Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bva, Mcguffey Runners-Up

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bva, Mcguffey Runners-Up

Article excerpt

If Las Vegas would have put odds on the title match of the WPIAL Class AAA team tournament between defending champion Franklin Regional and top-seed Belle Vernon Area, it would have been a coin- flip match ... and that's clearly how it turned out.

Franklin Regional avenged a regular-season loss to Belle Vernon in Saturday's title match at Penn Hills to claim its second consecutive title.

The Leopards had upset the Panthers, 35-28, in the title match of the Franklin Regional Duals on Dec. 20, but the Panthers were without Michael Kemerer, a three-time PIAA runner-up, for that match. He was out of the lineup that day with an infected finger.

With Kemerer back in the lineup, Franklin Regional pulled out a 33-27 victory to defend its WPIAL title.

"Anytime you have a wrestler the caliber of Kemerer in the lineup, it makes a difference," Belle Vernon coach Mike Doppelheuer said. "But the biggest difference in my eyes was the coin flip. If we win the flip, we get the matchups we wanted, and most likely we win that match. The key is that we had to send out our wrestler first at 160."

Belle Vernon sent out senior Josh Godzin for the 160-pound bout and Franklin Regional countered with Josh Shields, a three-time WPIAL finalist and three-time PIAA place-winner. Shields pinned Godzin to tie the match at 27-27.

That forced Doppelheuer to go with sophomore Ian Pallotta, since he moved WPIAL runner-up Austin Bell up to 182. Pallotta had only two bouts of varsity experience and was pinned early in the second period by Franklin Regional's Ryan DeLoach.

"If they had to send out Shields first, we would have moved Godzin up to 170 and we would have traded pins," Doppelheuer said. "That would have left the match tied and we would have won on criteria. So the coin flip made a huge difference."

With the WPIAL team tournament in the rear-view mirror, Belle Vernon switches its focus to the PIAA tournament. The Leopards find themselves in a better position than Franklin Regional, the defending PIAA Class AAA champion. …

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