WAYNESBURG – The venue changed but the results remained the same for Waynesburg High School’s wrestling team.

The Raiders moved their quarterfinal match Wednesday from the high school to the EQT Family Center for the PIAA Class AAA Team Tournament.

The results were the same, a Waynesburg blowout, 54-12, over Erie Cathedral Prep.

“We’re 1-0 in this building,” said Waynesburg head coach Joe Throckmorton.

The Raiders won all but two matches, including 152 pounds, where Rocco Welsh failed to make weight.

But Erie Prep was missing newly crowned state champion Jacob Van Dee, who was nursing an injury.

No matter.

Waynesburg started and ended the match by receiving a forfeit. No team is going to beat Waynesburg by giving the Raiders a 12-point spot.

Mac Church, who moved up to 126, Cole Homet (138), Wyatt Henson (145), Eli Makel (189) and Ryan Howard (Hvy) each had a pin for Waynesburg.

Clay Mallory (152) and John Campbell (215) had pins for Erie Cathedral Prep.

“We switched Mac and Zander (Phaturos),” said Throckmorton. “These guys are all growing like crazy. They’ll be switching next year because Zander is lighter than Mac.”

But Throckmorton said that might be at 132 and 138 pounds.

“I like this place,” said Church. “It’s pretty awesome.

“I think this win sends a message to the teams in the semifinals. We’re coming for the title.”

The match of the night was between 172-pound state champion Luca Augustine of Waynesburg and Paniro Johnson, a third-place finisher at 152 pounds.

Augustine used his weight advantage – about 20 pounds – to wear Johnson out and came away with a 3-1 decision. All the points were scored in the third period.

“I didn’t expect him to come out at all,” said Augustine. “We’re both kind of the same width but I’m taller than him. I’m glad he did come out. I hadn’t wrestled him since middle school. I beat him at the Junior High Powerade and he beat me at the Tournament of Champions. That was the rubber match.”

Augustine, a Pitt recruit, said he weathered the first period and tired Johnson out in the second.

“I went over and thanked Paniro and their coaches for sending him out,” said Throckmorton. “He could have beaten a state champion. He had nothing to lose. He’s quality and he’s dangerous.”

“There’s no plan of attack. These guys are loaded this year,” said Erie Cathedral prep head coach Michael Hehasey.”In the last couple years, no one has had a stronger team. Maybe Canon-McMillan about 10 years ago. They had five kids in the finals. I don’t know any other team that did that before.”

The facility holds approximately 500 fans, standing room included. Each school was allotted 175 tickets.

“We approached them earlier in the season for a solution to senior night,” said Louie Pellegrini, general manager of EQT. “They reached out to us to use the facility (for the Erie Prep match) and we were more than happy to oblige. It went perfectly. We were happy to support the Raiders and their trip to states.”

Waynesburg will wrestle Williamsport, a 33-32 winner over Bellfonte, in the semifinals Saturday (4 p.m.) at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg. Finals will be at 6 p.m.

Assistant Sports Editor

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. If you have a subscription, please Log In.