Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Comeback Kids Franklin Regional Digs out of Deep Hole to Win Wpial Class AAA Title

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Comeback Kids Franklin Regional Digs out of Deep Hole to Win Wpial Class AAA Title

Article excerpt

It's one down and two to go for the Franklin Regional wrestling team.

The Panthers entered the 2014-15 season with the goal of defending the three postseason team titles they won last year: WPIAL Class AAA team tournament, PIAA team tournament and PIAA team title at the individual championships.

Coach Eric Mausser's squad reached the first of those goals Saturday at Penn Hills High School, as the Panthers avenged their only loss of the season with a 33-27 victory against Belle Vernon Area in the WPIAL title match.

"It was definitely added motivation," said Franklin Regional's Ryan DeLoach, referring to the Panthers' 35-28 loss to Belle Vernon in the finals of the Franklin Regional Duals on Dec. 20. "We obviously wanted to win the title, but we also wanted to avenge our loss to them."

DeLoach, a 170-pound sophomore who entered the title match with a 6-8 record, was the unlikely hero for Franklin Regional. He pinned Belle Vernon's Ian Pallotta to break a 27-27 tie and cap the Panthers' victory.

"It's great to have somebody like Ryan come through when we really needed him," said Panthers senior Michael Kemerer, a three- time PIAA runner-up. "He works hard every day in the practice room and deserves to get his name in the paper."

Kemerer missed the first match against Belle Vernon with an infected finger. His 7-4 win against Belle Vernon's Jarod Verkleeren in the 145-pound bout began Franklin Regional's rally from a 27-14 deficit.

"The loss to Belle Vernon at the start of the season really motivated us," said Kemerer, who improved his season record to 26- 0. "It feels good to avenge that loss."

The match began at 182 pounds and Belle Vernon recorded five consecutive wins to build a 21-0 lead.

"I was nervous," Kemerer said. "It's never good to fall behind that much. We really had to battle back. …

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