WPIAL wrestling notebook: Frazier’s Rune Lawrence looking to make history

Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 5:15 PM

History could be made Saturday at the WPIAL Class 2A wrestling championships at Chartiers Valley.

If Frazier senior Rune Lawrence captures the 215-pound weight class, it will be his fourth WPIAL title, and he would become the 32nd wrestler to achieve that feat.

He also would join his brother Thayne as the first brother duo in WPIAL history to become four-time champions. Thayne Lawrence, who is wrestling at Lehigh, won his titles from 2017-20.

The Class 2A tournament begins at 5 p.m. Friday and resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday. The finals are slated for 3:30 p.m. The top eight in each weight class advance to the Southwest Regional on March 1-2 at Altoona.

Rune Lawrence (21-1) has signed a letter of intent to attend West Virginia.

He missed a month of the season because of a knee injury he suffered at the Ironman Tournament. He was injured in the semifinals and had to forfeit in the finals. He also missed the Powerade Tournament.

“It is a shame,” Frazier coach Buck Watkins said. “His goal was to win both of those tournaments. He had a good shot at both because he was wrestling well at Ironman. Now he’s focused on closing out his high school career.”

Lawrence looks to become the 14th four-time PIAA champion. If he does, he’ll be the seventh wrestler from the WPIAL to do so.

The others are Waynesburg’s James Conklin (1940-43), North Allegheny’s Ty Moore (1987-90), Jefferson-Morgan’s Cary Kolat (1989-92), McGuffey’s Jeremy Hunter (1993-96), Derry’s Jimmy Gulibon (2009-12) and Jefferson-Morgan’s Gavin Teasdale (2015-18).

Looking for three

Burrell senior Cooper Hornack and Bentworth senior Chris Vargo will be searching for their third WPIAL titles. There are 86 three-time winners.

Hornack defeated Vargo in the 2023 finals, and Vargo won the battle in 2022. They are at different weight classes this season. Vargo is at 127 and Hornack at 139.

Indiana junior Nico Zanella, the returning 114-pound champion, is in Vargo’s weight class.

Other returning champions include Central Valley’s Antonio Boni (107), Quaker Valley’s Jack Kazalas (121), Frazier’s Ryan Celaschi (152), Fort Cherry’s Braedon Welsh (172), Central Valley’s Brenan Morgan (215) and Mt. Pleasant’s Jamison Poklembo (106, 2021).

Burrell’s streak

Not only does the Burrell wrestling program have the longest winning streak for consecutive team titles in the WPIAL, they also have a long streak for individual champions.

Burrell has had a WPIAL champion for 24 consecutive seasons. Hornack’s win against Vargo kept that streak alive last season.

Class 3A begins

After a week off, the WPIAL Class 3A individual postseason begins Saturday at three sites: Kiski Area (Sections 1 and 2), Norwin (Sections 3 and 4) and South Fayette (Sections 5 and 6).

Action begins at 9:30 a.m., and the finals will begin a half-hour after the end of the second round of consolations.

The top six in each weight class will advance to the WPIAL Class 3A championship March 1-2 at Canon-McMillan.

This and that

Norwin senior Nate Campbell has received an appointment to wrestle for the United States Naval Academy. … Canon-McMillan senior Valarie Solorio has committed to wrestle for Iowa. … The Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic will start at 3 p.m. March 30 at Peters Township AHN Arena. The WPIAL All-Stars will face the New Jersey All-Stars at 4 p.m. followed by Pennsylvania against the United States at 6.

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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