Life as a top seed can be dangerous. Franklin Regional’s Colton Camacho found out the hard way Friday.
The Franklin Regional senior came into the Powerade Christmas Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the 126-pound weight class, but he suffered an 8-4 upset loss to St. Edward (Ohio) wrestler Angelo Rini in Friday night’s quarterfinal round at Canon-McMillan.
Two No. 1 seeds fell in Friday’s action. Ricky Cabanillas of DePaul Catholic (N.J.), the top seed at 145, lost in the quarterfinals to Council Rock North’s Cameron Robinson.
The WPIAL’s other three top-seeded wrestlers — Norwin’s Kurtis Phipps, North Hills’ Sam Hillegas and Thomas Jefferson’s Max Shaw — advanced to Saturday’s semifinal round, but even they had to fight through tough matches.
Phipps used a third-period reversal to outlast Belle Vernon’s Logan Seliga, 2-0, in the round of 16 at 120 pounds, before getting a pin in the quarterfinals.
“I felt good coming in with the 1 seed, but I thought the bracket was actually pretty tough in my quarter,” said Phipps, who won a Powerade title last December. “It’s always good to have good matches.
“That Seliga’s real tough. He was at 126 all last year, and I wasn’t expecting to see him drop. But those are the type of kids I want to wrestle because I need to test myself against the bigger kids.”
Hillegas, a Powerade champion in 2016, pinned his first three opponents before getting a 4-2 decision over Samuel Glassco of Mason (Ohio) in the quarterfinals.
“You get a scrappy kid who knows what he’s doing, definitely a quality opponent,” Hillegas said. “You’ve just got to stay wrestling throughout the entire match, don’t stop. You’ve just got to keep grinding for the next point.
“You try to get (the No. 1 seed) out of your mind. Of course you know people are going to be gunning for you. No matter what seed you are everybody’s going to try out and compete with you, but definitely as the 1 seed, you have to stay in course of your mission and follow through.”
21 to semifinals
A total of 21 WPIAL wrestlers advanced to the Powerade semifinals, which begin at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Kiski Area led the way with three semifinalists: 132-pounder Darren Miller, 160-pounder Jack Blumer and 170-pounder Nick Delp. The Cavaliers rank fourth in the team standings, best among WPIAL teams.
“The more forward you move through in this thing, the tougher it gets,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said.
“Obviously, we include our guys in the toughness factor of what’s left here. Our guys have earned their way in the spot they’re in right now. I just want them to wrestle as hard as they can, as best as they can, and get out of here in one piece.”
Canon-McMillan, Mt. Lebanon, Norwin and Seneca Valley have two semifinalists apiece. Belle Vernon, Burrell, Derry, Franklin Regional, Hempfield, Latrobe, McGuffey, North Hills, Shaler and Thomas Jefferson have one.
It’s got the Power
Derry’s Dom DeLuca finished fourth at Powerade in 2017. He finished second at the PIAA tournament.
Stories like that abound at Powerade, wrestlers who finished lower on the medal stand at the post-holiday tournament than they did in their state finals. It’s why Powerade consistently ranks among the top high school wrestling tournaments in the country.
“This one’s insane,” said DeLuca, a senior. “Every match you’re getting someone tough. Even as a fan, just to come here and watch, this is awesome.”
DeLuca, seeded second at 220 pounds, earned his way to the semifinals with a technical fall and pin Friday.
“Last year, I made it to the semis and didn’t do too pretty after that,” he said. “I’m just taking it one match as a time.”
Nothing like the real thing
Norwin’s Phipps and Burrell’s Ian Oswalt have wrestled each other plenty of times. Just never for real.
The two practice partners from Young Guns Wrestling Club will meet for the first time in a real match Saturday morning in the semifinals at Powerade.
“We practice a good bit, like once a week,” Oswalt said. “We’re friends off the mat, but on the mat we both know that it’s just on the mat. We’re still going to be friends off the mat.”
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at [email protected] or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.