Franklin Regional, Latrobe in PIAA wrestling final


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The PIAA Class AAA team tournament final will be a rematch of the WPIAL final.

WPIAL champion Franklin Regional and runner-up Latrobe advanced to the title match with two victories Friday at Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. Both teams will make their first appearance in a PIAA title match at 1 p.m. today.

Franklin Regional (22-1) earned its title berth with a 54-16 win against District 10 champion Erie McDowell in the quarterfinals, and a 38-22 victory against District 11 champion Nazareth in the semifinals.

"Our goal all season has been to win the state title. We're one win away from reaching that goal," Franklin Regional coach Eric Mausser said. "We're very excited about wrestling in the state title match."

Franklin Regional split the first six matches with Nazareth and trailed, 13-12. The Panthers took charge from that point by winning six of the final eight bouts. Spencer Lee (113) and Nate Painter (170) recorded pins for the Panthers, while teammates Michael Kemerer (138) and Josh Shields (152) registered technical falls. Lee also had a pin in the quarterfinals.

"It was a total team effort," Mausser said. "We will need the same effort in the championship match against Latrobe, a team that is very familiar with us."

Latrobe (15-2) earned its title berth with a 32-23 win against District 1 champion Boyertown in the quarterfinals, and a 34-29 victory against North Allegheny, the WPIAL's third-place finisher, in the semifinals.

Latrobe rallied from a 29-27 deficit with wins in the final two match against North Allegheny. Ethan Smith gave the Wildcats a 30-29 lead with an 8-3 decision over A.J. Boeh at 145 pounds. Jake Shaffer followed with an 11-1 major decision over Drew Landefeld at 152 to ice the victory.

"It was neat to see all three WPIAL teams make it to the semifinals in Class AAA," Mausser said. "I think it's safe to say the WPIAL is the top district in the state this year."

Class AA

* Burrell rebounded from its first-round setback with two victories in the consolation bracket against Western Wayne, 55-10, and Chestnut Ridge, 31-26. Anthony Marra (126), John Andrejcik (132), Steven Edwards (160), Robert Scherer (195) and Allan Beattie (285) posted two wins for the Buccaneers.

* South Fayette was eliminated from further competition after a 47-24 loss to Saucon Valley in the first round of consolations.

* Bethlehem Catholic, the District 11 champion, is on its way to a fourth consecutive PIAA Class AA title. It will face District 10 champion Reynolds for the title.

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