Wrestling notebook: 6 wrestlers look to become 3-time WPIAL champions

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Tuesday, February 21, 2023 | 5:59 PM


During the 87 years of the WPIAL individual championships, only 31 wrestlers have won four titles and 84 three titles.

That number could grow over the next two weeks.

Three Class 2A wrestlers — Bentworth junior Chris Vargo, Laurel senior Grant MacKay and Frazier junior Rune Lawrence — can become three-time winners at Chartiers Valley.

The Class 2A begins 5 p.m. Friday and resumes at 11:30 a.m. Saturday with the semifinals and 3:30 p.m. with the finals.

Three Class 3A wrestlers — Seneca Valley senior Tyler Chappell, Latrobe senior Vinny Kilkeary and Waynesburg senior Mac Church — can become three-time champions at Canon-McMillan on March 4.

Lawrence and Vargo have a shot at becoming four-time winners, and Lawrence could join his brother, Thayne, as a four-time winner.

Those looking to win their second titles in Class 2A include Burgettstown’s Parker Sentipal (114 pounds), Joey Sentipal (139) and heavyweight Joey Baronick, Burrell’s Cooper Hornack (127) and Niko Ferra (139) and Carlynton’s Chase Brandebura (160).

Class 3A wrestlers hoping to win their second titles include Latrobe’s Luke Willochell (114), Hempfield’s Ethan Lebin (133), Chartiers Valley’s Dylan Evans (160) and Waynesburg’s Rocco Welsh (172).

Lawrence, Church and Kilkeary are attempting to become three-time PIAA champions.

Junior high champs

The Connellsville Junior High School wrestling team captured the WPIAL Junior High Championship on Feb. 18 at Norwin.

The Falcons finished with 240.5 points and had nine placewinners, including three champions and two second-place finishers.

Franklin Regional finished second with 183 points followed by Trinity with 172.5, Norwin 167, Kiski Area 166.5 and Derry Area 152.5.

Winning titles were Norwin’s Coleton Klipa (89), Shaler’s Brooks Blasko (110), Penn-Trafford’s Luke Desantis (117), Elizabeth Forward’s Luke Boyer (124), Derry’s Mason Horwat (140), Kiski Area’s Mario Hutcherson (147), Latrobe’s Hunter Snyder (172), North Hills’ Roman Thompson (192) and Armstrong’s Taye Bradshaw (212).

Franklin Regional had eight placewinners, which included two second-place finishers and three thirds. Placing second were Michael Ruane (103) and Max Firestone (140). Placing third were Titus Colangelo (89), Beau Fennick (96) and Chase Smith (110).

Norwin had six placewinners including one runner-up: Aiden Catterall (157). Kiski Area had four placewinners, and Abrahm Taylor (172) finished second. Derry had five placewinners and two second-place finishers: Dylan Bateman (96) and Aiden Piper (252).

Girls tournaments

The PIAA said if 100 schools would sponsor girls wrestling, they would add it as a sport.

The PIAA recently announced more than 100 schools have indicated they would sponsor the sport.

The Western Pa. Girls Championship was held Feb. 19, and it doubled in size since last year.

This was the second year for the tournament, which drew 81 athletes from WPIAL and City League schools to compete at North Allegheny.

Three girls, who are ranked nationally by USA Wrestling, won titles: Canon-McMillan junior Valarie Solorio (106 pounds), Butler sophomore Ana Malovich (112) and Laurel senior Abbie Miles (170).

Solorio is ranked third nationally at 100 pounds, Malovich is 13th at 106 and Miles is 22nd at 164.

North Allegheny had the most individual champions with five, but Canon-McMillan won the overall team title with 236 points. Wrestlers from 26 schools competed.

The sport has experienced significant growth statewide in the past two years as advocates pushed for official PIAA-sanctioned status.

Those organizers celebrated earlier this week when Pennridge in Bucks County became the 100th Pennsylvania high school to sponsor a girls team, reaching the threshold needed to become a PIAA sport eventually.

Next on the postseason schedule is a state regional March 5 at Kiski Area, followed by the championship March 12 at Central Dauphin. This Western Pa. tournament could become an official WPIAL championship next year or the year after.

Canon-McMillan had four champions. Joining Solorio were Capri Chambers (100), Leilani Ramos (124) and Natalie Rush (190).

North Allegheny was second in the team standings with 139 points behind individual winners Sophia Folks (130), Audrey Morrison (142), Callie Rautenbach (148), Leyna Rumpler (155) and Kaylee Dean (235).

Other winners included Knoch’s Braylee Ireland (118) and Norwin’s Jo Dollman (136).

This and that

Frazier’s Lawrence reached 100 wins in his career by winning the Southern Region title.

Laurel senior Colin Bartley was not able to defend his 113-pound title because he was injured in a hunting accident.

The Class 3A sectionals will held Saturday: Sections 1 and 2 at North Allegheny; Sections 3 and 4 at Norwin; and Sections 5 and 6 at South Fayette.

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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