WPIAL wrestling notebook: Nation’s best geared up for Powerade tournament

Tuesday, December 27, 2022 | 11:12 AM

It’s not easy to win a Powerade Wrestling Tournament title these days.

This is the 56th annual tournament, which begins Thursday and ends Friday at Canon-McMillan High School in Canonsburg, and the competition continues to get tougher every season.

The WPIAL and PIAA’s top wrestlers are challenged by a who’s who of the top programs in the country: Wyoming Seminary, Malvern Prep, St. Edward (Ohio), St. Joseph Regional (N.J.), Wadsworth (Ohio), Bishop McCort, Christiansburg (Va.), Dobyns Bennett (Tenn.), Homewood Flossmoor (Ill.), Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), Orting (Wash.), Cincinnati Moeller (Ohio), Slam Academy (Nev.) and Eastside (S.C.). There will be wrestlers from a record 70 schools this season.

The top WPIAL teams entered include Trinity, Connellsville, Waynesburg, Canon-McMillan, Latrobe, Hempfield, Franklin Regional, Norwin, Quaker Valley, Frazier and Burrell.

Only three WPIAL wrestlers — Penn-Trafford’s Troy Hohman, Mt. Lebanon’s Mac Stout and Mt. Pleasant’s Dayton Pitzer — won titles last year. Those three are wrestling in college.

Other WPIAL finalists in 2021 were Thomas Jefferson sophomore Maddox Shaw (126), Waynesburg senior Mac Church (132) and West Allegheny senior Ty Watters (145).

Returning 2021 placewinners include three third-place finishers in Seneca Valley senior Tyler Chappell (113), Waynesburg junior Joe Simon (120) and Waynesburg senior Rocco Welsh (172) and two fourth-place finishers in Frazier junior Rune Lawrence (172) and Trinity senior Ty Banco (heavyweight).

Other placewinners back this year are Latrobe senior Vinny Kilkeary (fifth at 120), West Allegheny junior Shawn Taylor (sixth at 160), Burrell junior Cooper Hornack (seventh at 113), Waynesburg junior Brody Evans (seventh at 189), Hempfield senior Ethan Lebin (eighth at 126), Trinity junior Blake Reihner (eighth at 132) and West Allegheny senior Nico Taddy (eighth at 152).

Kilkeary is injured and may not compete.

“I’m holding out Vinny and Nate (Roth) until January,” Latrobe coach Mark Mears said. “Both are fighting different injuries, and I want get them healthy when it counts.”

While the main tournament begins Thursday, the first girls tournament will be begin Wednesday, along with the junior varsity and junior tournaments.

Here are the top two seeds. Also listed are WPIAL wrestlers seeded in the top eight.

107: 1. Ayden Smith, Notre Dame-Green Pond. 2. Ethan Timar, St. Edward (Ohio). WPIAL: 6. Tanner Mizenko, Canon-McMillan.

114: 1. Bo Bassett, Bishop McCort. 2. Louie Gill, Reynolds. WPIAL: 5. Luke Willochell, Latrobe.

121: 1. Luke Lilledahl, Wyoming Seminary. 2. Jax Forrest, Bishop McCort. WPIAL: 8. Jack Kazalas, Quaker Valley.

127: 1. Nikolas O’Neill, Malvern Prep. 2. Eren Sement, Council Rock North. WPIAL: 3. Ethan Lebin, Hempfield. 4. Tyler Chappell, Seneca Valley. 8. Mason Kernan, Bethel Park.

133: 1. Maddox Shaw, Thomas Jefferson. 2. Jack Consiglio, Malvern Prep. WPIAL: 6. Joe Simon, Waynesburg.

139: 1. Pierson Manville, State College. 2. Luke Simcox, Central Mountain. WPIAL: 7. Blake Reihner, Trinity.

145: 1. Mac Church, Waynesburg. 2. Vince Bouzakis, Notre Dame-Green Pond. WPIAL: 6. Nico Taddy, West Allegheny. 8. Lucas Kapusta, Hempfield.

152: 1. Ty Watters, West Allegheny; 2. Cross Wasilewski, Delbarton, N.J.

160: 1. Joe Sealey, Wyoming Seminary. 2. Reed Fulmer, Malvern Prep. WPIAL: 3. Dylan Evans, Chartiers Valley. 4. Shawn Taylor, West Allegheny.

172: 1. Rocco Welsh, Waynesburg. 2. Louis Cerchio, Delbarton, N.J. WPIAL: 6. Matt Furman, Canon-McMillan.

189: 1. Jude Correa, Wyoming Seminary. 2. Rune Lawrence, Frazier. WPIAL: 6. Juliano Marion, Franklin Regional. 7. Brody Evans, Waynesburg.

215: 1. Austin Johnson, Muncy. 2. Wyatt Bush, Grundy, Va. WPIAL: 5. Connor Jacobs, Armstrong. 6. Corey Boerio, Latrobe. 8. Eli Makel, Waynesburg.

285: 1. Jim Mullen, St. Joseph Regional, N.J. 2. Riley Robel, Bishop McDevitt. WPIAL: 4. Ty Banco, Trinity.

Falcons pin Raiders

No. 3 Connellsville pulled off a slight stunner when it defeated No. 4 Waynesburg, which was ranked third at the time, 36-33 in a nonsection match.

Despite winning only six of the 13 matches, the Falcons used five consecutive pins and a forfeit to edge out the Raiders, who lost for the second time in a week. Waynesburg lost to No. 2 Butler, 40-32, at the Kiski Area Duals.

Connellsville got pins from Landon Lynn (107), Zach Franks (114), Jacob Layton (121), Evan Petrovich (127) and Julian Ruggieri (139). Gabe Ruggieri (133) received a forfeit.

The Raiders got pins from Nate Jones (152) and Jake Stephenson (160) and a forfeit to Rocco Welsh (172).

Coming up

The annual Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association tournament will be held Jan. 6-7 at Greensburg Salem.

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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