It was no surprise that host Franklin Regional claimed its second consecutive team title at the 61st annual Westmoreland County Coaches Association wrestling tournament. It was just a question of the margin of victory and how many individual titles the Panthers would win.
Seven Franklin Regional entries advanced to the finals and six claimed gold medals as the Panthers ran away with the team title, outscoring runner-up Kiski Area by an astounding 103.5 points (290.5-187).
Four Panthers were repeat winners. Tyler Smith, Josh Maruca and Josh Shields claimed a third consecutive title, while Michael Kemerer captured a second title.
In a battle of PIAA champs, Smith claimed the 132-pound final with a 6-4 win against Hempfield's Sam Krivus, who was also making a third consecutive appearance in the finals. Maruca pinned Belle Vernon's Jarod Verkleeren at 145 pounds. Shields defeated Burrell's Steve Edwards, 6-4, in the 152-pound final. Kemerer defeated Hempfield's Joey Allesandro, 6-2, at 138.
Devin Brown and Spencer Lee, transfers from Saegertown, also claimed titles for Franklin Regional. Brown claimed the 106-pound crown with a pin of Hempfield's Vincent Distefanis. Lee won at 113 with a 9-5 win against Latrobe's Ethan McCoy.
Also claiming a third title were Latrobe's Zack Zavatsky and Kiski Area's Shane Kuhn. Zavatsky claimed the 182-pound title with an 18-3 technical fall of Greensburg Salem's Zach Pasko. Kuhn won his third title at 285 with a 5-1 win against Burrell's Alan Beattie.
Latrobe's Luke Pletcher was also a repeat winner. In a battle of PIAA champions, Pletcher defeated Derry's George Phillippi for the second time in three weeks with a 4-2 win in the 120-pound final.
Brendan Price's second Tri-County tournament title had special meaning for more than the obvious reason. It was also the Canon-McMillan senior's 100th career victory.
"Wednesday is senior night and I wanted to get my 100th win before that match," said Price, who became the 31st wrestler in Canon-McMillan history to join the century club. "It will be great to be recognized before my last home match."
Price claimed the 113-pound title with a 9-6 victory against Jefferson-Morgan's Brendan Howard. He was joined on the winners platform by Big Macs teammate Matt Oblock, who captured the 120-pound title with a 4-2 win against Bentworth's Jake Rothka.
Oblock and Price were two of 11 Canon-McMillan wrestlers who placed among the top six in their weight class. The Big Macs easily won the team title.
Waynesburg's A.C. Headlee and Avella's Jake Temple hit the trifecta, as both claimed a third consecutive title. And both recorded pins in the final. Headlee pinned Trinity's Ryan Yocum at 126 pounds, and Temple decked McGuffey's Ryan Steinstraw at 220.