Top-ranked high school wrestlers cap Powerade tournament at Canon-McMillan

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They saved the best for last at the Powerade Christmas tournament, which concluded Saturday night at Canon-McMillan High School.

Big Macs senior Cody Wiercioch faced Kennard-Dale's Chance Marsteller in the 170-pound final. Both were two-time PIAA champions. Both were two-time Powerade champions. And the two were the top-ranked 170-pounders in the country, according to Amateur Wrestling News.

When the smoke cleared, Marsteller claimed his third Powerade title with a 3-2 win in triple overtime.

The two traded quick escapes in regulation, then again in the tiebreaker periods. Marsteller capped the victory with an escape four seconds into the ultimate tiebreaker period.

"It came down to the coin toss and he won," said Wiercioch, referring to the fact that Marsteller had the choice in the final overtime period. "I gave the crowd a good match. It was great to have the crowd on my side. It was a great environment to wrestle in."

Tournament officials decided to start the finals at 182 pounds, so that the match between Marsteller and Wiercioch could be wrestled last.

That meant Burrell's Dakota DesLauriers did not have to wait long to claim his second title.

DesLauriers faced off with Blair Academy's Addison Knepshield and posted a 3-1 victory with the deciding takedown coming in the second period.

"It's exciting to win another Powerade title," said DesLauriers, who was a PIAA Class AA runner-up in March. "It's just another stepping stone to winning a state title."

Hampton's Jake Hart was next in line to make a second consecutive appearance in the finals, but he was not as fortunate as Blair Academy's Frank Mattiace recorded a 3-2 win.

Mattiace scored the deciding point with an escape in the ultimate tiebreaker period.

The lightweights took center stage after Kyle Snyder of Maryland's Good Counsel and Brooks Black of Blair Academy claimed titles at 220 and 285. Black claimed his second title in a row.

Latrobe freshman Luke Pletcher capped an impressive performance in the 106-pound weight class with a 7-1 win against Saegertown's Devan Brown.

"I was a little nervous after the parade of champions and seeing the [sellout] crowd," said Pletcher, who scored a takedown early in the first period and dominated from that point.

"I felt much more comfortable after that first takedown."

Wiercioch was joined in the finals by Canon-McMillan teammate Connor Schram, who made his third title appearance and claimed his second title when Franklin Regional's Michael Kemerer defaulted 35 seconds into the second period after hitting his head on a takedown. Kemerer was a returning champion.

"You hate to win that way, but I was leading [4-2] at the time," Schram said. "I felt really good out there and wish he could have finished the match, but sometimes that happens. It's good to win my last Powerade match in front of the home fans."

Kittanning's Jason Nolf followed with an impressive 10-5 win in the 132-pound final against Franklin Regional's Tyler Smith. Nolf, a PIAA Class AA champion in 2011, was making his Powerade debut.

A third matchup of WPIAL wrestlers took place at 160 pounds, as Latrobe's Zack Zavatsky posted a 2-0 win against Greensburg Salem's Zach Voytek.

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