Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Na's Surprising Wpial Run Concludes in Finals Match

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Na's Surprising Wpial Run Concludes in Finals Match

Article excerpt

Jamie Kyriazis competed for North Allegheny's 1988 wrestling team that ranked No. 1 in the country. But that team never participated in a state tournament because the PIAA did not have a team tournament at that time.

"We never really thought about a state team tournament back then," said Kyriazis, who was a 112-pound sophomore in '88. "It's too bad we didn't have that chance. It would have been great to have the opportunity to wrestle for a state team title."

Kyriazis, now North Allegheny's head coach, will finally get the opportunity to participate in a PIAA team tournament. The Tigers are one of the 20 teams in the Class AAA field.

"We've been hoping for a chance to wrestle in the state team tournament since I took over as head coach 12 years ago," he said. "We've come close a couple times, but not close enough, until this year."

North Allegheny (17-4) earned its PIAA berth by placing second in the WPIAL team tournament, which concluded Saturday at Chartiers Valley High School. The No. 7 seeded Tigers upset No. 2 seed Kiski Area, 36-30, in the quarterfinals, then upset No. 3 Connellsville, 29-28, in the semifinals.

"It's ironic that we would lose the section title for the first time in my career, but then qualify for the PIAA team tournament," Kyriazis said.

"I knew we were better than a No. 7 seed, but that's where we had to be after losing in the section semifinals. I knew seeds two thru eight were so close that any match-up between those teams would be a coin flip. It was just a question of who wanted it more.

"We got here on guts."

North Allegheny's good fortune in the WPIAL team tournament came to an end in the championship match, as two-time defending champion and unbeaten top seed Canon-McMillan (22-0) claimed its third consecutive title with a dominating 53-12 victory.

"It was North Allegheny's first appearance in a WPIAL team tournament final since 1990," Kyriazis said. …

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