Wrestling notebook: Jefferson-Morgan’s Teasdale set to chase 4th PIAA title

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 | 7:06 PM

Western Pennsylvania wrestling fans found out last March that nothing is guaranteed on the mat.

No one expected Franklin Regional senior Spencer Lee to lose. But a controversial ending gave Exeter senior Austin DeSanto a 6-5 victory over an injured Lee in the PIAA championship match at 126 pounds.

After the match, Lee revealed he had a torn ACL, which required surgery. The loss prevented the Iowa recruit from making history as the next four-time undefeated PIAA champion.

Lee, disappointed in the loss, would not make excuses.

“I knew the risk and I still tried to obtain my goal,” Lee said. “It was my choice to wrestle.”

Now it's Gavin Teasdale's chance to obtain glory.

The Jefferson-Morgan senior, like Lee, enters his final season as a three-time PIAA Class AA champion and is undefeated. Teasdale will attempt to become the sixth wrestler in the state to achieve the feat.

Unlike Lee, Teasdale has yet to deal with a serious injury. Lee had shoulder surgery that kept him out for most of his junior season.

Teasdale (122-0) and North Hills sophomore Sam Hillegas are the WPIAL's only returning PIAA champions. Teasdale won the 126-pound title in Class AA, and Hillegas (43-0) won the 113-pound title in Class AAA.

There are 28 PIAA qualifiers, including 17 placewinners, returning for WPIAL teams in Class AAA, and 18 PIAA qualifiers and seven placewinners return in Class AA.

Returning state finalists in Class AAA include Hillegas, Laurel Highlands senior Ian Edenfield (54-15) at 220 pounds, Kiski Area senior Isaac Reid (106-24) at heavyweight, Seneca Valley senior Louis Newell (114-19) at 113 and Shaler junior Ryan Sullivan (51-19) at 106.

In Class AA, returning PIAA finalists include Teasdale, Southmoreland senior Tyler Griffiths (116-16) at 132 pounds and Beth-Center junior Dominic Fundy (75-12) at 182.

Back on top

The top teams entering the 2017-18 season are Kiski Area in Class AAA and Burrell is Class AA. Kiski Area is the returning WPIAL champion and ended up third in the state, defeating Cathedral Prep, 46-16. The Cavaliers' only loss was to Bethlehem Catholic in the PIAA quarterfinals. Kiski Area also defeated Central Dauphin, Owen J. Roberts, Canon-McMillan and Council Rock South.

There will be plenty of competition in Section 1, sub-section B in Class AAA, with Franklin Regional, Greensburg Salem, Hempfield, Norwin and Latrobe. Kiski Area competes in sub-section A.

Canon-McMillan, Waynesburg and Trinity will battle in Section 4; Connellsville, Albert Gallatin and Belle Vernon are the teams to beat in Section 2; and North Allegheny, Shaler, North Hills and Butler will vie for Section 3 supremacy.

Burrell has won 11 consecutive WPIAL Class AA titles. The Bucs could be challenged by Derry, which returns eight Southwest Regional qualifiers.

Others teams to watch include South Fayette, Valley and Quaker Valley in Section 3; Burrell, Burgettstown and Freedom in Section 1; and Derry, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland, McGuffey and Beth-Center in Section 2.

Dates to remember

Dec. 8-9: Eastern Invitational at Gateway; Chartiers-Houston tournament

Dec. 27-28: Steve DeAugustino Holiday Classic at West Mifflin

Dec. 28-29: Southmoreland tournament

Dec. 29-30: Powerade tournament at Canon-McMillan

Jan. 5-6: Westmoreland County Coaches' Association tournament at Norwin

Jan. 19-20: Allegheny County Invitational at Fox Chapel

Feb. 3: WPIAL team championship at TBA

Feb. 8-10: PIAA team championship at Hershey

Feb. 16: Class AA section individual championships at Canon-McMillan

Feb. 17: WPIAL Class AA individual championship at Canon-McMillan

Feb. 23-24: PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional at IUP

Feb. 24: Class AAA section individual championships at TBA

March 2-3: WPIAL Class AA/Southwest Regional championship at Canon-McMillan

March 8-10: PIAA individual championships at Hershey

Wrestling Q&A

Here's a few fun facts to test your local wrestling knowledge.

Q: What was the last team to win a WPIAL Class AA title before Burrell?

A: Mt. Pleasant, coached by Mark Mears, in 2006.

Q: During Burrell's 11-year title streak, how many coaches have the Bucs had?

A: Four — Chris Como, Ryan Yates, Bud Sines and Josh Shields.

Q: Since the WPIAL started holding a team tournament, which team is the only one to qualify every year?

A: Connellsville, 39 and counting.

Q: Who was the smallest enrollment school to win a WPIAL AAA title?

A: Chartiers-Houston, coached by Tim Mousetis, in 1981 and ‘82.

Q: Since 1990, only one Allegheny County team has won a WPIAL AAA title. Who was it and what year?

A: Bethel Park, coached by Bob Stewart, in 2009.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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