Franklin Regional savors its success

WRESTLING I POWERADE CHRISTMAS TOURNAMENT

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It was a night of repeat winners at the Powerade Christmas tournament, which concluded Saturday at Canon-McMillan High School.

Nine wrestlers entered the finals with at least one Powerade title to their credit, and seven claimed another title in the 46th annual showcase of the top wrestlers.

With six wrestlers in the finals, and five champions, Franklin Regional captured the team title with 236.5 points. Latrobe was second with 206.

The first match of the finals featured two returning champions. Franklin Regional's Michael Kemerer made his third consecutive appearance in the finals and got his second title with a 3-2 win against Central Catholic's Vincenzo Joseph at 138 pounds. Joseph won in 2011 and placed fifth a year ago.

"When I won the first year, I thought what's the big deal," said Kemerer, who scored the deciding takedown with 22 seconds left. "Last year, I realized just how tough the tournament is when I lost to a stud like [Canon-McMillan's] Conner Schram. I wanted to get back to the top of the winner's platform."

Kittanning's Jason Nolf earned his second title, a 13-7 win against Franklin Regional's Josh Maruca at 145.

"I try to win everywhere," said Nolf, who recorded three pins. "My goal is to pin every opponent."

Kemerer was the first of two Franklin Regional wrestlers to win a second title. Teammate Josh Shields claimed the 152-pound title with a 3-1 overtime win against Cole Walter.

"This title is different than the first because I didn't wrestle a lot over the summer, so I was a little rusty," Shields said.

The next repeat champion was Kennard Dale's Chance Marsteller, who became only the fifth four-time champion in tournament history with a 17-1 technical fall against Chartiers Valley's Noah Wilps in the 170-pound final.

"It means a lot to be part of such an elite group," said Marsteller, who has accepted an invitation to wrestle in the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic in March. "It's a stepping-stone to higher aspirations."

Latrobe's Zack Zavatsky added his name to the two-time champion list with a 3-0 shutout of Mt. Lebanon's Kellan Stout in the 182-pound final.

"This one is the icing on the cake for my senior year," Zavatsky said.

Two of Zavatsky's Latrobe teammates, Luke Pletcher and Dom Scalise, also won. In a battle of returning Powerade champions, Pletcher defeated Parkland's Ethan Lizak in the 120-pound final. Scalise claimed his first title with a 3-0 win in the 160-pound final against Penn-Trafford's Devin Austin.

The final of the repeat champions was Solanco's Thomas Haines, who made a third appearance in the finals and claimed his second title with an 8-1 win against Erie McDowell's Scot Augustine at 285 pounds.

Kemerer and Shields were two of five Franklin Regional champions. Devin Brown and Spencer Lee, transfers from Saegertown, also captured titles for the Panthers, along with Tyler Smith.

Brown made his second appearance in the finals and claimed his first title with a convincing, 12-3 win against Solanco's Connor Sheehan at 106 pounds. Lee claimed the 113-pound title in his Powerade debut with a 14-4 domination of Latrobe's Ethan McCoy.

Smith capped the finals with a 7-0 shutout of Hempfield's Sam Krivus in the 132-pound final. The match was held last since Smith and Krivus were PIAA champions.


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