Near misses

March 7, 2018 Cranberry Local Sports

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Seneca Valley senior Louis Newell, seen here in control of an opponent earlier this season, has qualified for the state tournament for the fourth straight year.

CANONSBURG — Alejandro Herrera and Louis Newell have plenty in common these days.

Both are standout wrestlers at light weight classes for Seneca Valley.

Both are headed to the PIAA Tournament Thursday as WPIAL runner-ups.

Both narrowly missed winning WPIAL championships against outstanding competition Saturday night at Canon-McMillan High School.

Herrera, 42-8 as a freshman at 106 pounds, dropped a 1-0 decision to unbeaten Kurtis Phipps (36-0) of Norwin in the WPIAL finals. Newell, 38-4 as a senior at 120, dropped a 4-3 decision to Logan Macri (37-2) of Canon-McMillan in the finals.

Mars senior Alex Hornfeck placed third at 145 pounds and will be joining the Seneca Valley pair and Butler’s Christian Sequete at the PIAA Tournament this week.

“Those were tough ones,” Seneca Valley coach Kevin Wildrick admitted of his matmen’s losses. “But that’s how it is down here. This is a tough, tough tournament and the championship matches are usually close like that.”

Herrera gave up his match’s only point midway through the second period. He was penalized a point for a dangerous move as he slammed Phipps to the mat while trying to maintain control from the top position.

Newell scored an early takedown of Macri, but allowed an escape and was taken down himself with five seconds left in the opening period. Macri scored an escape point in the middle period and took a 4-2 lead into the third.

Newell escaped with a minute left in the match, trailing 4-3. He barely missed a would-be title-winning takedown in the closing seconds.

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