Class AA local preview

The following is a brief look at the local wrestling teams in the WPIAL. Records and weights are from last year. Incoming freshmen not included.

Class AA
Key Losses: Jared Magon (171, 32-12).
Key Returns: Shawn Carl (10, 160, 10-9); Zach Simonelli (11, 160, 10-9); Jake Temple (10, 215, 27-9).
Comment: Another tough season for the Eagles.

Key Losses: Dylan Demain (160, 43-7, 7th in PIAA); Gus Mizia (171, 39-5, 5th PIAA); Sam Lapcevic (135, 31-15)
Key Returns: Francis Mizia (12, 145, 44-6, 7th PIAA); Jake Rothka (10, 103, 28-7); Vince Vahaly (11, 119, 34-12); Nick Smydo (12, 26-11); Jake Barker (11, 17-13).
Comment: Bearcats have talent at bottom, middle and top of lineup, and will be difficult to beat.

Key Losses: Erik Bolin (135, 29-13); Jeff Tarley (Hvy, 34-5, 3rd PIAA).
Key Returns: Zach Swarrow (11, 103, 32-12, 7th PIAA); Matt Riggle (10, 145, 19-10); Zach Holmes (12, 215, 21-16).
Comment: Coaching change caused quite a stir.

Key Losses: Tyler Rommes (119, 38-7); Dom Pulcini (130, 25-8); Dylan Fleming (145, 36-10); Darren Reed (189-27-14); Chris Bendick (215, 18-9)
Key Returns: Ryan Abbott (12, 125, 20-13); Jeff Sayer (11, 135, 23-15); Roger Vigliotti (12, 19-21)
Comment: Lot lost to graduation.

Key Losses: Cody Wiercioch (11, 160, 39-3, 2nd PIAA); Tommy Thorpe (171, 28-14)
Key Returns: Nick Gavazzi (10, 119, 28-9); Aaron Toth (12, 125, 33-11); Josh Kwasny (12, 135, 32-12)
Comment: Wiercioch’s transfer to Canon-McMillan hurts. Low numbers a challenge to new coach, Dave Nelson.

Key Losses: Ryan Dodd (119, 20-13); Andrew Lis (130, 17-16); Blake Balsama (135, 14-14); Michael Innes (145, 41-6, 4th PIAA); Tony Lucciola (171, 11-7); Jeremy Anesetti (189, 25-16)
Key Returns: Richie McGinnis (10, 103, 29-14); Jake Jones (10, 112, 10-9); Pete Provenzano (10, 112, 14-10), Andrew Vernau (12, 125, 27-11); Tanner Sutton (11, 130, 37-11); Tom Orembaum (12, 140, 17-12); Garret Vulcano (11, 160, 35-12); Joey Congie (12, 171, 21-18); Nate Grandelis (12, Hvy, 33-12)
Comment: Performance from last year’s freshmen will determine how far Bucs will go.

Fort Cherry
Key Losses: Zach Morris (130, 17-8); Adam Lucarini (135, 17-10); Sam Guidi (171, 34-7, 7th PIAA); Gary Kiefer (189, 10-2)
Key Returns: Greg Kumer (12, 215, 24-6); Corey Garry (12, Hvy, 32-5)
Comment: Good finishing punch to the lineup. But what’s below is a concern.

Key Losses: Quincy Hathaway (160, 32-13), Tyler Perkins (215, 24-18).
Key Returns: John Demaske (10, 103, 29-9); Jason Miller (10, 112, 30-14), Ryan Zalar (10, 119, 28-18); Alex Agnew (11, 125, 19-18); Shane Black (12, 130, 22-17); Dustin Conti (11, 171, 37-17); Joe Phillips (12, 189, 33-15); Brian Rush (12, Hvy, 28-17).
Comment: Has potential to be best team at J-M since Cary Kolat era.

South Fayette
Key Losses: Nick Carr (152, 41-2, 2nd PIAA); Brian Haney (160, 32-12).
Key Returns: Kevin Chaussard (10, 103, 18-14); Seth Carr (11, 112, 32-11); Grant Fetchet (10, 130, 23-14); Mike Fetchet (11, 145, 31-15)
Comment: Core is there for new coach, Rick Chaussard.

Key Losses: None
Key Returns: George Rogers (10, 130, 20-12);
Comment: Another season of an uphill struggle.

West Greene
Key Losses: Jake Durbin (140, 35-9); Devon Pierson (171, 10-9).
Key Returns: Wade Blackmon (11, 119, 16-12); Matt Johnston (11, 145, 19-9); Wade Durbin (12, 152, 22-15); Brent Sink (12, 160, 19-15); Cody Jacobs (11, 189, 25-10).
Comment: Finding talented lightweights a priority.

(Coming soon: Class AAA)


Retherford gets new hearing

From Jeremy Elliot of the Harrisburg Patriot-News

The waiting game continues for standout high school wrestler Zain Retherford.

During the off-season, Retherford transferred from Line Mountain to Benton High School, citing family reasons and bullying for the move. District 4 unanimously voted to declare Retherford ineligible for the upcoming season, stating it was a transfer for the benefit of athletics.

In Thursday’s appeal to the PIAA, the board of appeals was forced to remand the case back to District 4 after district officials failed to adhere to policies concerning sequestering parties during testimony.

“There was a fundamental process flaw, and this is not an issue we want submitted to an appeal court,” PIAA Director of Legal Affairs Michael Solomon, Esquire, said. “Our goal is to get it right the first time.

“There was a hiccup in the process, and it was strong enough that it has to be reheard at the district level. This gives both parties a chance to restate their case.”

The old transcript will be thrown out and Retherford, his parents, Benton and Line Mountain officials will argue their cases from scratch and go through the process a second time.


Wiercioch ruled eligible to wrestle


By a unanimous 7-0 vote, the PIAA Board of Control upheld the transfer of Cody Wiercioch from Charleroi to Canon-McMillan High School and made him eligible to compete this season.

Wiercioch won gold and silver medals in the state tournament while at Charleroi and enrolled in Canon-McMillan for this, his junior year, after his parents purchased a house in Cecil Township.

Wiercioch had a hearing with the WPIAL Board of Control Oct. 17 and his eligibility was denied by an 8-6 vote.

The hearing in front of the WPIAL board was needed after Charleroi contested Wiercioch’s tranfer. The family moved from its home in Charleroi to Cecil Township and Cody and his sisters enrolled in Canon-McMillan.
The Wiercioch family had looked at purchasing a home in the Chartiers-Houston School District.

Charleroi and Canon-McMillan agreed that Wiercioch was not recruited to wrestle for Canon-McMillan.


Preseason Team Rankings

Class AAA
1. Canon-McMillan
If Cody Wiercioch is eligible and the Big Macs stay healthy, they should win both team titles.
2. Franklin Regional
Losing Nico Megaludis hurts, but FR would still be No. 2 with him.
3. North Allegheny
Everyone returns from a 15-3 team, including state qualifiers Dom Forys and Alex DeCiantis.
4. Pittsburgh Central Catholic
Jason Luster is a beast and Tyler Zymroz might be back.
5. Latrobe
Three returning state placewinners bolster this group.
6. Butler
Cole Baxter and two other strong middleweights graduated.
7. Connellsville
Ethan Kenney and Tanner Wiltrout return.
8. Peters Township
Five seniors, including Zan Kail, graduated.
9. Kiski
Cavaliers lost starters from 152-215, except for Matt McCutcheon.
10. Hampton
All but one wrestler back from 19-4 team.
Class AA
1. Jefferson-Morgan
Quincy Hathaway graduated but this team is loaded.
2. Chartiers-Houston
The Bucs lost 136 bout wins to graduation from last year. Tanner Sutton and Garrett Vulcano are studs.
3. Kittanning
State champion Jason Nolf leads a strong group of lighter weights.
4. Bentworth
Dylan Demain and Gus Mizia graduated, but Bearcats strong from 152-down.
5. South Side Beaver
Shane Gentry, Connor Payne return. Dave Demor, fifth in the state, graduated.
6. Burgettstown
Blue Devils lost a lot to graduation but Terry Havelka always coaxes wins from his wrestlers.
7. Fort Cherry
A strong finishing punch with Greg Kumer and Corey Garry.
8. West Greene
Seven returning starters will help.
9. South Fayette
New coach, new start, but no Nick Carr.
10. Burrell
Devastated by graduation and reported Zach Kelly transfer to Kiski Prep.


Klempay, Shorts pick colleges

Two Canon-McMillan wrestlers - heavyweight Cody Klempay and middleweight Colton Shorts - have accepted scholarship offers from Division I programs.
Klempay received a scholarship from the University of North Carolina and Shorts from Cal Poly.
Klempay was a third-place finisher in the PIAA Championships last season, posting a 47-1 record. His only loss came in the heavyweight semifinals of the state tournament.
North Carolina is coached by former Council Rock state champion C.D. Mock, and Cary Kolat and former Waynesburg and Pitt wrestler Drew Headlee are assistant coaches.
Klempay chose UNC over Pitt, Penn State and Clarion.
Shorts became the first wrestler in Canon-McMillan history to win 50 matches in a season, going 50-2. He placed third in the PIAA Championships at 103, losing in the semifinals to eventual state champion Billy Rappo of Council Rock South.