Wrestlers have one last hurdle en route to PIAA championships

Friday, March 5, 2021 | 5:40 PM

To become a PIAA wrestling champion in 2021, wrestlers had to face new challenges, or in this case, another qualifying tournament.

Wrestlers from Class AA and Class AAA have one more hurdle, the Super Region, to clear before earning a trip to Hershey for the PIAA championships March 12 and 13 at the Giant Center.

There are four Super Region tournaments, two in the west and two in the east. The top four in each weight class at the region advance to Hershey.

Because of the coronavirus and restrictions put forth by Gov. Tom Wolf on limiting indoor gatherings, the PIAA reduced the tournaments from three days to two days.

They also reduced the number of wrestlers in each weight class going to Hershey to eight from 20 with Class AA competing on Friday and Class AAA on Saturday. All the region tournaments begin at 8:30 a.m.

“I’m just grateful that we’re getting a chance to compete,” Derry senior Ty Cymmerman said. “With the pandemic and all of the restrictions, let’s hope we can finish.”

Cymmerman (30-5), a three-WPIAL champion, is looking for his first PIAA title. He placed fourth and sixth previously.

Standing between Cymmerman and his fourth trip to the state tournament are: No. 2 Blackhawk senior Kenny Duschek, No. 3 Reynolds senior Kaeden Berger and Hickory junior Carter Gill. Ranked No. 1 in the state at 145 pounds by PaPowerWrestling is Biglerville junior Levi Haines.

Cymmerman opened the West Super Region for Class AA at IUP’s Kovalchick Complex against Saegertown senior Jaeden Reagle (17-5).

Cymmerman has lost to Duschek three times this season: at Powerade, the WPIAL championship and last week in the finals of the Southwest Regional. Each time Cymmerman has closed the gap, losing 3-1 last week.

“I have to continue to work hard and try to do the things coach has been telling me,” Cymmerman said. “I still have to more weeks to get things right.”

The WPIAL has nine wrestlers in Class AA seeded No. 1: Burrell freshman Cooper Hornack (106), Bentworth freshman Chris Vargo (113), South Park senior Joey Fischer (126), Duschek (145), Laurel sophomore Grant MacKay (152), Burrell senior A.J. Corrado (160), Frazier freshman Rune Lawrence (172), Freedom senior Trent Schultheis (189) and. Mt Pleasant junior Dayton Pitzer (215).

“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Lawrence said. “Each step it gets a little tougher.”

Lawrence found the competition to be a lot tougher at the Southwest Regional. He rallied for a 4-3 win against Glendale junior Suds Dubler in his first match then trailed Penns Valley senior Malachi Duvall, 6-2, before getting a pin at 5 minutes, 37 seconds to win the title.

He will face a familiar foe to open the tournament: McGuffey’s Ethan Barr whom he has defeated four times and hasn’t allowed a point.

“He’s tough, and you can’t let your guard down,” Lawrence said.

Pitzer, who was a PIAA champion at 189 in 2019, said wrestlers have to refocus each week.

“You can’t look too far ahead,” he said. “There are a lot of good wrestlers in the state.”

Pitzer (36-2) has 27 pins his season, 55 in his career. He enters this tournament with 10 consecutive pins. He has 15 pins in less than 50 seconds.

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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