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Coach Rob WallerMt. Pleasant earns top tournament seed

Mt. Pleasant coach Rob Waller expects to encounter a tough field in the WPIAL wrestling tournament. (Eric McCandless/Tribune-Review photo)
By Paul Schofield

The WPIAL team tournament for wrestling gets under way today with four first-round matches and one pigtail-round bout in Class AAA. The Class AA bracket will be announced today because Wednesday's snowstorm forced two matches in Section 3-AA to be postponed.

The Tribune-Review's No. 1 team in Class AAA, Mt. Pleasant, was given the top seed. The Vikings (11-0) will host the winner of today's pigtail match between Fox Chapel (11-3) and Baldwin (9-3). It will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Defending Class AAA champion Kiski Area (14-1) hosts Hempfield (9-2) in one of the first-round matches tonight. Also meeting are Norwin (7-3) vs. Connellsville (13-2) at Connellsville Junior High East, Seneca Valley (13-3) at Trinity (8-2) and Plum (12-2) at Shaler (17-0).

The first round concludes Saturday when Waynesburg (13-4) travels to North Allegheny (12-1) at 2 p.m. Woodland Hills (8-4) visits Canon-McMillan (12-6) at 2 p.m. and Keystone Oaks (11-4) visits McGuffey (15-0) at 7 p.m. "As we expected, they didn't make it easy for us," Mt. Pleasant coach Rob Waller said. "We have a tough road. Trinity, Connellsville, North Allegheny and Waynesburg are solid teams."

Mt. Pleasant may be at full strength for the tournament. Waller's son, Robbie, is expected to return to action after missing the past month with injuries he suffered in a vehicle accident. The Vikings will tune up for Saturday's match by meeting Albert Gallatin tonight in a non-section match. This match was postponed twice because of inclement weather.

Norwin, making its first playoff appearance since 1991, has a tough match at Connellsville. "We're going to give it our best shot," Norwin coach Rick Svec said. "Reaching the playoffs means a lot. We're still a young team and now we're going to get a taste of the playoffs. It's going to be a learning process."

The Knights are meeting a tough Connellsville team that features two PIAA qualifiers - juniors Matt King (152) and Chris Liston (130). The Falcons were Section 2 champions for the fourth consecutive years. Their only losses were to Mt. Pleasant and McGuffey. "Norwin has a good team and some tough wrestlers," Connellsville coach Tom Dolde said. "Getting wins in the lower weights will be the key."

Jason Staso (140), Todd Schuchert (145), Mike Fix (119), Mike Briney (130) and Mike Croyle (189) are Norwin's top wrestlers. Section 3-AA will send five participants to the tournament as a result of last night's matches. West Greene defeated Jefferson-Morgan, 51-18, and Beth-Center upended Bentworth, 33-31. This created a three-way tie for third place and subsequent playoff berths for Jefferson-Morgan, Beth-Center and Bentworth.

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