Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wpial Grapplers Seek Strong Finish

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wpial Grapplers Seek Strong Finish

Article excerpt

As Franklin Regional's Michael Kemerer began his senior season, one question came to mind.

Has there ever been a wrestler who placed second in the PIAA tournament four times?

The answer is twice. Sam Coursen was a four-time runner-up at Forty Fort High School, the last coming in 1949. Warrior Run's Bob Simpson, a 1988 graduate, also was a four-time silver medalist.

Kemerer (37-0) hopes not to be the next part of the answer to this trivia question. He placed second in the PIAA Class AAA tournament at 106 pounds as a freshman, second at 126 pounds as a sophomore and second at 138 pounds as a junior.

"My theme all year has been to have fun," said Kemerer, an Iowa recruit who is the favorite at 145 pounds in this year's tournament, which begins Thursday at Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. "I've learned over the years in all the tournaments I've competed in that you have to have a short memory. I have to put those losses behind me and concentrate on this year's tournament and have fun."

Kemerer is one of three Franklin Regional entries who wrestled in last year's PIAA finals. The others are Devin Brown and Spencer Lee, and both are returning champions.

Brown (40-2), a senior and West Virginia recruit, won a Class AA title at 106 pounds in 2013 while attending Saegertown High School, then transferred to Franklin Regional and claimed a Class AAA title last year in the same weight class.

Lee (44-0), a sophomore who boasts a 93-0 career record, claimed the title at 113 pounds last season and has since moved to 120.

"I'm confident every time I step on the mat," Lee said.

Latrobe's Luke Pletcher, Hempfield's Sam Krivus, Penn-Trafford's Cameron Coy and Central Catholic's Vincenzo Joseph also are returning champions entered in the Class AAA bracket.

Pletcher (36-1) has won Class AAA titles at 106 and 120 pounds. He is now competing at 132 pounds. But Pletcher suffered a 2-1 loss to Waynesburg's A.C. Headlee in the Southwest Region final in a match that went to the ultimate tiebreaker.

"He beat me today," Pletcher said after the loss that ended his 115-match win streak. "I didn't capitalize on my opportunities. I'll watch the tape and get ready for next week. …

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