ShareThis Page
Derry teammates each win third WPIAL crown |

Derry teammates each win third WPIAL crown

Derry 119-pounder Jimmy Gulibon prefers to wrestle on his feet.

His teammate, senior 140-pounder Travis Shaffer, is more of an opponent-on-the-ground grappler.

At the WPIAL Class AA individual championships Saturday, each talked about needing to improve what the other does well.

But, as it turned out, neither suffered too much because of weaknesses.

Both Gulibon and Shaffer secured their third WPIAL titles. Gulibon defeated Shady Side Academy’s Phillip Elias, 19-6, and Shaffer won, 2-0, over South Side Beaver’s David Demor.

“If we could combine our abilities, we’d be like the perfect wrestler,” Shaffer joked. “(The stylistic difference) helps in the practice room. … We make each other better every day, and it’s a blessing to have him there.”

Fourteen wrestlers went home with WPIAL gold at Chartiers Valley High School, and eight were repeat champions. The tournament also determined which seven wrestlers in each weight class advanced to the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional tournament, which begins Friday at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

Gulibon, a junior, and Shaffer were two of the four wrestlers to win a third title — South Fayette senior 152-pounder Nick Carr and Burrell senior 130-pounder Dave Makara also accomplished the feat.

Burrell led all teams in champions (five) and regional tournament qualifiers (nine). However, in a much-anticipated rematch of last season’s 152-pound WPIAL final, Burrell senior Travis McKillop lost, 2-1, in the 160-pound finals to Charleroi sophomore Cody Wiercioch, who fell in the title match a year ago.

The bout was scoreless after one period. Then Wiercioch, a defending regional and PIAA champion, managed a reversal 51 seconds into the second period.

McKillop, a two-time WPIAL champion, escaped from Wiercioch’s control one minute into the third period and scrambled for a takedown, but Wiercioch avoided the attacks.

“We definitely know each other well,” said Wiercioch, who described the bout as a “redemption match.”

“I think we wrestle the same way, and that’s why it’s always such a competitive match. … I think it just came down to conditioning in this match. … I’ll definitely meet him again.”

Three Jeannette wrestlers reached the finals, but all settled for silver.

Sophomore 125-pounder Sean LaVella lost by pin to Shady Side Academy’s Geoff Alexander, a four-time champion who was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler.

Senior 135-pounder Michael DePalma was pinned by Burrell’s Jeremy Landowski with 22 seconds left in the third period; DePalma led, 6-4, at the time.

Senior 215-pounder Anthony Deni lost, 2-1, in overtime to defending WPIAL and regional champion Brian Beattie of Burrell.

Jeannette coach Matt Lebe took each of the losses in stride.

About LaVella: “He knew what he was getting into … at that point, we just wanted him to go out and battle.”

About DePalma: “We kind of controlled the tempo of the match, but Landowski managed to get the pin. That’s the way it goes sometimes, and hopefully we’ll be better for it.”

About Deni: “If he continues to get better, we hope he’ll realize he has the ability to wrestle with some of the best guys in the state.”

And about the team as a whole: “For us to have three guys in the final is a very big step for the program.”

Southmoreland junior Jordan Kitta, a sixth-place finisher last season, defeated Jefferson-Morgan’s Joe Phillips, 4-3, in the 189-pound final to secure his first WPIAL title. He attributed the jump on the medal stand to an increased commitment to aggressive wrestling.

“I was keeping my offense up,” Kitta said. “I didn’t do that a lot (in the past).”

Mt. Pleasant senior 112-pounder Nick Hough and Charleroi junior 125-pounder Aaron Toth, defending WPIAL champions at 103 and 112, respectively, placed third this season.

Photo Galleries

WPIAL Class AA Indiviual Wrestling Championships Finals

WPIAL Class AA Indiviual Wrestling Championships Finals

Championship round action from the WPIAL Class AA Individual Wrestling Championships at Chartiers Valley High School on February 26, 2011.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.