WPIAL wrestling notebook: Injuries shake up Class 3A team race

Tuesday, January 17, 2023 | 5:41 PM

A little more than a month into the WPIAL Class 3A wrestling schedule, things have been very unusual in the team portion of the season.

While Trinity and Butler, both undefeated, occupy the top two spots in the Trib HSSN team rankings in Class 3A, are they the best teams? Waynesburg, Connellsville and Latrobe have been missing key wrestlers from their lineups most of the season, but when healthy are extremely tough to beat.

Trinity owns wins against Latrobe, which was missing three key starters, and North Allegheny, and Butler has beaten North Allegheny and Waynesburg, which also was missing three starters.

More will be known about the Hillers the next two weeks as they host West Allegheny on Wednesday and travel to Waynesburg on Jan. 25.

Butler (13-0) is coming off an impressive performance at the Virginia Duals, winning the American Division. The National Division was won by Wyoming Seminary, which defeated Nazareth in the finals and Easton in the semifinals.

Butler defeated Great Bridge, Va., in the finals.

The Golden Tornado already has defeated Seneca Valley and North Allegheny.

“I like my chances when we get our guys back,” Latrobe coach Mark Mears said. “Vinny (Kilkeary) missed a big portion of December, and Nate Roth has been cleared to wrestle. Wyatt Schmucker was also missing from the lineup when we wrestled Trinity.”

Latrobe defeated Hempfield but lost to Connellsville by a point. Neither the Wildcats nor the Falcons were at full strength. The Falcons still have a tough match in Section 4 on Jan. 25 at Hempfield.

On Wednesday, Franklin Regional and Norwin collide in Murrysville for the Section 3 title, and Kiski Area and Plum battle for the Section 1 title.

The WPIAL eliminated the sub-section tournaments this season. The top three teams in each section will be entered into the team tournament beginning Jan. 30 with preliminary matches. The finals are slated for Feb. 4.

Allegheny County seeds set

The annual Allegheny County Wrestling Tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at Fox Chapel High School. Action begins at 11:30 a.m. Friday. It resumes at 11:30 a.m. Saturday with the semifinals. The finals are slated to begin at 4:30 p.m.

There are six returning champions, five from 2022 and one from 2020. The 2021 tournament was canceled because of covid-19.

Pine-Richland senior Anthony Ferraro won the 106-pound title in 2020 and was runner-up at 126 in 2022.

The 2022 champions returning are North Allegheny junior Casey Walker at 106, Quaker Valley junior Jack Kazalas at 113, Bethel Park junior Mason Kernan at 120, Thomas Jefferson sophomore Bode Marlow at 138 and Pine-Richland senior Joey Schneck at heavyweight.

Chartiers Valley senior Dylan Evans, the 152-pound PIAA Class 3A champion, finished second in 2022 and third in 2020.

North Allegheny is the returning team champion. West Allegheny, one of the stronger teams in the county, is not entered in the tournament.

The No. 1 seeds in the tournament are: 107: Mt. Lebanon’s Ejiro Montoya; 114: Plum’s Rylen Campbell; 121: Kazalas; 127: Quaker Valley’s Brandon Krul; 133: Kernan; 139: Thomas Jefferson’s Maddox Shaw; 145: Quaker Valley’s Logan Richey; 152: Marlow; 160: Evans; 172: Carlynton’s Chase Brandebura; 189: Allderdice’s Marcus Wahali; 215: North Allegheny’s Aiden Buggey; 285: Schneck.

West A wins

West Allegheny had three champions and won the Mid-Winter Mayhem at the IUP Kovalchick Center: Nico Taddy (145), Ty Watters (152) and Shawn Taylor (160).

West Allegheny had 161 points and six placewinners. Fort LeBoeuf was second with 145.5 and Penn-Trafford third with 119.5.

Heavyweight Joe Enick was the Warriors’ champion, and Owen Ott (215) placed third and Hayden Coy (127) was fourth.

Franklin Regional was eighth with 115 points and one champion: junior Juliano Marion at 189.

Burgettstown reigns

The Blue Devils had four champions and ran away with their own tournament with 238 points. Meadville was second with 167, and Grove City was third with 160.

The four champions were Parker Sentipal at 114, Gaven Suica at 133, Joey Sentipal at 139 and heavyweight Joey Baronick. Eric Kovach (145) and Rudy Brown (152) finished second.

Central Valley had two champions: Antonio Boni (107) and Brenan Morgan (215).

Franklin Regional, Derry shine

Franklin Regional had five Westmoreland County Junior High champions and Derry four at the annual county tournament at Mt. Pleasant.

The Panthers finished with 244.5 points and 13 placewinners. Winning titles were Salvatore Colangelo (80), Titus Colangelo (85), Mike Ruane (108), Cohen Buccicone (130) and Max Firestine (138). Ethan Cartwright (122) and John Montgomery (130) placed second.

Derry finished with 239 points, and Kiski Area was third with 237.5.

The Trojans’ champions were Dylan Bateman (94), Mason Horwat (145), Brady Brown (210) and Aiden Piper (250). Placing second were Rocco DeCario (80), Brady Aliff (155) and Chase Lukon (190).

Latrobe had two champions: Nathan Sobota (155) and Hunter Snyder (170). Kai Maxwell (87) placed second.

Other champions were Price Denairo of Kiski Area at 190, Connor Hoffman of Belle Vernon at 122, Jake Halstead of Hempfield at 101 and Luke DeSantis of Penn-Trafford at 115.

This and that

Numerous wrestlers reached the 100-win milestone recently. They include Butler’s Levi Donnell, Carlynton’s Chase Brandebura, Trinity’s Ty Banco, Waynesburg’s Eli Makel and Canon-McMillan’s Matt Furman. … Frazier is closing in on its first section title. The Commodores already have clinched their first playoff berth. … Burrell will be competing in the Ultimate Duals at Brookville Saturday. Other teams in the tournament include host Brookville, Chestnut Ridge, Fort LeBoeuf and Reynolds. … Butler is competing in the Clearfield Duals on Saturday. … Connellsville has lost four matches this season, and three were to nationally ranked teams: Blair Academy (N.J.), Brecksville-Broadview Heights (Ohio) and Baylor School (Tenn). They defeated Waynesburg and St. Christopher’s, the top team from Virginia. They were missing two starters in their loss to Canon-McMillan.

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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