Wrestling All-Stars from across the state, country put on thrilling show

Saturday, March 30, 2024 | 10:03 PM

At the 50th annual Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic on Saturday at Peters Township, the crowd patiently waited for the long-awaited rematch between Frazier’s Rune Lawrence and Max Shulaw, a two-time Ohio state champion from St. Francis DeSales.

When Shulaw and Lawrence met at the Ironman Tournament in December, Lawrence hurt his knee on what many saw as a questionable move by Shulaw.

“Getting my hand raised was all that mattered to me,” Lawrence said. “I wasn’t trying to do anything fancy out there. Although I did check his body lock in the beginning and tried a takedown to stick him.”

Halfway through the 215-pound match, Lawrence said he took an incidental knee to the head from Shulaw, which staggered him, and he had to be looked at by the medical personnel. But he was able to get back in and secure a 6-3 victory.

For Lawrence, a four-time PIAA champion and West Virginia recruit, it was a rewarding way to end his high school career.

“It’s nice knowing I’m the best in the country in my weight class,” Lawrence said. “It’s pretty sweet and an honor when I get asked to do these types of events.”

Bentworth’s Chris Vargo, a three-time PIAA champion and Edinboro commit, held his own against two-time Oklahoma state champion J.J. McComas. The match went the distance, including two extra 30-second periods, with McComas coming out on top 2-1.

In the 139-pound match, Burrell’s Cooper Hornack, a three-time WPIAL champ and 2023 PIAA champion, lost a 7-6 decision against Kyler Larkin of Valiant College Prep (Ariz.).

Hornack, who will attend Columbia in the fall, had a 5-4 lead at one point in the third period but could not break free of Larkin’s grip.

The Pennsylvania All-Stars lost to the United States All-Stars, 27-12.

The meet between the WPIAL All-Stars and the New Jersey All-Stars was a spirited affair, with the WPIAL team winning 27-19. Four of the matches were paused because of blood being drawn on part of the Jersey All-Stars.

Franklin Regional’s Tyler Kapusta, a Bucknell commit, got the WPIAL team on the board with a 4-3 win against Logan Brzozowski at 121 pounds.

After the WPIAL lost two consecutive matches, Hempfield’s Eli Carr gave the lead back to the WPIAL All-Stars with a 12-2 major decision at 152 pounds against Jeremy Quezada of Dumont High School.

Carr, a WPIAL champion in 3A, tried to pin Quezada to begin the match but was unsuccessful.

“To me, pinning is the goal of wrestling, and that’s what I tried to do,” said Carr.

Early in the second period, Carr executed a nice reversal to tack on points.

“I gave up a takedown and just tried to stay in good position,” he said. “I’m pretty comfortable when I’m giving up that cradle. I knew if I just stayed in good position and had my head up, I’d get him.”

Taking part in the event was a fun experience for Carr.

“I love wrestling in front of big crowds, the goal is to have fun and entertain,” he said. “I love being able to hang with my friends, who are also on the team, and it’s great to be a part of this tradition and to be at the 50th is pretty special.”

Andew Binni from Canon-McMillan won a 9-0 major decision in his bout at 127. Mason Kernan of Bethel Park gave the WPIAL team back-to-back major decision wins with his 14-1 victory at 133, and Bodie Morgan from Trinity won his match at 172 with an 8-0 major decision.

With the meet tied at 19 and the last two matches in 215 and 285 to go, Juliano Marion from Franklin Regional scored a 4-0 decision in 215 to tally the meet-winning points for the WPIAL.

In 285-pound match, Central Valley’s Brenan Morgan, a WPIAL and PIAA champion, got out of Luke Abilio’s grapple, leapfrogged over Abilio and pinned him.

Other WPIAL wrestlers who competed were Jorden Williams (114) of Chartiers-Houston, Gaven Suica (139) of Burgettstown, Penn-Trafford’s Haden Coy (145), Hopewell’s Isaiah Pisano (160) and Norwin’s Nathan Campbell (189).

Mason Kernan was selected as the outstanding wrestler for the WPIAL team.

On the girls side, the Pennsylvania All-Stars lost to the Ohio All-Stars, 39-19.

In the opening match, Butler senior Ana Malovich won an 11-2 major decision over Addison Rudolph from Central Crossing High School at 118 pounds.

Malovich, a PIAA runner up and WPIAL champion, opened the first round with a solid takedown of Rudolph. Then, Malovich struck quickly in the second round, securing another takedown, lifting Rudolph into the air and driving her to the mat.

“She started off and reached heavy, so I had to hit a quick slide by,” said Malovich. “Felt good, so I let her up got that shot again and felt like riding her out. Second period I got a nice double on her straight to her back and got another take down and just rode it out from there.”

The win was something Malovich really needed after her loss to Savannah Witt of Palisades in the PIAA championship match.

“My states match really took a toll on me,” she said. “I just came back from Estonia yesterday where I competed for Team USA in a freestyle match last weekend and placed fourth.”

Malovich, a Grand Valley State University recruit, received the Outstanding wrestler award for the Pennsylvania team.

“It’s something so surreal,” Malovich said. “Ever since I was a little girl, I grew up around wrestling because my brother wrestled, so I was always at tournaments like the Dapper Dan Classic. I hold wrestling close to my heart. “

At 155, North Allegheny senior and WPIAL champion Leyna Rumpler lost a 9-5 decision to Meghan Werbrich from Taylor High School.

Rumpler, a Baldwin Wallace recruit, scored a quick two points early in the first round, when she missed a takedown attempt, but was able to reposition herself and put a lock on Werbrich.

Throughout the second and third rounds, Rumpler did a good job of riding out Werbrich from the bottom position and had a 5-4 lead with 30 seconds left in the match.

With 20 seconds to go, Werbrich was able to get low and bring Rumpler down and hold her in a chokehold for the final 15 seconds for the win.

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