Quaker Valley Youth Wrestling, in only its first year of existence, won the Western Athletic Wrestling Association (WAWA) Conference Championship at Aliquippa High School on Feb. 23, 2012.
The WAWA Conference consists of 22 of the best wrestling clubs in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, including Aliquippa, Ambridge, Beaver, Burgettstown, Butler, Carlynton, Central Valley, East Liverpool, Freedom, Hopewell, Montour, Moon, Next Level (Steubenville), Oak Glenn, REC (Ellwood City), Smitty's, Seneca Valley, South Fayette, South Side, Toronto and West Allegheny.
Jason Richey, head youth wrestling coach, said the WAWA is considered one of the most difficult conferences in Western Pennsylvania.
Quaker Valley wrestling has 42 wrestlers on the team between the ages of 5 and 12, but only three wrestlers on the team--John Rocco Kazalas, Jack Kazalas and Justin Richey--have any prior experience, Richey said.
"This lack of experience makes this conference championship particularly improbable," he said.
Quaker Valley won the WAWA Championship based on a percentage of the total amount of points scored by the team versus the number of wrestlers that entered the tournament. Points were awarded for each wrestler that placed in the tournament.
Richey said the WAWA trophy, which is as big as some of the QV wrestlers, is a huge testament to the great families, coaches and wrestlers from the Sewickley Area.
"With this unprecedented championship, we have laid the foundation for a fantastic future for our program and the future of wrestling in Quaker Valley for years to come," Richey said. "I do not think any of us expected this much success so quickly. I am very proud of the boys for all of their hard work and effort."
Quaker Valley entered 15 wrestlers into the WAWA Open, meaning the wrestlers could have unlimited years of experience, and had all but four place.
The WAWA Open results were as follows:
WAWA Open Champions: John Rocco Kazalas; Elijah Faulkner; Tommaso Floro; Jack Diemert
Second Place: Marcus Richey
Third Place: Justin Richey; Christian Brown; Mason Diemert
Fourth Place: Jack Kenneweg; Jack Kazalas; Braeden Steffey
Quaker Valley also had a number of wrestlers enter the WAWA Novice (meaning only first and second year wresters could enter) tournament and had the following results:
WAWA Novice Champions: Luke Flowers; Jakub Pickett
Second Place: Evan Davidson; Weston Grant
Third Place: Sean Merriman; Owen Petronick
Richey said the QV WAWA Championship was led by the following four Quaker Valley WAWA Open Champions.
- John Rocco Kazalas is a 12-year-old 80 pounder and captain of the team. John Rocco, 35-9 on the year, had one of the most anticipated matches of the WAWA tournament. In the final, he wrestled Peyton Hall of Oak Glen, West Virginia. Hall is currently ranked second in the state. John Rocco mounted an early 6-0 lead and held on to win 6-4 turning in what many observers believed to be an MVP Performance. Richey said he is optomistic John will have a chance to place in the Pennsylvania State Championship this year.
- Elijah Faulkner, son of Floyd Faulkner, is a 6-year-old 50 pounder. Elijah has a 59-7 record on the year, and at one point won seven tournaments in a row. Elijah easily defeated all four opponents in the WAWA Open tournament gaining Quaker Valley some major team points. Richey said he believes Elijah is the best 6-year old wrestler in Western Pennsylvania.
- Tomasso Floro is an 8-year-old 85 pounder. Tommaso is 30-7 and easily defeated all of his opponents to take the WAWA Championship. Tommaso is currently training with John Rocco to qualify for the State Championship as only a first-year wrestler.
- Jack Diemert is a 6-year-old 45 pounder who is 25-5 on the year. Jack won a number of difficult and highly energized matches to take the Championship. Richey said he expects Jack to be a dominate wrestler for QV wrestling for many years to come as he is a naturally aggressive wrestler and a pleasure to coach.