Season preview, part 3

Class AAA

(Weights, records from 2009)


2009 record: 18-5

Key losses: Sam Lombardo (140, 24-6); Colin Ryan (152, 25-9)

Key returns: Connor Schram (103, 42-4); Colton Shorts (112, 25-10); Dario Dobbin (119, 25-12); Nick Catalano (135, 33-4); Cody Klempay (215, 39-5)

Outlook: Two promising freshmen coming. Big Macs team to beat in Class AAA.


2009 record: 5-9

Key losses: Alex Dunaway (119, 28-10); Nick Shuman (215, 20-8)

Key returns: Brent Blacharczyk (160, 18-14)

Outlook: Highlanders have only two wrestlers returning with double-figure victories from last season.

Peters Township

2009 record: 13-6

Key losses: None

Key returns: Devan Evanovich (103, 15-8); Mike Buckiso (112, 21-13); Luke Palamides (119, 27-8); Derrick Evanovich (125, 26-8); Tyler Wilkes (135, 17-10); Sean Woodrow (140, 21-11); Zan Kail (145, 20-9)

Outlook: If Indians can find some upperweights, they will be hard to beat.


2009 record: 6-20

Key losses: Fred Garcia (189, 34-2)

Key returns: Alex Powell (119, 26-13); Jake Wisener (130, 27-7); Neal Rands (215, 31-6)

Outlook: Young team last year. Still weak through the middle.


2009 record: 7-2

Key losses: Chanc Spiker (140, 16-5); Mike Standish (145, 13-6)

Key returns: Mike Ardeno (130, 25-7); Jordan Roberts (152, 14-8); Patrick Jennings (160, 22-13); Kyle McWreath (189, 32-8)

Outlook: Lightweights are soft. McWreath is a stud.


2009 record: 15-7

Key losses: None

Key returns: Derrick Nelson (119, 33-6); Zach McGinnis (125, 33-8); Alex Teagarden (152, 27-10); Jeremy Ellis (171, 28-5); Kyle Gray (189, 23-9)

Outlook: Should make another run in the team tournament. Nelson and McGinnis each won 33 matches last year.


Season preview, Part 2

Fort Cherry

(Weights, records from 2009)

2009 record: 6-4

Key losses: None

Key returns: Sam Guidi (160, 30-4); Gary Kiefer (189, 31-5); Greg Kumer (215, 27-10); Corey Garry (Hvy, 6-1).

Outlook: If Rangers can find some lightweights, they will be tough to beat. Corey Garry derailed by injuries last year.


2009 record: 7-6

Key losses: James Miller (125, 14-8); Zach Doman (Hvy, 29-11)

Key returns: Kody Decker (145, 14-13); Quincy Hathaway (160, 28-14); Joe Phillips (189, 27-9)

Outlook: Lower weights are weak; Like Burgettstown, J-M did not have a state qualifier, which is a head-scratcher.

South Fayette

2009 record: 3-3

Key losses: Brian Haney (171, 17-14)

Key returns: Seth Carr (103, 20-15), Nick Carr (145, 32-2)

Outlook: Not much team-wise, but everyone will be watching the Carrs.


2009 record: 1-7

Key losses: Deven Tyler (135, 15-12))

Key returns: Cameron Tolliver (140, 7-14)

Outlook: Seven wrestlers starters who will be either sophomores or juniors this season.

West Greene

2009 record: 4-8

Key losses: Colton Blumer (135, 28-4)

Key returns: Matt Johnston (125, 16-13), Wade Durbin (145, 15-11)

Outlook: Upper weights were weak and will be again.

Season Preview, Part 1

Class AA

(Weights, records from last season)


2009 record: 1-10

Key losses: Nathan Carl (189, 22-6), Aaron Margaria (140, 17-16); Tom Cowden (145, 7-18); Jesse Noble (171, 7-9).

Key returnees: Jared Magon (152, 28-14); Zach Simonelli (160, 13-14)

Outlook: Low numbers doom the team portion of the season. Magon a superb athlete.


2009 record: 6-5

Key losses: None

Key returnees: Vince Vahaly (112, 30-9); Francis Mizia (130, 35-10); Gus Mizia (152, 37-9); Dylan Demain (160, 35-8).

Outlook: The core is there. What will determine the season's success is the development of the other six wrestlers who were either a freshman or sophomore last season.


2009 record: 3-15

Key losses: Brandon Pape (145, 14-19); Jordan Kinder (152, 19-17)

Key returns: Zach Swarrow (103, 35-10); Jeff Tarley (Hvy, 39-2)

Outlook: Numbers still a problem. Swarrow and Tarley are studs.


2009 record
: 17-4

Key losses: Erich Openbrier (125, 26-14); Mike Fleming (135, 32-11); Zach Schilinski (145, 36-11); Jesse Crawford (171, 18-13); Nate Stiffler (Hvy, 12-9)

Key returns: Tyler Rommes (112, 34-8); Dom Pulcini (130, 25-16); Dylan Fleming (140, 34-9); Darren Reed (189, 23-14); Chris Bendick (215, 26-18)

Outlook: Blue Devils will win the Section 1A. Hard to believe none made it to states out of this group last year.


2009 record: 5-4

Key losses: Greg Black (125, 22-14); Ray Campbell (215, 29-10); Jake Linn (Hvy, 29-12)

Key returns: Aaron Toth (103, 30-6); Josh Kwasny (119, 19-4); Cody Wiercioch (152, 38-1); Tommy Thorpe (171, 25-15)

Outlook: Where the Cougars are good, they are really good. Where they are bad, they are really bad. Biding time until Wircioch makes another run in postseason.


2009 record: 15-2

Key losses: Grant McCarty (112, 12-4); Vic LiPari (119, 39-7); Thomas Hairston (189, 21-14)

Key returns: Tanner Sutton (125, 35-8); Andrew Vernau (130, 23-8); Tom Orenbaun (135, 17-11); Michael Innes (140, 31-4); Garrett Vulcano (145, 30-16); Jeremy Anesetti (171, 25-15); Nate Grandelis (Hvy, 19-12)

Outlook: This team is loaded. C-H is a step below only Burrell in the WPIAL in Class AA. Only concern is the tendency for injury this program has had over the past few seasons.


Triangular meet at McGuffey

McGuffey High School will host a triangular college wrestling match Saturday in the school’s gymnasium. Three teams – Penn State-Dubois, Penn State-new Kensington and Ohio Valley University – will compete. Matches will be held at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

11:30 a.m. - Penn State-Dubois vs. Ohio Valley University
1 p.m. – Ohio Valley University vs. Penn State-new Kensington
3:30 p.m. – Penn State-Dubois vs. Penn State-new Kensington


Preseason Rankings

Class AAA

1. Canon-McMillan

The defending champio Big Macs add two talented freshmen lightweights - Dalton Macri and Solomon Chisko - to a strong lineup that includes defending state champion Connor Schram (103), Nick Catalano (135) and Cody Klempay (215).

2. Central Catholic

Only one senior was lost from last year's team. Lorenzo Thomas (140), a state runner-up, is back as are two state qualifiers in Tyler Zymroz (130) and Eric Nutter (135).

3. Latrobe

Latrobe lost two seniors, but one was state medalist Eric Shaffer. Chase Small (112) and Ty Lydic (130) anchor a strong core of lighterweights.

4. Albert Gallatin

Last year's young talent is a year older and should make a move to the top of the WPIAL. Seniors Tyler Haines(130), Patrick Palmer (145) and Jacob Lowry (152) form a strong middleweight 1-2-3 punch.

5. Connellsville

Graduation wiped out the heavyweight starters from last year, including former state champion Nate Gaffney. State medalist Ethan Kenny (103) leads a dangerous group of lighterweights.

6. Kiski

Eight seniors, including state medalists Zach Shannon and Justin Harold - were lost to graduation. Cole Landowsky (119) and Matt McCutcheon (1760) should improve on their strong freshman seasons.

7. Penn-Trafford

Willie Bohince (103) was one of two state qualifiers. Tim Connelly (119) and Christian Bosco (189) combined for 49 wins. PT lost 194 wins to graduation.

8. Butler

Eleven of 13 starters return. Cole Baxter (171), a state qualifier, and Mike Crawford (140) were 30-match winners last year.

9. North Allegheny

NA lost seven starters from last year, including state qualifier Andy Candiello. Greg Gaus (103) and Kevin Monper (13) head this lineup.

10. Hempfield

Garrett Swarm and Dom Testa are gone. Returning starters Paul Bewak (112) and Nick Garofola (189) made it to Hershey last year. The rest of the lineup is average.

Class AA

1. Burrell

Burrell will repeat as WPIAL team champions because only two starters were lost to graduation from last year's team. Five state qualifiers return, including Dave Makara (125), Jeremy Landowsky (130), Travis McKillop (152), Dakota DesLauriers (171)and Brian Beattie (215).

2. Chartiers-Houston

Michael Innes (140) leads a strong lineup that includes promising sophomores Tanner Sutton (125) and Garrett Vulcano (145). Andrew Vernau (130) and Nate Grandelis (Hvy) combined for 42 wins last year.

3. Burgettstown

The Blue Devils are good at nearly each weight. The question is: Can they be great? Tyler Rommes won 34 matches. Three other 20-match winners - Dom Pulcini (130), Darren Reed (189) and Chris Bendick (215) - add balance.

4. Shady Side Academy

Talent is there in three state qualifiers - Phillip Elias (112), Geoff Alexander (119) and Anthony Elias (125). But from 140 up, SSA's projected starters who combined for just 45 wins.

5. Keystone Oaks

State qualifier Mike Kazalas (171) and 30-match winner Matt Drabick will pace a group of younger talent.


Let's start with alignments and details

The following link can be used to view the WPIAL wrestling alignments for teams for this season. Waynesburg and McGuffey remain in Class AAA despite AA enrollment, still a good move. Jefferson-Morgan continues its co-op agreement with Carmichaels.


This link will take you to the cover page for wrestling on the WPIAL website. It explains the postseason format, well, a least it tries to.


Here are some of the more important parts of the cover page.

First Practice Date ~ November 19 Maximum Competitions ~ 22
First Scrimmage Date ~ November 26 Maximum Scrimmages ~ 2
First Competition Date ~ December 10


Preseason rankings up next

Some of you have wondered why I have waited to release my preseason rankings. The reason is simple. I haven't had the time. Actually, I see no purpose in releasing preseason rankings in the August. A lot can happen in the months leading up to the season, such as two new talented freshmen added to Canon-McMillan's squad.

And once you release the preseason rankings, what do you do after that? It's not as if you can have a different one the following week.

Anyway, I plan to have a team-by-team synopsis before the first matches, showing the returning wrestlers, those lost to graduation and what the team's prospects are. So keep checking for that here.

I will also release a list of the top wrestlers in the WPIAL returning this season, their records and weight class if possible.

So stay tuned, tell your friends the rankings are coming, and give me some feedback.

Oh, one more thing. I welcome any little tidbits of news you come along, so let me know what you hear.


Wiercioch wins Super 32

Cody Wiercioch, who captured a state wrestling championship as a freshman at Charleroi High School last season, is off to an impressive start this fall.
Wiercioch won the 160-pound wieght class at the the Super 32 Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Sunday.
Wiercioch won a 7-3 decision over Niko Reyes of Clovis West High School in Fresno, Calif., in the finals. Wiercioch aslo won a 4-2 decision over Taylor Massa of St. John’s, Mich. in the semifinals.
Two other Pennsylvania wrestlers – Geoff Alexander of Shady Side Academy and Ken Courts of Central Dauphin – each won their weight classes. Alexander took the 125-pound title and Courts 189.
Three Canon-McMillan wrestlers – Dalton Macri, Connor Schram and Solomon Chisko – had strong showings. Macri, a freshman, took fifth at 103 pounds. Schram, who won a PIAA title last season as a freshman, finished third at 112 pounds. Schram dropped a 5-4 decision to Zane Retherford of Line Mountain in the semifinals.
Chisko, also a freshman, took third at 125 poounds. Chisko avenged a loss to Steven Rodrigues of Fox Lane High School in Bedford, N.Y., with a 3-0 decision in the consolation finals.