Perfect records on line in PIAA wrestling tournaments


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The PIAA tournament pairings were released Sunday and 25 of the 448 entries are unbeaten. Eight are from the WPIAL.

The Class AAA bracket features 11 unbeaten wrestlers, including five from the WPIAL. Franklin Regional and Latrobe each have two entries who have yet to lose.

Devin Brown (33-0 at 106) and Spencer Lee (45-0 at 113) are Franklin Regional's unbeaten entries. Luke Pletcher (39-0 at 120) and Zack Zavatsky (38-0 at 182) have unblemished records for Latrobe. Montour's Cole Macek (32-0 at 195) rounds out the list.

"My goal at the start of the year was to go undefeated and win WPIAL and PIAA titles," Macek said after claiming his first WPIAL title Saturday. "I just need four more wins to reach that goal."

The Class AA bracket has 14 unbeaten entries, including three from the WPIAL: Jefferson-Morgan's John Demaske (40-0 at 126), South Fayette's Mike Carr (40-0 at 132) and Kittanning's Jason Nolf (40-0 at 145).

All three are in a weight class that features another unbeaten wrestler. Macek also has another unbeaten wrestler in his weight class.

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The PIAA tournaments feature 13 wrestlers who have won a previous title, including two three-time champions and a couple of two-time champs.

Kennard-Dale's Chance Marsteller (37-0 at 170) and Solanco's Thomas Haines (38-0 at 285) are three-time Class AAA champs and need one more title to join the PIAA's most exclusive club. Only 10 wrestlers have won four PIAA titles since the tournament began in 1938. Both are strong favorites to claim a fourth title, but Marsteller has battled back problems.

Nolf has won two Class AA titles, while Parkland's Ethan Lizak (41-3 at 120) is a two-time champ in Class AAA.

The Class AAA bracket also features two weight classes that have a couple of returning champions.

Lizak and Pletcher are both entered at 120. The two met in the final of the Powerade Christmas Tournament and Pletcher posted a 3-2 victory. The two are among six returning PIAA place-winners in the weight class.

Canon-McMillan's Solomon Chishko (23-3) and Father Judge's Joe Galasso (23-0) are both entered at 145. Galasso won a state crown at 138 last year, while Chishko won at 145.

Around the mat

Here are some assorted notes from the regional tournaments held this past weekend.

* The WPIAL Wrestling Steering Committee did a good job of predicting the finalists in the Class AAA WPIAL/Southwest Regional Tournament, which concluded Saturday at Canon-McMillan High School. The top-two seeded wrestlers advanced to the final in 11 of the 14 weight classes. In seven of those matches, the top seed was victorious.

Only two finalists were seeded lower than No. 3. Belle Vernon's Brandon Hasson, the runner-up at 120, was seeded No. 6. North Hills' Jonathan Avon, the runner-up at 160, was seeded No. 5.

* Three unbeaten wrestlers were defeated over the weekend in the Class AAA finals, and two lost to another unbeaten wrestler. North Hills' Gage Curry (35-1) lost in the 106-pound final to Brown. Norwin's Drew Phipps (23-1) lost to Macek in the 195-pound final.

Franklin Regional's Tyler Smith (33-1) lost in the 132-pound final to Penn-Trafford's Cameron Coy (35-5). Smith is believed to be the WPIAL's first four-time runner-up.

* In the Class AA Southwest Regional, the WPIAL claimed 35 of the 70 PIAA berths up for grabs, including 11 of the 14 titles. Burrell and Jefferson-Morgan each had four wrestlers qualify for the state tournament, while South Fayette and Valley each had three.

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