowed Homet to control the pace and slow him down.

But he made sure that wouldn’t be the case this time around. Solomon ratcheted it up, and the result was a convincing victory.

Solomon used a reversal and the three-point nearfall to build a 5-0 lead in the second period. He put his opponent away with two more takedowns in the third period.

Solomon and teammate Carter Dibert (126) were two of the five wrestlers from the WPIAL to win titles in the morning session (weight classes 106-138). The other three were Seneca Valley’s Chappell brothers (Tyler at 106 and Dylan at 132) and Waynesburg sophomore Mac Church (120).

“Mentally was the big difference,” Solomon said about the match. “Last week, I was kind of conservative. I was nervous, and I wanted to win. This week I wanted to put up points, no matter the outcome.”

Solomon got a little scare in his first match of the day when he held on for a 10-7 win against Altoona senior Matt Sarbo. He followed that with a solid 9-1 win against Chartiers Valley sophomore Dylan Evans.

“It was a great match against Matt,” Solomon said. “It was a lot of fun. The goal this week was to score all the points I could.”

Latrobe sophomore Vinny Kilkeary (113), the returning PIAA 106-pound champion, lost to Manheim Township freshman Kamdyn Williams, 9-7. Kilkeary shrugged off the loss and is looking forward to Hershey.

The WPIAL picked up four more titles in the afternoon session (145 to 285). They were Norwin senior John Altieri (145), Seneca Valley senior Alejandro Herrera-Rondon (152), Pine-Richland senior Cole Spencer (160) and Vance.

It was an entertaining heavyweight battle. It wasn’t a typical heavyweight match with a lot of shoving and pushing. Vance and Schon showed quickness and agility.

Vance got a first-period takedown for a 2-0 lead. He extended that lead to 5-1 with an escape and takedown in the second period, and he fended off Schon’s attack in the third period.

“I was looking forward to this all week,” Vance said. “I got really excited when I found out that Nate was in this tournament because he’s really good, and I wanted to compete against him.

“I worked all week at keeping my feet going and keeping the pressure. I knew he was a quick guy.”

Vance doesn’t doubt there could be a rematch next week.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

Altieri won the 145-pound title after he was slammed by Waynesburg senior Wyatt Henson, who was attempting an aggressive double-leg takedown. Altieri landed on his head and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

“Everything is precautionary,” Norwin coach Kyle Martin said. “He had feeling and movement. But they just wanted to make sure. Hopefully, it’s only a stinger, and he can compete next week.”

Henson spoke to Martin after Altieri was taken away, apologizing and wishing Altieri well.

Seneca Valley ended up with three champions as senior Herrera-Rondon was awarded a win by default against Waynesburg sophomore Rocco Welsh at 152. Welsh had a lower-body injury according to Waynesburg coach Joe Throckmorton and didn’t want to risk anything.

Dibert said he was pleased he got to wrestle different people this week and not the same WPIAL guys. He defeated Central Mountain freshman Luke Simcox, 4-2, to win at 126.

“It was a great tournament, and this gets me ready for next week,” Dibert said. “Finn’s win, that’s how we knew he could wrestle. He got it done and looked awesome.”

The Chappell brothers had two close matches. Tyler used a late takedown to defeat Solanco senior Dom Flatt, 3-1, and Dylan survived a late comeback from Hempfield junior Briar Priest for a 7-6 win.

“I lost my pace against Briar,” Dylan Chappell said. “I got a little winded in the second period. I wrestled pretty tough, and I’ll be back next week.”

Pine-Richland’s Spencer used a five-point move in the last 10 seconds of his match to defeat Bellefonte senior Ethan Richner, 10-3. Spencer had allowed a reversal and trailed 3-2.

“I had to do something,” Spencer said. “I hit a switch and was able to catch him on his back for a five count. It was the difference in the match.”

Now Spencer has his focus on winning a state title. He already has one in football, and it’s something he’s been thinking about all season.

“It’s been my goal since I took fourth in the state tournament last year,” Spencer said. “I got one of them in November, and I’m hoping to do the same next week.”

Waynesburg advanced six of seven to next week, Hempfield four, Seneca Valley three and Norwin, Connellsville, Hampton and Franklin Regional two apiece.

The other Hempfield wrestlers moving on were Ethan Berginc (126) and Ty Linsenbigler (145) and Chase Kranitz (160).

Kiski Area had two wrestlers, but only senior Sammy Starr (172) moved on.

Starr won three of four matches and placed third by pounding State College senior Lance Urbas, 12-2.

Starr reached the semifinals but dropped a heartbreaker in overtime to eventual champion Trey Kibe of Mifflin County. It was 1-1 at the end of regulation.

Starr’s other wins were against Daniel Boone freshman Tucker Hogan, 12-1, in the opening round, and then 3-0 against Chambersburg senior Tate Nichter in the blood round.

Kiski Area senior Brayden Roscosky dropped his first match of the day, 5-2, to Dallastown senior Brooks Gable. He then used a late takedown to defeat Butler junior Cooper Baxter but lost in the blood round to Hampton senior Justin Hart, 5-1.

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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