Westmoreland wrestling champions crowned
Two Belle Vernon Area wrestlers claimed Westmoreland County titles Saturday, and coach Tyler Nauman hopes that serves as a springboard for his up-and-coming squad.
For BVA, Austin Bell captured the 160-pound crown with a 9-2 decision over Franklin Regional’s Brandon Yant and Milton Kaboly nipped Kiski Area’s Dakota Lange, 2-1, at 170.
Bell earned a 7-2 upset over Penn-Trafford’s Devin Austin in the semifinals.
“From the time I got here in the summer, Austin was doing all the wrestling he could do, every tournament I could find … and his work ethic is paying off,” Nauman said. “I still feel the rankings scare him a little bit, but he got after it and took (Austin) out and did what he had to in the finals.”
If Kaboly refines his technique, he’ll continue to give opponents fits, Nauman said.
“The (170-pound) weight class wasn’t as loaded as the others, but he wrestled well,” Nauman said. “Milty’s an unorthodox-type wrestler with some funky moves. I’m not trying to get him to change, just add some basic defenses and takedowns. If he does that, he’ll be hard to beat.”
Freshman Jarod Verkleeren also showed he’s a force to be reckoned with for the Leopards, advancing to the finals before getting pinned by Franklin Regional’s Josh Maruca, who is currently ranked second in the WPIAL Class AAA. Verkleeren just began competing last week because of injury.
His brother, Derek Verkleeren, garnered fourth place at 152 on Saturday. BVA also finished fourth in the team standings out of 17 schools participating.
“I have a bunch of young talent, our sophomore class is 15 deep and are maturing fast,” Nauman said. “As soon as they realize they’re as good as the kids they wrestle, we’ll be right at that point (of contending).”
Rams 2nd at Tri-CADA tourney
The Ringgold wrestling team showed well while hosting the 2014 Tri-County Tournament, with two grapplers claiming titles: Kenny Tarpley (132) and Devin Fallenstein (170).
As the No. 4 seed, Tarpley knocked off No. 1 seed Shaun Wilson of Waynesburg to advance to the finals, where he bested Matt Vickless of Bentworth, 7-2.
Fallenstein, who entered as the top seed, scored a 5-1 decision over Bill Bowlen of Jefferson Morgan for the title. Fallenstein, a senior entered the weekend as the second-ranked 170-pounder in Class AAA.
Also for the Rams, who finished second in the teams standings, Brandon Heinzelman (152) and Taylor Bass (285) placed second in their respective weight classes.
For Bentworth, Vickless and Jake Rothka (120) made it to the finals, but lost their title matches via decision.
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2635.