Peters pair claim Tri-County wrestling titles
(Photo: Char-Houston's Garrett Vulcano controls West Greene's Cody Jacobs in a 195-pound weight class match at the Tri-County Tournament Saturday. Ken Wunderley/Tri-State Sports & News Service.)
One point may be the smallest margin of victory, but that's all Tyler Buckiso needed to win his second Tri-County Wrestling Tournament title this past weekend at Ringgold High School.
Buckiso, a junior at Peters Township, captured the 126-pound title with a 1-0 victory against Bentworth's Vince Vahaly. It's the third time Buckiso has placed at the Tri-County Tournament. He finished third at 103 as a freshman, then won a title last year at 120.
"I watched my brother wrestle in this tournament and set a goal of winning a title," said Buckiso, referring to his brother, Mike, who graduated last year. "Now I've got two titles and a chance to win a third next year."
Buckiso was expecting a showdown in the finals with Canon-McMillan senior Connor Schram, a three-time PIAA finalist and one-time champion. Schram was scratched, however, along with seven other Big Macs teammates, for various health concerns.
"I go into every tournament with the goal of winning, so [Schram] not being here didn't change anything for me," Buckiso said. "I prepare for every bout the same way, regardless of my opponent."
The key to Buckiso's victory in the title match was his ability to ride Vahaly the entire second period.
"I've been working very hard on my riding, and I still have a lot of work to do," Buckiso said. "Riding can be the deciding factor in a close match. That was certainly the case against Vahaly."
Buckiso was joined atop the winners platform by teammate and workout partner Italo Merante, who won the 132-pound title with a 5-1 win against Ringgold's Gage Downer.
"It pumped me up so much to see Ty win, especially because his match was before mine," said Merante, a junior. "It's such a good feeling to see him win. It gave me a lot of confidence going into my match."
Merante was making his second appearance in the Tri-County Tournament.
"I placed third last year as a sophomore," Merante said. "I lost in the [138-pound] semifinals to [Charleroi's] Nick Gavazzi. That was my first year of varsity wrestling, so I was very happy to do that well."
Buckiso and Merante were joined in the finals by Indians teammate Lukas Cervanak, who was pinned in the 285-pound final by Trinity's Evan Seaman.
The trio of finalists led Peters Township to its first team title. The Indians accumulated 162.5 points, while Waynesburg was a close second with 157.5 points. Peters Township had nine of 13 entries place, including five who finished among the top three in their weight classes.
A gold medal for Bucs
Chartiers-Houston had two wrestlers make return trips to the Tri-County Tournament finals, but only one came home with a gold medal.
Garrett Vulcano won the 195-pound weight class title after placing second at 160 and 170 the previous two years. Vulcano posted a 3-1 win against West Greene's Cody Jacobs in the title match.
Vulcano's teammate and best friend, Tanner Sutton, wasn't as fortunate.
Sutton had a chance to become the first four-time champion in the five-year history of the tournament, but fell short, losing, 6-4, in overtime to Waynesburg's Shane Piper in the 145-pound final. Piper was named Outstanding Wrestler.
Vulcano and Sutton were joined in the finals by teammates David Kinkaid and Josh Kraushaar. Kinkaid won the 170-pound title with a 2-1 win against McGuffey's Zac Herrle. Kraushaar was pinned in the 220-pound final by Avella's Jake Temple.
Chartiers-Houston finished fourth in the team standings with 146 points.
Charleroi has a champion
Nick Gavazzi had two of the best workout partners a wrestler could ask for during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Charleroi. Gavazzi, along with teammates Aaron Toth and Josh Kwasny, made up one of the most potent trios in the WPIAL. All three qualified for the PIAA Class AA Tournament last season, and Toth and Kwasny were place-winners.
"I miss those guys," said Gavazzi, referring to the fact that Toth and Kwasny have graduated. "It really helped having them to work out with every day."
Toth and Kwasny are gone, but it hasn't slowed Gavazzi's success. He claimed his second consecutive Tri-County Tournament title with three consecutive pins in the 138-pound weight class.
"I don't have any workout partners as good as Aaron and Josh this year, but I've also been working out a lot at Quest School of Wrestling," Gavazzi said.
Gavazzi capped his performance with a fall at 3:14 against Jefferson-Morgan's Jason Miller, who was also making his second appearance in the finals.
"It's just another step to reaching my goal of making it back to Hershey in March," said Gavazzi, who posted a 1-2 record at the PIAA tournament last year.