CANONSBURG -- Waynesburg Central wrestling coach Joe Throckmorton perfectly summed up the Raiders performance at the PIAA Class 3A Southwest Region Tournament, held Saturday at Canon-McMillan High School, with this quote.
“There were lots of highs and lots of lows,” Throckmorton said. “We had 12 guys here. I’m greedy and wanted all of my guys to move on. But I can’t forget that as dominating as we are as a team, that this is the individual part of the season and we’re in the best region in the country. The depth is insane here.”
It was no surprise that Waynesburg had the most wrestlers qualify for Saturday’s PIAA Class 3A Super Regional, which will be held at Altoona High School. Seven of its 12 entries placed in the top three, including five who wrestled in the title match, and three who won gold medals.
Belle Vernon’s Cole Weightman claimed the 215 title with a 7-0 decision over Armstrong’s Logan Harman.
Connellsville’s Chad Ozias and Jared Keslar each placed third to advance.
The Raiders easily claimed the team title with 120 points, outscoring runner-up Hempfield by 34.5 points. Throckmorton was named WPIAL Class 3A Coach of the Year and Raiders assistant Bob Stephenson was named Junior High Coach of the Year.
Cole Homet, Wyatt Henson, and Luca Augustine were the gold medalists. Rocco Welsh and Mac Church won silver medals. Joseph Simon and Colton Stoneking qualified after placing third.
Homet (25-1) won his first title with a 4-2 win over Franlin Regional’s Finn Solomon (29-2) in the 138-pound final.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said Homet, who placed third the last two years. “It feels great to finally win a title, especially since it was against such a good opponent.”
Homet’s reversal with 2 seconds left in the second period proved to be the winning points. He also scored a takedown with 13 seconds left. Solomon’s only points came on two escapes.
“I waited the whole period for that opportunity and was able to get the reversal,” Homet said. “The takedown iced the victory.”
Henson (27-0) claimed his second title and remained unbeaten with an 8-3 against Norwin’s John Altieri (27-3) in the 145-pound final.
“It’s awesome to win again,” Henson said. “I wish I could have dominated a little bit more. I still need to work on my conditioning.”
With a comfortable 8-1 lead, Henson made a huge mistake in the final 15 seconds and was put on his back by Altieri. Photos show that Henson was pinned, but it happened so fast that the referree didn’t have time to react.
“I was flat on my back. I was scared to death,” Henson said. “I just let down for a second. You can’t do that in a big match like this.”
Augustine (16-0) scored a reversal in the second period and held on for a 2-1 victory over Kiski Area’s Sammy Starr (34-3) at 172 pounds to win his second title.
“It’s great to win another title, but I’m not done yet,” Augustine said. “I have to get ready for super regions next week. This is my senior year and I’m going all out.”
Church (22-2) fell short of a second title with his 4-3 loss to North Allegheny’s Dylan Coy (24-2) in the 120-pound final. Coy’s takedown with 20 seconds left was the difference.
Welsh (22-3) lost to Seneca Valley’s Alejandro Herrera-Rondon (33-0), who claimed his third WPIAL title with a 2-0 win in the 152-pound final. It was the third time Herrera-Rondon has wrestled Welsh this season, and Welsh came up short all three times.
“It was actually the fourth time, if you count the True Power All-Star Match over the summer,” Herrera-Rondon said. “I’ve been able to beat him all four times, but he’s a very good opponent. It gets tougher each time we wrestle.”
Simon (22-4) placed third at 113 pounds after an 8-3 loss to Penn-Trafford’s Troy Hohman in the semifinals. He posted two wins in the consolation bracket, including a 4-2 overtime win over Pine-Richland’s Anthony Ferraro. The winning takedown came midway through the overtime period.
Stoneking (27-3) placed third at 132 after being slammed by Latrobe’s Nathan Roth with 16 seconds left in the consolation final and the match tied at 6-6. Stoneking suffered what is believed to be a neck injury when Roth brought him back to the mat. Action was stopped for 25 minutes while Stonking was placed on a backboard and taken to the hospital.
The injury occurred one bout after Connellsville’s Mason Prinkey suffered a similar fate in his consolation final against North Allegheny’s Nick Gorman at 126 pounds.
“He kind of landed on his neck,” Throckmorton said of Stoneking. “They took him to a hospital as a precaution. I’m not sure how serious it is or if he will be able to wrestle on Saturday. I will leave that up to the doctors. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
The Falcons placed 10th out of the 24 teams with 35.5 points. Belle Vernon was 13th with 26 points.
Keslar lost a 7-6 decision to Welsh in the 152 semifinals but came back to win a 6-2 decision over Franklin Regional’s Garrett Thompson to place third. Ozias claimed third place at 120 with an 8-4 decision over Hempfield’s Ethan Lebin.
Connellsville’s Jacob Layton and Mason Prinkey fell one win short of advancing. Layton settled for fourth after losing to Andrew Binni, 11-1, in the 106 third-place match, as did Prinkey who was pinned by North Allegheny’s Nicholas Gorman in 48 seconds at 126.