In his usual dominating fashion, Derry’s Jimmy Gulibon joined a very elite club by becoming the tenth wrestler in PIAA history to win four individual state titles at the 75th annual PIAA Wrestling Championships on Saturday afternoon at the GIANT Center in Hershey. On the strength of four takedowns, the Trojans’ senior cruised to a 9-3 decision over Keystone Oaks’ Nick Zanetta in the Class AA 126-pound final.
Gulibon also defeated Zanetta, a junior, at the WPIAL Class AA Championships two weeks ago, 11-4, and at the PIAA Southwest Regional tournament last Saturday, 11-3. The Penn State recruit, named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament, finishes his high school career with a 136-4 record. Gulibon won Class AAA titles as a freshman and sophomore and AA championships the past two seasons.
The other nine wrestlers to win four state championships are Jim Conklin, Waynesburg (1943); Jerry Maurey, Clearfield (1950); Mike Johnson, Lock Haven (1961); Matt Gerhard, Catasauqua (1984); Ty Moore, North Allegheny (1990); John Hughes, Benton (1991); Cary Kolat, Jefferson Morgan (1992); Bob Crawford, Milton (1993), and McGuffey’s Jeremy Hunter (1996).
Bentworth’s Francis Mizia took advantage of a late first period takedown to win a gold medal at 160 pounds. The Bearcats’ senior became the second wrestler from his school to win a state championship with a hard fought 3-2 victory over Forest Hills’ Cody Law in the championship final. Heavyweight C.J. Wonsettler last won a state title for Bentworth in 2002. Mizia turned the tables on Law, a 4-2 semifinal winner over Mizia at last Saturday’s PIAA Southwest Regional tournament.
In the only Class AA championship bout featuring two undefeated wrestlers, Burrell’s Dakota DesLauriers (45-1) lost at 182 pounds, 6-4, to Grove City’s Wes Phipps (40-0). After a scoreless first period, Phipps scored second and third period takedowns to build a 5-2 lead. DesLauriers then reversed the Eagles’ senior with just over a minute remaining in the match to cut the lead to a single point. But after allowing Phipps to escape, the Bucs’ junior was unable to penetrate the Penn State recruit’s strong defense in an effort to score the tying takedown.
Chartiers-Houston’s Nate Grandelis gave up a third period takedown and fell, 3-2, to Mifflinburg sophomore Nazar Mironenko in the 285-pound final. It was the second meeting between the two wrestlers. Mironenko pinned the Bucs’ senior at the Powerade Christmas Tournament earlier this season.
After suffering the first defeat of his career in a 6-4 semifinal loss on Friday night to Trinity’s Ryan Diehl, Kittanning’s Jason Nolf bounced back with two successive wins to finish in third place at 113 pounds. The Wildcats’ sophomore beat Benton’s Matt Welliver, 9-4, in the consolation final. Nolf now has an outstanding career record of 87-1.
Southmoreland’s Austin Griffiths enjoyed a strong tournament. After dropping his first round bout at 106 pounds, 2-0, to eventual runner-up Korbin Myers of Boiling Springs, the Scotties’ freshman reeled off five straight wins in the consolation bracket to garner third place honors. Griffiths defeated Ligonier Valley’s Justin Patrick, 5-4, in the bronze medal bout, avenging a 4-3 semifinal loss to Patrick at last Saturday’s PIAA Southwest Regional tournament.
Fifth place winners from the WPIAL included South Fayette’s Mike Fetchet (160), Jefferson-Morgan’s Dustin Conti (170), and Fort Cherry’s Corey Garry (285). Sixth place finishers were Charleroi’s Josh Kwasny (132) and Southmoreland’s Jordan Kitta (195),
Earning seventh place honors were Burgettstown’s Austin McDermitt (106) and Charleroi’s Aaron Toth (126). Finishing in eighth place were Beth-Center’s Zach Swarrow (113), South Side Beaver’s Shane Gentry (132), and Fort Cherry’s Greg Kumer (220).
North Star’s Nick Roberts (120) and Richland’s John Rizzo (220) both earned their third state titles. Both wrestlers are seniors.
Michael Racciato, a junior from Penn Argyl, earned his second gold medal, winning the 138-pound title bout.
Recording their first state titles were Milton’s Ryan Solomon (220), Greenville’s Cody Copeland (152), Juniata’s Zach Beitz (145), and Camp Hill Trinity’s Ryan Diehl (113). Diehl has also won two West Virginia state championships.
Bethlehem Catholic easily won the Class AA team title with 111 points. The Golden Hawks were led by three individual champions, Darian Cruz (106), Randy Cruz (132), and Elliott Riddick (170).
Reynolds finished in a distant second place with 59.5 points, while Fort LeBoeuf was third with 56. Chartiers-Houston, tied for thirteenth place with Milton with 27 points, was the top WPIAL team in the standings.
PROGRAMMING NOTE – Don’t forget to join Greg Warnock and me on Monday night at 7:00pm for Inside the WPIAL Wrestling Circle. We’ll review all the action from this past weekend’s state tournaments and each of the six WPIAL’s state champions will join us for interviews. Also, Greg's interview with Jimmy Guliban after his WPIAL championship win is currently running on the MSA Sports front page on Center Stage.
CLASS AA TEAM SCORING
1. Bethlehem Catholic 111, 2. Reynolds 59.5, 3. Fort LeBoeuf 56, 4. Benton 52, 5. (tie) Greenville & Mifflinburg 48, 7. Bermudian Springs 33.5, 8. (tie) Hanover & Seneca 33, 10. (tie) Pen Argyl & Tri-Valley 31
106 – Darian Cruz, Bethlehem Catholic major dec. Korbin Myers, Boiling Springs, 13-4.
113 – Ryan Diehl, Trinity (Dist. 3) dec. Vito Pasone, Wilkes-Barre Meyers, 11-5.
120 – Nick Roberts, North Star dec. Zeke Moisey, Bethlehem Catholic, 3-2.
126 – Jimmy Gulibon, Derry dec. Nick Zanetta, Keystone Oaks, 9-3.
132 – Randy Cruz, Bethlehem Catholic dec. Dylan D'Urso, Reynolds, 5-3.
138 – Michael Racciato, Pen Argyl dec. Austin Matthews, Reynolds, 11-8.
145 – Zach Beitz, Juniata major dec. Kyle Barnes, Hughesville, 13-3.
152 – Cody Copeland, Greenville dec. Pete Renda, Brandywine Heights, 2-1.
160 – Francis Mizia, Bentworth dec. Cody Law, Forest Hills, 3-2.
170 – Elliot Riddick, Bethlehem Catholic dec. Craig Cihon, Fort LeBoeuf, 9-5.
182 – Wes Phipps, Grove City dec. Dakota DesLauriers, Burrell, 6-4.
195 – Ryan Solomon, Milton dec. Derek Wolford, Hanover, 3-0.
220 – John Rizzo, Richland major dec. Eric Laytos, Lackawanna Trail, 12-3.
285 – Nazar Mironenko, Mifflinburg dec. Nate Grandelis, Chartiers-Houston, 3-2.
106 – Austin Griffiths, Southmoreland dec. Justin Patrick, Ligonier Valley, 5-4.
113 – Jason Nolf, Kittanning dec. Matt Welliver, Benton, 9-4.
120 – Cole Walter, Mifflinburg dec. Brad Farley, Bermudian Springs, 8-4.
126 – Arty Walsh, Schuylkill Valley dec. Ian Brown, Hanover, 7-2.
132 – Laike Gardner, Biglerville dec. Colt Cotten, Benton, 8-5.
138 – David Batkowski, Montoursville dec. Sean Heggs, East Juniata, 3-2.
145 – Kody Pace, Fort LeBoeuf dec. Joe Hibbler, Seneca, 6-3.
152 – Ty Schoffstall, Tri-Valley dec. Zack Ripic, Towanda, 12-7.
160 – Kurt Meske, Central Columbia dec. Anthony Risaliti, Central Cambria, 9-4.
170 – Tristan Sponseller, Bermudian Springs dec. Troy Hembury, Muncy, 5-3.
182 – Tyler Landfried, Greenville dec. Jake Mankey, Benton, 6-5 UTB.
195 – Ray O'Donnell, Saucon Valley dec. Alex Svetz, North East, 1-0.
220 – Matt Mongera, Seneca dec. Jacob Craig, Berlin-Brothersvalley, 7-0.
285 – Blake Heim, Reynolds dec. Quinton Hixson, Northern Bedford, 3-1 UTB.
106 – Tyler Vath, Saegertown by medical forfeit Colin Mashack, Tamaqua.
113 – Joshua Patrick, Ligonier Valley dec. Ryan Easter, Bedford, 2-1.
120 – Logan Everett, Williamson dec. Nate Schwab, Smethport, 6-2.
126 – Corey Bush, Ridgway dec. Karl Lightner, Smethport, 9-3.
132 – Jake Keller, Curwensville dec. Josh Kwasny, Charleroi, 1-0.
138 – Ty Dively, Claysburg-Kimmel major dec. Sharron Townsend, Milton Hershey, 10-2.
145 – Ryan Todora, Bethlehem Catholic dec. Dylan Weston, Tyrone, 3-0.
152 – Jeric Kasunic, Benton dec. Cory Berchick, Conemaugh Township, 5-4.
160 – Mike Fetchet, South Fayette dec. Adam Mackie, Brandywine Heights, 3-2.
170 – Dustin Conti, Jefferson-Morgan by injury default John Blankenship, United, 0:01.
182 – Alex Cooley, Eastern York dec. Scott Thompson, Blairsville, 5-2.
195 – Brandon Smith, Lewisburg dec. Jordan Kitta, Southmoreland, 4-2 TB.
220 – Evan Daley, Fort LeBoeuf pinned Cam Cyphert, Cochranton, 3:40.
285 – Corey Garry, Fort Cherry pinned Trevor Stover, Biglerville, 2:28.
106 – Austin McDermitt, Burgettstown dec. Caleb Bordner, Tri-Valley, 1-0.
113 – David Sheesley, Mifflinburg dec. Zach Swarrow, Beth-Center, 8-5.
120 – Joey Fick, Oley Valley pinned Sam Oberlander, Palmerton, 2:06.
126 – Aaron Toth, Charleroi dec. Austin Harry, Lake Lehman, 6-3.
132 – Seth Lansberry, Line Mountain dec. Shane Gentry, South Side Beaver, 6-2.
138 – Brock Zacherl, Brookville dec. Zack Green, Northeast Bradford, 6-2.
145 – Evan Delong, Kane dec. Ty Herzog, Northern Lehigh, 10-5.
152 – Andrew Doak, Blairsville dec. Clay Kocsis, Fairfield, 7-3.
160 – Sam Scheib, Tri-Valley dec. Randy Perkins, Greenville, 8-4.
170 – Michael Balliet, Lehighton pinned Brett Przekop, Mount Carmel, 3:26.
182 – Levi Veppert, Northwestern dec. Dylan Evans, Pen Argyl, 1-0.
195 – Logan Murphy, Boiling Springs dec. Shawn Reynolds, Cambridge Springs, 6-2.
220 – Kane Kralik, Palmerton dec. Greg Kumer, Fort Cherry, 5-3.
285 – Justin East, Cambridge Springs major dec. Joseph Ingaglio, Western Wayne, 8-0.