Wrestling notebook: Ligonier Valley’s Harbert hoping to build off WPIAL performance

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 | 3:52 PM

Ligonier Valley junior Ryan Harbert has had his share of struggles at the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional wrestling tournament.

He has a 1-4 record in two seasons and missed qualifying for the state tournament by one win. He hopes to change that trend this weekend.

“The Southwest Regional is a tough tournament,” Harbert said after he placed second at the WPIAL Class AA tournament, falling to Burrell senior Ian Oswalt last Saturday. “I didn’t do as well as I like to there. I hope to improve.”

The Southwest Regional draws wrestlers from Districts 5, 6 and the WPIAL to compete for spots in the PIAA tournament.

This year, however, wrestlers in Class AAA and Class AA have an extra step: the West Super Region.

The Class AA Southwest Regional and West Super Region tournaments are at IUP’s Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex the next two Saturdays.

The Class AAA WPIAL/Southwest Regional is Saturday at Canon-McMillan, and the Class AAA West Super Region is March 6 at Altoona High School.

Ligonier Valley competed in District 6 the past 40 years before moving back to the WPIAL this season.

Harbert (20-5) lost two matches over the weekend, both to Oswalt. His other three losses were at the Westmoreland County Wrestling Tournament.

He said his performance against Oswalt will help him in future matches against tough opponents.

“It really opened my eyes on what I can do in close matches with him,” Harbert said. “It really shows how good I am and how good I can be. My goal (this) week is keep advancing, top five at least.”

Oswalt, who became the 31st wrestler in WPIAL history to become a four-time champion, said Harbert is squirmy, which makes him tough to wrestle against.

“He’s pretty good,” Oswalt said. “He’s got great hips. You have to be patient.”

There are seven wrestlers from the WPIAL looking to become four-time placewinners at the Southwest Regional. That includes two-time champion Joey Fischer of South Park.

The others are Burrell senior AJ Corrado and Oswalt, Derry senior Ty Cymmerman, Freedom senior Trent Schultheis, Blackhawk senior Kenny Duschek and Burgettstown senior Shane Kemper.

Other returning regional champions are Oswalt (2019), Schultheis (2019) and Mt. Pleasant junior Dayton Pitzer (2019). Cymmerman is a three-time runner-up.

Waynesburg has 12 champions

WPIAL champion Waynesburg flexed its muscles at the Section 4-AAA tournament last Saturday, claiming titles in 12 weight classes.

The only weight class the Raiders did not win was 215 pounds, mostly because the Raiders’ subsection had four quality wrestlers at that weight but only two advanced to the section tournament. Waynesburg’s Noah Tustin fell just short of advancing.

The Raiders have four No. 1 seeds for this weekend’s WPIAL tournament — Mac Church (120 pounds), Cole Homet (138), Wyatt Henson (145) and Luca Augustine (172).

Looking for 3

Seneca Valley senior Alejandro Herrera-Rondon (152) and junior Dylan Chappell (132) are looking to capture their third WPIAL titles this weekend.

Herrera-Rondon was the 113-pound champion in 2019 and won 132 last season. Chappell won the 106-pound title in 2019 and 120 in 2020. The other returning champions from 2020 are Church (106), Franklin Regional senior Carter Dibert (113), Henson (138), Hempfield senior Ty Linsenbigler (145), Pine-Richland senior Cole Spencer (152), Augustine (160), Belle Vernon junior Cole Weightman (220) and Hempfield senior heavyweight Isaiah Vance.

There are five wrestlers looking to become four-time placewinners: Herrera-Rondon, Dibert, Linsenbigler, Hampton senior Justin Hart and Vance.

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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