Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

South Fayette Coach Celebrates 3 Titles

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

South Fayette Coach Celebrates 3 Titles

Article excerpt

South Fayette wrestling coach Rick Chaussard celebrated three WPIAL Class AA titles on Saturday despite the fact that the Lions had only one champion.

"Three of my wrestlers won a WPIAL title on Saturday," said Chaussard, who returned to South Fayette this season after spending the previous 16 at Fort Cherry. "I realize that I'm no longer coaching at Fort Cherry, but they are still my wrestlers."

Chaussard was referring to Fort Cherry seniors Greg Kumer and Corey Garry, who each claimed a WPIAL title on Saturday at Chartiers Valley High School.

"I've known Corey and his family since he was a young kid," said Chaussard. "And I texted with Greg once a week during the season. After the tournament was over I went over to congratulate them and told both that a handshake was not good enough. I wanted a hug."

Chaussard was even more impressed with the performance turned in by South Fayette freshman Jared Walker, who survived a very strong 152-pound weight class to become the sixth Lions wrestler to claim a WPIAL title.

"I knew coming into the season that Jared was talented, but never expected a WPIAL title during his freshman season, especially in a weight class that is dominated by upperclassmen," Chaussard said.

Walker was one of only two freshmen in the 15-man 152-pound bracket, and the other was a first-round loser. Despite his age, the WPIAL Wrestling Steering Committee felt his regular-season performance was worthy of a No. 1 seed.

"Jared gave us a sample of what to expect the first weekend of the season," said Chaussard, when asked if there was a turning point to Walker's freshman season. "He made it to the finals before losing to a Class AAA wrestler [Upper St. Clair's John Kyriacopoulos] by one point [4-3]."

Walker (33-11) is the youngest WPIAL champion in South Fayette history. Nick Carr, a 2011 graduate, won the first of his three WPIAL titles as a sophomore.

"The key to Jared's success is the schedule he wrestled," Chaussard said. "Most of his losses were to Class AAA wrestlers. He also had quite a few close decisions. He learned how to win the close matches during the regular season."

An escape was the only point registered in Walker's 1-0 victory in the WPIAL title match against Blackhawk's Troy Braddock.

"We're hoping Jared's storybook season will continue this weekend at the Southwest Regional," said Chaussard.

Walker is one of five South Fayette wrestlers who qualified for the Southwest Regional, which begins tomorrow at the Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown. The other four are Micheal Fetchet (35-7 at 160), Grant Fetchet (34-12 at 145), Seth Carr (30-5 at 113) and Jack Previte (28-9 at 170).

"We thought it would be an uphill battle for Michael in the finals, but never expected that outome," said Chaussard, referring to his match with Bentworth's Francis Mizia, who pinned Michael Fetchet in 0:47 in the 160-pound final. …

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