Chartiers-Houston's Garrett Vulcano, left, lost to Milton's Ryan Solomon in PIAA title match.
By Ken Wunderley Tri-State Sports & News Service
The South Fayette wrestling team shattered a school record at the PIAA Class AA tournament this past weekend at the Giant Center in Hershey.
The Lions had three wrestlers earn place-winner status by finishing among the top eight in their weight classes.
"Prior to this year, we had only six place-winners in the history of the program, but never more than one in a season," South Fayette coach Rick Chaussard said. "To have three medalists in one season is something to be proud of."
Seth Carr (39-5) placed second at 113, Michael Fetchet (43-5) finished fourth at 170 and Jared Walker (34-9) seventh at 160.
"We could have done better in a few weight classes, but overall we had a very good tournament," said Chaussard, who was obviously disappointed with the results of the title match at 113.
Carr dropped a 1-0 decision to Derry Area's George Phillippi (42-4) in the 113-pound title match. The two also met in the WPIAL title match and Phillippi won by the same score.
"He's really good on top," Carr said. "It would have been a whole different match if I could have escaped."
Fetchet and Walker were making their second appearance at Hershey. Fetchet became a place-winner for the second time. His only losses were to Pete Renda of Brandywine Heights, the champion, and Jefferson-Morgan's Dustin Conti, the bronze medalist.
"We finished eighth in the team standings," Chaussard said. "We've never finished this high before."
KO's Zanetta a runner-up
Keystone Oaks senior Nick Zanetta came home with a silver medal ... again. Zanetta lost in the Class AA finals for the second year in a row.
"It's a tough thing to grasp, but it is what it is," Zanetta said. "I worked as hard as I could to get the win, but still fell short."
Last season, Zanetta lost on three consecutive weekends to Derry's Jimmy Gulibon, who became the 10th wrestler in PIAA history to win four titles. This season, it was four consecutive losses to Kittanning's Jason Nolf.
"Nick put together a good match and didn't come out on top," said his older brother and coach, J.J. Zanetta. "What else can you say? He lost to two good wrestlers. I'm disappointed with the result, but I'm proud of what he was able to do in his career,"
Zanetta finished the season with a 35-5 record and concluded his career with a 132-27 mark.
A silver for Vulcano
Chartiers-Houston senior Garrett Vulcano didn't come home with a PIAA gold medal, as he placed second at 195 pounds in the Class AA Tournament, but he did earn family bragging rights.
"Dad placed third at states and I finished second," said Vulcano, referring to his father Frank Vulcano Jr. "I was in 'the big dance,' while he lost in the semifinals. I guess I may have to remind him of that every once in a while."
Vulcano's only setback in the three-day tournament was a 7-0 loss to Milton's Ryan Solomon in the title match. Solomon claimed his second title.
"It was disappointing to get that far and lose, but I really enjoyed the experience," Vulcano said. "The parade of champions was especially memorable."
Vulcano finished the season with a 45-3 record. His career record of 154-18 broke the school record for victories.
Charleroi's Nick Gavazzi and South Park's Jake Wentzel were also place-winners in Class AA.
Gavazzi (38-4), a junior, made his second trip to Hershey and placed fifth at 138.
"It's a good way to end the season, but it makes me hungrier," Gavazzi said. "I want to be higher on the podium next year."
Wentzel (34-12), a freshman, placed eighth at 132 in his debut.