(This article was written and released by Andrew John of the Tribune-Review. The original article can be found by clicking this link. Photo Credit: Megan Green Ward)
The growth of girls wrestling was on display Sunday as more than 100 girls wrestlers competed in the first MyHouse Western Regional girls championships at Kiski Area.
In a meet composed of wrestlers from schools in PIAA Districts 7, 8 and 10, the wrestlers from the WPIAL schools shined: 10 of the 13 weight classes were won by wrestlers from WPIAL schools.
Canon-McMillan won the meet as it finished with a team score of 168.5 points. Saegertown (121 points) and North Allegheny (114) finished second and third, respectively.
The field consisted of 112 wrestlers from 48 schools. The competitors wrestled at 13 weight classes (100, 106, 112, 118, 124, 130, 136, 142, 148, 155, 170, 190 and 235 pounds).
The top five place winners in each class advance to the girls state championships March 12 at Central Dauphin High School.
Kiski Area’s senior Bella DeVito (17-2) had the pleasure of having some home-gym advantage as she took home the 124-pound title after a 9-0 major decision over Saegertown’s Kylie Stafford.
Last year, DeVito finished third at the state tournament after a 9-2 decision over North Penn-Liberty’s Trinity Robinson.
“It was really cool finishing out the season being in my home gym, being a senior and taking first,” DeVito said.
The Big Macs brought home the team title after they captured four titles. Senior Madi Mansmann (20-4) headlined the group after winning the 106-pound weight class with a pin of Saegertown’s Emma Spencer at 1 minutes, 29 seconds.
“I didn’t know how it was going to go. When we were weighing in, our weight class was very stacked. I was a little scared. But I feel really good now, and I’m excited to move to states,” Mansmann said.
Junior Valarie Solorio (17-1) started it all off for the Big Macs when she pinned Slippery Rock’s Lex Doerflinger at 3:49 to win the 100-pound title.
Sophomores Paige Ward (155) and Natalie Rush (190) won their respective weight classes with pins.
Ward (12-8) pinned North Allegheny’s Maya Scott at 2:43. Rush (19-1), who finished third at 170 last year at states, pinned Redbank Valley’s Keyauna Schimp at 1:44.
North Allegheny had two wrestlers bring home titles. Junior Audrey Morrison (24-4) captured the 142-pound title after a 2-0 decision against Peters Township’s Grace O’Korn.
“It’s really crazy to realize how big it has become with me actually needing to qualify. I was nervous going in. I’ve beat her before, but it’s always been a tough match with her. It was good competition, and it was cool to be part of something like this with the first time having to qualify,” Morrison said.
The Tigers had teammates go against each other in the 148-pound championship match as junior Leyna Rumpler (24-2) pinned Callie Rautenbach at 3:33.
Rumpler will look to improve on her second-place finish at states last year.
Butler’s junior Ana Malovich (5-0) pinned Greenville’s Madilyn Enterline to capture the 112-pound title.
“It’s pretty exciting. I haven’t really competed against girls in awhile. It’s good to win it and know that I can win states too because I’m one of the top in the country. I’m pretty confident going into states,” Malovich said.
Norwin freshman Josephine Dollman (12-1) captured the 136-pound title when she pinned Saegertown’s Kacie Mook at 2:39.
“I think it’s amazing how much growth girls wrestling has made. I only have a few days until states so I’m a little nervous. But I have faith with how long I have been here and how many girls I’ve wrestled that I will do good,” Dollman said.
Southmoreland’s Zoey Murphy (7-5) finished the day with 5-2 decision over Plum’s Alaina Claasen for the 235-pound crown.
North Allegheny’s freshman Sophia Folks (32-6) was the runner-up in the 130-pound weight class after losing to Northwestern’s Joelle Scott after a 15-0 technical fall.
Laurel’s senior Abbie Miles (9-1) lost the 170-pound championship match after being pinned by Punxsutawney’s Jael Miller at 3:59.
The 118-pound championship match was the only match that didn’t involve a WPIAL school. Northwestern’s Sierra Chiesa pinned Saegertown’s Leah Sample at 2:50.