The West Allegheny wrestling team claimed one tournament title last weekend and hopes to win another this weekend.
The Indians captured the Midwestern Athletic Conference title on Saturday at South Side Beaver. It was the 13th team title for West Allegheny in the 45-year history of the tournament. Hopewell is a distant second with only seven titles.
"It was definitely a team-earned title," West Allegheny coach Mike Johnson said. "We were the only team that had all 14 kids place among the top eight in their weight classes. Every single kid contributed to this title. You can't ask for much more than that."
West Allegheny scored 196.5 points in the two-day tournament, while Mars finished second with 185.5 points. Hopewell was a close third with 180.5, and Montour rounded out the top four with 163 points.
All four teams had four wrestlers in the finals, and each had two champions.
Nate Hall and Josh Bahr won titles for West Allegheny, while teammates Ryan Cunningham and Shea Beaumont were silver medalists.
Hall won the 145-pound title with a 20-5 technical fall of Montour's Travis Grando. Bahr won at 160 with a pin of Mars' Ryan McMahon. Cunningham was pinned by South Side Beaver's Nathan Reckner in the 120-pound final. Beaumont dropped a 4-0 decision to Hopewell's Damon Sims Jr. in the 285-pound final.
"It was an awesome performance," Johnson said. "The kids have been working so hard. I'm very proud of them."
Richie Boeh and Austin Bitzer won titles for Mars, while McMahon and Johan Van Wyke placed second. Boeh claimed his second MAC title with a 15-6 win against Ambridge's Kevin Holman at 126 pounds. Bitzer won the 195-pound crown with a pin of Ellwood City's Brad Grinnen. Van Wyke was pinned by Montour's Cole Macek in the 220-pound final.
Sims and Filippo Crivelli each claimed their second MAC titles for Hopewell. Crivelli won the 138-pound title with a 9-2 win against Beaver's Ben Palermo. Damon Drositis and Michael Tempalski were silver medalists for the Vikings.
Drositis fell short of his second consecutive title at 170 after a 3-1 loss to Laurel's Dalton Rosta. Tempalski lost, 5-2, to Moon's Patrick Barcaskey in the 182-pound final.
Macek and Sal Desimone captured titles for Montour, while Grando and Tyler Kim placed second. Desimone won the 106-pound title by pinning Moon's Jason Ruffing. Kim lost, 10-0, to South Side Beaver's Shane Gentry in the 132-pound final.
South Side Beaver was the only team with three champions. Gentry and Reckner were joined atop the winners platform by Chris Flynn, who claimed the 113-pound title with a 16-4 win against Ambridge's Mike Chambers.
Reckner and Freedom's Boe Bonzo became the 10th and 11th wrestlers in the history of the tournament to win four titles.
"All my family came out to see me win the fourth title," said Reckner, who was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament. "It was special to have it happen here at home."
Bonzo claimed his fourth title by pinning Beaver's Curt Struwe in the 152-pound final.
"It's a big accomplishment to win four MAC titles," Bonzo said. "I've been thinking about this possibility since I won my first title as a freshman."
West Allegheny, South Fayette, Montour, Moon Area, Carlynton and Chartiers Valley are among 39 teams entered in this weekend's Allegheny County Championships, which begin tomorrow morning at Fox Chapel Area High School.
"The Allegheny County Tournament is much bigger and stronger than the MAC Tournament," Johnson said.
"Our goal is to make a top-five finish, but that will be no easy task with such a strong field."
West Allegheny has never had a top-five finish in the past 11 county tournaments.
South Fayette's lineup features a pair of returning silver medalists. Seth Carr was the runner-up at 113 last year and returns at the same weight. Michael Fetchet has moved to 170 after placing second at 160 last year.hsother