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Waynesburg and Other WPIAL Wrestlers Dominate 3A PIAA State Championships



Friday night, the 14 Class-2A WPIAL athletes competing at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania set a pretty high bar in terms of excitement and overall dominance by the District 7 grapplers, who took home a five 2A gold medals. One day later however, on March 13, a cohort of 29 WPIAL Class-3A state qualifiers raised that bar even further – with WPIAL snagged six of the 13 gold medals.

Leading the way was a dominant Waynesburg Raiders squad, which put five of its six 2021 state qualifiers in the finals and accounted for three of the six titles amongst WPIAL athletes: Mac Church (120), Wyatt Henson (145), and Luca Augustine (172).

Fellow Waynesburg preps Cole Homet (138) and Rocco Welsh (152) took home silver after respective losses to familiar district foes Finn Solomon (Franklin Regional) and Alejandro Herrera-Rondon (Seneca Valley) respectively.

As a team, Waynesburg also placed first overall with exactly 100 total team points, 43 ahead of second-place Hempfield Area (57 points). Bethlehem Catholic finished third (54 points) and WPIAL affiliates Seneca Valley (50.5 points) and Nazareth (45 points) rounded out the top five spots.

In addition to Waynesburg’s trio of champions, three other WPIAL wrestlers stood atop the the podium, including senior Herrera-Rondon a pair of juniors in Finn Solomon (Franklin Regional) and Briar Priest (Hempfield). For Herrera-Rondon, the 2021 title was the third of his career while Priest and Solomon both won their first.

Seneca Valley’s Herrera-Rondon also took home the tournament Outstanding Wrestler award after he claimed his third PIAA championship with a finals win over Welsh. Herrera-Rondon (39-0) won 3-1. The future University of Oklahoma wrestler improved to 5-0 over the Waynesburg sophomore this season.

At 145 pounds, fans saw another familiar finals  matchup, one that played out three times times over the course of this shortened postseason. Henson took out Norwin’s John Altieri, winning by way of a 5-3 decision to take the rubber match between the two.

While this is Henson’s third high school state title overall and second in the Keystone State, the future Iowa Hawkeye had a rollercoaster of a tournament. In his opening match, Henson fell in a 7-1 hole before storming back to beat Degan Condomitti (Northampton) via an 11-9 decision in extras. In the semifinals, Henson let a 5-0 lead after two periods. Henson held on to beat Sam McMonagle (West Chester Henderson) 7-4.

Henson said to PA Power Wrestling post-match that his run to a second straight PIAA crown wasn’t pretty, but a title is a title no matter what.

For both Priest and Augustine, their title-clenching wins were made more gratifying in that they avenged losses from earlier this year. In Priest’s case, he had been defeated by Dylan Chappell (Seneca Valley) on two separate occasions. In state finals however, Priest got the better of Chappell, not allowing him to score a single point, winning 6-0. Priest has now won to in a row over the talented Seneca Valley Raiders’ lightweight.

With respect to Augustine, who is the No. 10 172-pounder in the country, his defeat of No. 6-rated Trey Kibe (Mifflin Country) was by the slimmest of margins, winning 3-2. With the victory, Augustine becomes the second Pitt commit to win gold at the Giant Center in as many nights. At the Class-2A tournament, Gendale’s Brock McMillen won his third title. Augustine, McMillen, and 2A PIAA 189-pound finalist Ethan Finch of Sheffield will all call Fitzgerald Field House home beginning in 2022.

Church, who was the first District 7 competitor to claim a title Saturday evening, did so by defeating Karl Shindledecker (Chambersburg). These two 120-pounders also met at the 3A Super Regional finals on Match 6th, where Church edged Shindledecker, again by just a single point,.

Franklin Regional’s Finn Solomon ought to be exceptionally pleased to win gold. As a freshman in 2019 Solomon had the heartbreating experience of losing in the state finals (to Herrera-Rondon at 113 pounds). Then, as a sophomore last year, the Franklin Regional lightweight failed to earn a spot on the podium. Conversely,  this year, as a junior (34-2), he won it all and avenged one of his two losses in the finals. Solomon defeated Homet 7-5.

Coming up shorting in the finals were Franklin Regional senior Carter Dibert (126) and Hampton senior Justin Hart (189).

Dibert fell 3-2 to Bethlehem Catholic sophomore Tyler Kasak, and Hart lost a 15-5 major decision to Spring-Ford senior Joey Milano.

Brackets and finals results for individuals and teams can both be found here via A replay of any Class-2A or Class-3A match from this weekend can be found here via Flo Arena.

Looking ahead, Waynesburg will try to try it’s No. 1 ranking in the state once again, looking to add a PIAA Class-3A team title March 27 at Cumberland Valley.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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3 years ago

Great article, thanks for adding all the interviews….This Waynesburg team is the best team I have seen since the North Allegheny teams of the 90’s, they are fun to watch.

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