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Sloboda, Smith, Chopp, Hein claim section mat titles

16 county wrestlers advance to WPIAL 3A tourney
Seneca Valley's Connor Smith raises up North Allegheny's Gus Stedeford during their 121-pound WPIAL AAA Northern Section championship match on Saturday. Smith claimed his third career section title with a 10-1 decision. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024

VANDERGRIFT — When it comes to winning section wrestling titles, Butler’s Santino Sloboda and Seneca Valley’s Connor Smith have been there, done that.

The Golden Tornado’s Kase Chopp and Mars’ Liam Hein ascended that mountain for the first time.

Those four Class AAA Northern Section champions lead 16 Butler County wrestlers who have qualified for this weekend’s WPIAL Championships at Canon-McMillan High School. Those matmen placed among the top six in their respective weight classes at the section meet held Saturday at Kiski Area.

Even with Plum's Carson Yocca on his head, Butler's Kase Chopp maintains control and cruises to a win in the 133-pound WPIAL AAA Northern Section championship match on Saturday. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024

Butler advanced Nick Savannah (27-10) at 107 pounds, Sloboda (32-0) at 114, Chopp (30-5) at 133, Gavin Rush (20-11) at 139, Leo Iarrapino (25-14) at 145 and Dawson Davis (15-19) at 160. Seneca Valley advanced Riley Smith (7-19) at 107, Connor Smith (24-6) at 121, Zach Hill (23-9) at 139, Brody Pirt (13-9) at 152, Corey Wolfe (20-9) at 189, Thomas Wuycheck (17-14) at 215 and Roman Royal (16-13) at 285.

Mars advanced three wrestlers in Hein (30-9) at 145, Cooper Courson (9-23) at 160 and Augustus Aubrecht (26-8) at 215.

Sloboda stayed unbeaten on the season by pinning Landon Funk of Fox Chapel in the first period of their championship match. Sloboda won his other two matches Saturday by technical fall and pinfall.

All serious and in control on Saturday was Butler's Santino Sloboda in his 114-pound section title match with Fox Chapel's Landon Funk. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024

“He was dominant today,” Butler coach Scott Stoner said. “Once he got on top in each match, he just took control. The way he and Kase have been wrestling all year, anything short of section titles for them today would have been a disappointment.”

A sophomore, Sloboda won his second section title in as many years.

“I feel good at this weight class,” Sloboda said of wrestling at 114. “I’m confident wrestling at this weight. I always look for the quick takedown and go to work from there.”

Chopp was denied a section championship last year as a sophomore when he dropped a match to North Allegheny in triple overtime.

“This feels pretty good,” he admitted of his 10-1 decision over Plum’s Carson Yocca in the 133-pound title match. “I did a lot of club wrestling over this past year, a bunch of different clubs to get as many different opponents as I could.

Mars’ Liam Hein takes Butler's Leo Iarrapino airborne during the 145 -pound WPIAL AAA Northern Section final at Kiski Area High School on Saturday. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/24

“That’s made a huge difference for me this year. I’ve learned that’s what it takes. I go up against wrestlers with .500 records ... I can tell they’re not doing that.”

Seneca Valley’s Smith, a senior, won the third section title of his career, decisioning Gus Stedeford of North Allegheny, 10-1. He’s won his championships at three different weight classes.

“They all feel the same, really,” Smith said of moving up in weight. “With few exceptions, you’re still wrestling against the same guys. They’re moving up in weight with you.

“I’ve tried to be more of a leader in the room this year, but I’m not a real outspoken person. I do the best I can.”

Raiders coach Kevin Wildrick said he hoped to get a couple of more wrestlers through, “but we lost some close matches early today and those always hurt.

“We got Riley Smith through at 107, even though he’s wrestling at about 90 pounds, That was a nice surprise.”

Riley Smith was seeded ninth out of 11 wrestlers in that weight class. Butler’s Dawson Davis was seeded sixth at 160 and wound up taking fourth.

Mars’ Hein, a junior, defeated the Tornado’s Leo Iarrapino, 7-0, in the 145-pound title match. The win marked Hein’s first section title after missing much of last season with a broken finger.

“My technique is a lot better this year and I was able to get the job done,” Hein said. “The WPIAL meet will be a challenge, but I feel like I’m ready for it.”

Planets coach Ben Rings is happy to be sending three wrestlers to the WPIAL meet. Mars advanced only one last season.

“We’re trying to grow the program and Liam is clearly the leader there,” the coach said. “He’s one of few wrestlers we have who’s stayed with it from the youth program all the way up. We’re trying to increase numbers and we need more of that.

“Augustus has had a tremendous year. He was in our youth program, then didn’t wrestle in junior high or in high school before deciding to come out for this his senior year. I wish he had stayed with it all along. I’m sure he feels that way, too.”

WPIAL AAA Northern Section

(WPIAL qualifiers from county)

Finals

114 pounds-Santino Sloboda (Butler) pinned Landon Funk (Fox Chapel), 1:25

121 — Connor Smith (Seneca Valley) dec. Gus Stedeford (North Allegheny), 10-1

133-Kase Chopp (Butler) dec. Carson Yocca (Plum), 11-2

145-Liam Hein (Mars) dec. Leo Iarrapino (Butler), 7-0

Consolation Finals

107-Brad Rohaly (North Hills) dec. Nick Savannah (Butler), 6-5 in OT

139-Zach Hill (Seneca Valley) dec. Joshua Alexander (Fox Chapel), 12-2

160-Charlie Campbell (Plum) pinned Dawson Davis (Butler), 2:10

215-Vito Barravecchio (Shaler) dec. Thomas Wuycheck (Seneca Valley), 4-3

Fifth-Sixth Place

107-Aiden Rockacy (Pine-Richland) dec. Riley Smith (Seneca Valley), 7-2

139-Gavin Rush (Butler) forfeit over Griffen Reid (North Allegheny)

152-Carter Morvay (North Hills) dec. Brody Pirt (Seneca Valley), 2-1

160-Isiah Greenia (Armstrong) pinned Cooper Courson (Mars), 4:41

189-Corey Wolfe (Seneca Valley) dec. Taye Bradshaw (Armstrong), 10-4

215-Augustus Aubrecht (Mars) pinned Daniel Kunesky (North Hills), 1:51

285-Ryder Ekas (Kiski Area) dec. Roman Royal (Seneca Valley), 5-3

All serious and in control today is Butler's Santino Sloboda in his match with Fox Chapel's Landon Funk at the WPIAL AAA northern sectional championships. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024
Butler's Santino Sloboda is in full control of his match with Fox Chapel's Landon Funk today as his coaches look on at the WPIAL AAA northern sectional championships in Westmoreland County. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024
Seneca Valley's Connor Smith gets the win in the 121 pound weight class today at the WPIAL AAA northern sectionals at Kiski Area High School in Westmoreland County. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024
Mar's Liam Hein has Butler's Leo Iarrapino wrapped up today in their 145 pound matchup in thei WPIAL AAA northern sectional championships at Kiski Area High School. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024
Mar's Leo Iarrapino takes Butler's Liam Hein airborne on the way to the mat today in the 145 pound final at Kiski Area High School in Westmoreland County. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/24
Butler's Santino Sloboda locks up with Landon Funk from Fox Chapel today in the 114 pound weight class at the WPIAL AAA Northern sectional championships at Kiski Area High School in Westmoreland County. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024
Connor Smith from Seneca Valley spins out of a hold today in his match with Gus Stedeford from North Allegheny at the WPIAL AAA northern sectional championships at Kiski Area High School in Westmoreland County. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024
Butler's Kase Chopp flips over Plum's Carson Yocca today to stay in control and ahead in the their 133 pound class match at the WPIAL AAA northern sectional championships in Westmoreland County. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024
Butler's Kase Chop gets the win and the hand raise in the 133 pound match today at the WPIAL AAA northern sectional championships at Kiski Area High School in Westmoreland County. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024
Butler Kase Chopp uses an arm bar to keep Plum's Carson Yocca face down and under control in their 133 pound matchup at the WPIAL AAA northern sectional championships in Westmoreland County. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024
Butler's Case Chops takes down Plum's Carson Yocca today in the 133 pound class at the WPIAL AAA northern sectional championships at Kiski Area High School in Westmoreland County. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024
In the 145 pounds final today at Kiski Area High School, Mars' Leo Iarrapino has Butler's Liam Hein all locked up mid way through the 2nd period in the WPIAL AAA Northern sectional championships. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle. 02/24/2024
Seneca Valley's Connor Smith uses his head to get out of hold today in the 121 pound match with North Allegheny's Gus Stedeford at the WPIAL AAA Northern sectional championships at Kiski Area High School in Westmoreland County. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle 02/24/2024

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