Kiski Area wrestlers roll into WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals after convincing victories
The Kiski Area wrestling team is halfway home to what it hopes is a third consecutive WPIAL Class AAA team championship.
The top-seeded Cavaliers defended their house Wednesday evening, scoring a 65-6 first-round victory over South Fayette and a 49-16 quarterfinal triumph over Connellsville.
“I thought we wrestled well,” Kiski coach Chris Heater said. “Some of our matches were kind of a little sluggish in places. Connellsville wrestled us a lot tougher this time around than three weeks ago. Some of their guys really scrapped hard.
“We wrestled a lot of guys in both matches again. I’m trying to continue moving the team along and prepare the team for matches. We’re getting extra guys in who are contributing and helping balance out the whole team.”
The wins propel Kiski Area into Saturday’s semifinals against No. 4 Canon-McMillan. The match will be at 4 p.m. Saturday at Norwin. The Big Macs defeated Franklin Regional and Thomas Jefferson on Wednesday to punch their ticket the final four.
The Cavaliers defeated Canon-McMillan, 33-24, in last year’s championship match.
“It will obviously tighten up more in the semifinals,” Heater said. “The guys are excited to prepare for Saturday.”
The other semifinal Saturday will pit Waynesburg against Seneca Valley.
The championship match is set for 6 p.m.
Cavaliers junior Nick Delp scored a pair of victories at 170 pounds, and his 60-second pin of Austin Lembo in the opening bout against the Falcons was the 100th of his varsity career.
Delp also is 29-2 on the season.
“I’m really happy and excited that he was able to do it at home,” Heater said.
Delp’s win kicked off a five-bout winning streak for the Cavaliers that resulted in a 24-0 lead.
“It was pretty awesome to look up into the crowd and see all my friends cheering for me and holding up the posters,” Delp said. “I was excited to get the match started like that for my team.”
Dylan Mullen (182) and Braden Roscosky (195) followed Delp with decision victories, Troy Kuhn (220) picked up a forfeit, and Jack Dilts (285) delivered a pin.
Connellsville’s Mason Prinkey, No. 5 in this week’s Trib HSSN WPIAL rankings at 106, halted Kiski’s run with an 11-1 major decision over Antonio Giordano.
“Kiski is such a tough team to match up against, especially through the middle weights,” Connellsville coach Jesse Swink said. “But it’s an honor to be able to make it to this tournament. I’ve been here three years, and every year, I’ve seen more improvement in our guys, and we’re able to go a little further in the tournament. We keep using this as a goal and a learning experience to try to get even better for next year.”
Kiski clinched the victory at 138 despite a close 3-1 loss by Sammy Starr to Josh Maruniak. The Cavaliers led 36-16 at that point with three bouts remaining.
The Cavaliers added on at the end as Enzo Morlacci posted a 10-1 major decision at 145, Cam Connor recorded a 6-0 decision at 152, and Jack Blumer pinned his way to victory at 160.
“We knew Connellsville was a tough team and they would come in and give everything they had,” Delp said. “Everyone needed to stay focused and ready and wrestle hard. That’s what we did.”
Kiski Area advanced to the quarterfinals with wins in 13 of the 14 matches against South Fayette. The Cavaliers recorded bonus points in 10 of those matches.
Stone Joseph scored what was one of the more dramatic victories of the match.
Trailing 2-1 in the closing seconds of the heavyweight bout, Joseph put Quentin Franklin on his back and recorded the fall with only five seconds left on the clock.
“That was a really good match,” Heater said. “(Franklin) is a really good heavyweight, and he’s beaten a number of the other highly-ranked heavyweights by a point or so. Stone made a really nice throw, and that was a remarkable finish for him. That’s a great win for him.”
Also recording pins against South Fayette were Julian Jones (113), Darren Miller (132), Jared Curcio (138), Blumer (160) and Kuhn (220).
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-388-5825, [email protected] or via Twitter @MLove_Trib.