NORWIN – Normally, the first round of a three-day wrestling tournament is not very remarkable. Good wrestlers want to get in, get a win, get out and go home for a good night’s sleep.
That’s basically what happened in the first two rounds of the WPIAL Class AAA Wrestling Championships at Norwin High School Thursday night. None of the top four seeds was upset. Heck, hardly any were threatened. All will battle in today’s quarterfinals at 5:30 p.m. before moving on to Saturday’s semifinals at noon and finals at 7:30 p.m.
Tyler Buckiso is going to remember this first round for what he accomplished. The 126-pound junior from Peters Township decisioned Ethan Stas of Latrobe, 6-2, for his 100th career victory.
Not only was the win a milestone in his wrestling career, but it also got Buckiso a little closer to his goal of making it to the PIAA Championships in Hershey next week. Only the top three wrestlers from each weight class advance, but Buckiso has a good chance, considering the wrestler he faces in tonight’s quarterfinals is one he’s beaten before: Nate Russo of Belle Vernon.
“My goal was to get (100 wins) this year,” Buckiso said. “It’s one of my top three goals for the season. One was to place at (the Powerade Christmas Wrestling Tournament); one was to get 100 wins, and one was to place at states.”
The last wrestler to reach 100 wins for Peters Township was Derrick Evanovich, who accomplished the feat last year while setting the school’s win record with 127. Buckiso should have no trouble passing that mark next season if he stays healthy.
“Winning 6-2 was not too bad,” Buckiso said. “It was a tournament match, and I just wanted to move on.”
Buckiso wrestles Russo, the fourth seed, for the third time this season after splitting the first two bouts. Russo denied Buckiso a section title and the 100th win last week with a 2-1 decision in the finals. Buckiso won a 1-0 decision in the Section 2 Team Tournament.
“We knew last week that if he won in the finals, he would have 100 wins,” said Peters Township head coach Jason Carpetta. “So he got it here in the first round.
“Tyler is the whole package. He’s good on the bottom and he rides well. But he’s best on his feet.”
Canon-McMillan, the two-time defending state team champion, advanced the most wrestlers into today’s quarterfinals, sending 10 of 12. Defending state champion Cody Wiercioch needed just 58 seconds to pin Mac Oberschelp of Peters Township at 170 pounds. The next test for Wiercioch (34-1) comes against Clay Byerly (19-6) of North Allegheny.
Solomon Chishko, wrestling in just his fourth bout since returning from an elbow injury that kept him out of the lineup for the regular seasons, was dominating in taking a 20-5 technical fall from Jesse Giallonardo of Hempfield at 145 pounds. Chishko gets Tyler Steele (15-8) of Connellsville in the quarterfinals.
Connor Schram, a three-time state medalist and state champion as a freshman, also won by technical fall, 19-4, over Blynn Shideler of North Allegheny. Ringgold’s Jacob Gerard (28-9) is up next for Schram (37-3).
It was a tough round for Waynesburg. Only A.C. Headlee made it out of the first round from the nine qualifiers. Headlee (36-3) pinned Ben Lynch of Seneca Valley in 1:43 at 113 and takes on Dan Leonard (20-12) of Connellsville next.
Trinity also struggled, moving just one of eight into the next round of the winners’ bracket. That was Robert West (27-4), who took a 3-2 decision from Nathan Turchick of Plum. West gets second-seeded Alex DeCiantis of North Allegheny in the 182-pound semifinals.