PA Class AAA State Champions Crowned in Thrilling Fashion

DSC06737Year after year Pennsylvania shows why they are the Number One State when it comes to the level of competition and the depth of talent at each and every weight. Just as former PA Stars are gearing for the NCAA’s in all three divisions, the future of wrestling put on an impressive showing at the GIANT Center in Hershey, PA. With names such as Schram, Chishko, Marsteller, Weircioch, and Haines the 2013 Class AAA State finals did not disappoint whatsoever.

Final Brackets can be Found Here!

Starting off at 106 lbs. Greater Latrobe freshman Luke Pletcher showcased his takedown abilities with an impressive (8-2) decision over junior Connor Sheehan (Solanco). Pletcher ended his season with a (41-2) record with his only defeats coming against 113 lbs. Class AAA State Champion Ethan Lizak (Parkland) and 2012 Class AA State runner-up and 2013 113 lbs. Class AA State third place medalist Korbin Myers (Boiling Springs). The freshman captured the 113 lbs. POWERade title over 2013 Class AA State Champion Devin Brown (Saegertown) by a score of (7-1).

At 113 lbs. Parkland junior Ethan Lizak made his third straight PA Class AAA State Finals and came away with his second straight State Championship. In one of the Tournament’s toughest weight-classes Lizak was tested from the quarter-finals on as he won three matches in a row by no more then 2 points. Lizak defeated South Central Regional Champion Tanner Shoap (Chambersburg Area) by a score of (3-2) in the quarter-finals before taking down Pennridge junior Scott Parker (4-2) in the semi-finals with a dominating performance from the top position. In the finals Lizak faced Norristown Area senior Zach Fuentus where he was able to hold on for a (3-1) decision and his second straight PIAA State Championship.

In the 120 lbs. Championship finals two familier wrestlers faced off for the third time this season and like the previous two meetings, Hempfield Area sophomore Sam Krivus came out on top. Krivus, who was a 2012 PIAA State third place medalist last season at 113 lbs., defeated junior Dalton Macri (Canon-McMillan) by a score of (3-1) en route to his first career State Championship. The 2x South West Regional Champion ended his season with a record of (40-3). One of his defeats on the season was to Darian Cruz (Bethlehem Catholic) who became a 2x State Champion in Class AA.

For the third time this season senior Connor Schram (Canon-McMillan) and sophomore Michael Kemerer (Franklin Regional) met in a Tournament finals. In their first meeting at the 2012 POWERade Finals Schram won by injury default after he earned a takedown before Kemerer was forced to default due to a head injury he sustained during a flurry. Last week the two met in the South West Regional finals at 126 lbs. and Schram was able to hold on for a (3-2) victory despite nearly giving up a takedown in the finals seconds. Both Schram and Kemerer were PIAA State runner-ups last season and many expected the two to meet for a third time this season in the State Finals at 126 lbs. It was Schram’s fourth straight finals appearance, winning the 103 lbs. title as a freshman and finishing as the runner-up both his sophomore and junior years. The Standford recruit would end his career the way it started by defeating Kemerer (5-3) and earning his second career State Championship.

In one of the more open weights of the field, 132 lbs. featured two talented wrestlers who made their first PA State finals appearance. Junior Tyler Smith (Franklin Regional) a PIAA State fifth place medalist last season at 120 lbs. rebounded from his South West Regional finals defeat to senior Ethan Kenney (Connellsville Area) by surging into the finals where he would face Cumberland Valley sophomore Patrick Duggan. The talented Duggan defeated Kenney (3-2) in the semi-finals guaranteeing the sophomore would improve on his 2012 fourth place finish at 126 lbs. In the finals Tyler Smith was able to connect on a takedown and win the State Championship (5-3). The victory would help Franklin Regional in the team race as they would finish in third place with (68.5) points.

In yet another highly anticipated match-up senior Tyson Dippery entered his second straight State Finals to take on junior Joe Galasso (Father Judge) at 138 lbs. It was no surprise when the two battled to a (1-1) tie after three periods of action and sudden victory took place. In overtime Galasso scored on a takedown to win (3-1 OT) and deny the Central Dauphin senior his long desired PIAA State Championship. For Galasso it was an outstanding end to a junior season where his only defeat was to the Nation’s #1 138 lbs. wrestler Zain Retherford (Benton Area) by a score of (5-3 in OT). The junior will return to defend his title as one of the top middle-weights in the Country next season.

At 145 lbs. junior Solomon Chishko (Canon-McMillan) returned to the mat just in time to earn his first career PIAA State Championship. Chishko had missed the entire regular season for the State Championship Canon-McMillan team but made his season debut at the WPIAL Section 4 Tournament at 145 lbs. Chishko had finished his first two seasons as the PIAA State third place medalist with difficult Championship semi-final defeats to the eventual State Champion in each season. For the first time in his career Solomon Chishko entered the PIAA State Championship Finals against 2012 State runner-up Chris Vassar (Cedar Cliff). Vassar, a senior, was unable to outlast Chishko and instead settled for his second straight runner-up finish losing by major decision (8-0).

In a repeat of the 2012 State Finals at 145 lbs. senior Garett Hammond (Chambersburg Area) faced junior T.C. Warner (Cumberland Valley). In the State Finals last season Hammond won by score of (12-9) in an exciting battle defeating Warner for the fourth time that season. This season however, Warner had the edge winning both the District 3 Section 1 Tournament and South Central Regional Tournament over Hammond.  In the finals of the Class AAA State Tournament Hammond was able to pull off a come-from-behind victory and earn his second straight PIAA State Championship over T.C. Warner. After looking like Warner was on the way to his third straight defeat over Hammond, the Penn State recruit was able to come back from a (4-0) deficit and win the bout (8-5).

In another all District 3 final re-match returning State Champions Chance Marsteller (Kennard Dale) and Garrett Peppelman (Central Dauphin) faced off the the second time this season at 160 lbs. Both juniors won PIAA State Championships last season as Marsteller won his second title, winning the 160 lbs. Championship, while Peppelman won his first career State Championship at 152 lbs. The two met for the first time in their high school careers in the 2013 South Central Regional Championships with Marsteller coming out on top (7-2) and remaining undefeated in his career. Like many predicted the two advanced into the PIAA State Finals at 160 lbs. but this time Marsteller left no doubt why he is the Nation’s top wrestler of any weight or grade. The junior dominated Peppelman racking up 17 points en route to a (17-5) major decision and earning him his second straight Outstanding Wrestler award of the PIAA Class AAA State Championships.

At 170 lbs. Canon-McMillan senior Cody Wiercioch entered his fourth straight PIAA State finals, having won a State Championship as a freshman at 152 lbs. in Class AA while he attended Charleroi Area High School. Cody was a runner-up as a sophomore before transferring to Canon-McMillan prior to his junior season. In his first season competing in Class AAA the Big Mac earned his second PIAA State Title when he captured the 170 lbs. Championship. This season Cody again returned to 170 lbs. and was dominate en route to his third career State Championship capping an outstanding career that included a record of (167-5). The Pitt recruit downed senior Joe Gartland (Penncrest) by a score of (7-2) in the finals at 170 lbs.

In a re-match of the 2013 Escape The Rock finals at 182 lbs. seniors Jake Taylor (Bald Eagle Area) and Brett Harner (Norristown Area) met in a closely contested bout. Just like the first meeting, this match went into the ultimate tie-breaker round to determine a State Champion. In the finals of the Escape The Rock Tournament Jake Taylor was able to hold on for a (3-2 UTB) victory over Harner. In the PIAA State Finals the two battled to a (1-1) tie after regulation with neither wrestler earning a takedown in sudden victory. The pair remained locked at 1-point each before entering into the ultimate tiebreaker round. By scoring the first point of the match Brett Harner had the choice and took the bottom position. Harner had 30 seconds to escape in order to earn a PIAA State Championship and Jake Taylor had 30 seconds to not allow Harner to escape for his first career PIAA State Championship. As most ultimate tiebreaker matches are, this match was full of controversy as many in the GIANT Center felt Brett Harner earned an escape in the final seconds of the period. Regardless, when the buzzer rang it was Cornell recruit Jake Taylor who would be crowned Champion at 182 lbs. with a (2-1 UB) victory. A visibly upset Brett Harner would end his career at Norristown Area High School as a 4x PIAA State Medalist.

At 195 lbs. 2012 State Champion Matt McCutcheon (Kiski Area) looked to earn his second straight PIAA State Championship up one weight-class from 182 lbs. last season. In his way was South West Regional Champion Jake Hart (Hampton) who defeated McCutcheon the previous week in overtime (3-1 OT). Hart is no stranger to the State Finals as he was a PIAA State runner-up last season at 195 lbs. falling to senior Perry Hills (Pitt. Central Catholic). Hart advanced to his second straight PIAA Class Finals with an impressive (12-4) victory over only once defeated Landon Hanna (DuBois Area) in the semi-finals. McCutheon had a tough battle with his future teammate in the quarter-final round when he defeated Council  Rock South senior P.J. Steinmetz in overtime by fall in (6:55 SV); both wrestlers will attend Penn State next year. In the finals Hart replicated his performance from the SW Regional by dominating from neutral and earning a (6-1) victory. Hart celebrated his first PIAA State Championship by doing a back flip on the mat.

In one of the evenings most intriguing match-ups junior Thomas Haines (Solanco) took on tremendous freshman Jordan Wood (Boyertown Area) at 220 lbs. Haines, a 2x PIAA State Champion, would face a wrestler much like himself two season prior. As a freshman competing at 215 lbs., Haines became the heaviest freshman to capture a State Championship, surprising fans when he dominated the 215 lbs. bracket with two falls and two major decisions. Freshman Jordan Wood was hoping to replicate Haine’s performance of 2011 in the PIAA State Finals of 2013. Thomas Haines, however, would not be out-matched as he earned a hard fought (7-2) decision over Jordan Wood. It was Haines third straight PIAA State Championship and like Chance Marsteller before him, both wrestlers will attempt to earn their fourth PIAA State Championship, a feat only 10 wrestlers in PA History have accomplished.

In the final bout of the evening senior Aaron Bradley (Nazareth Area) entered his second straight PIAA State finals against Erie Central Tech’s Andrew Welton. The North West Regional Champion qualified for his third straight PIAA State Tournament and would earn his first career State Medal. Bradley, who was a runner-up last season to Thomas Haines (Solanco) at 220 lbs., would not be denied in 2013 as he captured the 285 lbs. State Championship when he pinned Welton in (5:04). Bradley proved he is one of the Nation’s top heavyweights by claiming the State Championship and was recently selected to the Dapper Dan All-Star Classic for team Pennsylvania.


Team Score
1 99 Canon-McMillan
2 75 Central Dauphin
3 68.5 Franklin Regional
4 56 Nazareth
5 51.5 Solanco
6 43.5 Greater Latrobe
7 42 Norristown
8 39 Parkland
9 38 Cumberland Valley
9 38 Kiski Area
11 36 North Hills
12 31.5 Chambersburg
13 31 Bald Eagle
13 31 North Allegheny
15 29 Northampton
16 28 Council Rock North
16 28 DuBois
16 28 Governor Mifflin
19 27.5 Kennard Dale
20 26 Hampton
20 26 Pennridge


Leave a Comment