Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Class AA Section Tourneys on Tap

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Class AA Section Tourneys on Tap

Article excerpt

South Fayette wrestling fans had hoped to make a third consecutive trip to Hershey to see the Lions compete for a PIAA Class AA team tournament title, but a loss in the preliminary round to Saegertown on Feb. 2 ended their dual-meet season.

Coach Rick Chaussard was disappointed with the Lions' performance, but welcomed the extra practice time.

"We didn't perform up to expectations in the WPIAL and PIAA tournaments," Chaussard said. "But our early exit from the state tournament has given us extra practice time to prepare for the individual tournaments."

South Fayette has been playing catch-up since the start of the year. The Lions squeezed all but one tournament into their January schedule due to the football team's success in the postseason.

"More than half of our squad was on the football team," said Chaussard, who is getting the Lions ready for Saturday's Class AA Section 1 Tournament at Ellwood City. "We had very little time for practice in January. These extra days of practice are allowing us to go over video with the kids and work on their weaknesses."

South Fayette has 12 wrestlers entered in the Section 1 Tournament, including three returning champions, Jared Walker, Brett Beltz and Mike Carr.

Walker is a two-time section champion and three-time finalist. He won as a 152-pound freshman, placed second as a 160-pound sophomore and claimed a second title last year at 160. He returns at 160 after spending the season at 170 and 182.

Beltz is also a two-time section champion, but the first came in Section 3 as a 120-pound freshman while attending Keystone Oaks. Beltz sat out most of his sophomore season with an injury, then transferred to South Fayette and won a Section 1 title last year at 145. He is now competing at 182.

Carr has moved up to 138 after winning a section crown at 132 last year. At 31-0, Carr is one of three remaining unbeaten WPIAL wrestlers in Class AA and is a three-time WPIAL champion.

"Jared came within one win of a PIAA title last year," Chaussard said. "He's been close to 162 [160 plus a 2-pound weight allowance] all year, so moving down should be no problem. …

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