Franklin Regional, the WPIAL's top-ranked Class AAA team, claimed its second consecutive Section 1 title with two convincing victories Wednesday night at Latrobe.
The Panthers (10-1) opened the night with a 64-9 win against No. 9 Hempfield (4-3) in the semifinals. No. 2 Latrobe (9-1) posted a 48-18 win against No. 4 Kiski Area (14-2) in the other semifinal match. That set up the showdown between No. 1 and No. 2, but Franklin Regional jumped to a 46-5 lead en route to a 46-28 victory.
Devin Brown (106), Michael Kemerer (138), Josh Maruca (145), Brandon Yant (160) and Nate Painter (170) recorded pins for Franklin Regional. Travis Schmeling (195) and Logan Carns (220) had pins for Latrobe.
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n No. 6 Belle Vernon (12-2) became a section champion for the first time in school history. The Leopards won the Section 2 tournament, held at Peters Township, with a 40-27 win against the host Indians in the title match.
n No. 5 North Allegheny (10-0) claimed the Section 3 title with two convincing victories at Plum. It's the 12th time in 13 years the Tigers have won or shared a section title. The Tigers opened with 44-12 semifinal victory against rival North Hills (7-7), then defeated Butler (9-4), 52-15, in the title match.
n Four-time defending WPIAL champion Canon-McMillan (14-0) won its 13th consecutive title in the Section 4 tournament at Montour. The No. 2 Big Macs pounded West Allegheny (7-5), 71-3, in the semifinals, then overwhelmed Trinity (5-3), 66-12, in the title match.
n Seven-time defending WPIAL champion Burrell (9-3) clinched the top seed in the WPIAL bracket by dominating the Section 3 tournament, held at Burrell. The top-ranked Buccaneers claimed their 14th section title in 15 years with a 55-19 win against No. 7 Kittanning (7-7) in the final.
n No. 2 ranked South Fayette (17-0) earned its second Section 1 title in a row with two victories at Burgettstown. The Lions, the WPIAL runner-up a year ago, defeated No. 4 Burgettstown (7-1), 65-10, in the title match. Scott Rzepecki (126), Shane Ging (132), Ben Previte (145), Grant Fetchet (160), Jared Walker (170), Rausaun Culberson (195) and Bryce Christoff (220) had pins for South Fayette in the title match. Austin McDermitt (113) had a pin for Burgettstown.
The top five teams from each section qualify for the WPIAL team tournaments, which begin Jan. 27. The WPIAL Wrestling Steering Committee will meet today to determine the brackets. The Class AAA bracket has 20 teams, which requires four preliminary-round matches. The Class AA bracket has 15 teams and will not begin until Jan. 29.