After getting flattened in 53 seconds by Frazier senior Rune Lawrence in the WPIAL Class 2A finals, West Greene sophomore Colin Whyte picked himself up off the mat, shook hands with Lawrence and his coaches, then walked back toward his coaches and teammates with a smile and a shrug.

Almost as if to say, “What else did you want me to do?”

Going into the 215-pound championship bout on Saturday afternoon, you wouldn’t have found a single spectator at Chartiers Valley High School who doubted whether Lawrence would pin Whyte (27-8) to secure his fourth WPIAL title. The only question was how long it would take him to do it.

Frazier’s Rune Lawrence pinned West Greene’s Colin Whyte in 53 seconds to become the 32nd four-time WPIAL wrestling champion. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

After taking Whyte down in the opening seconds, Lawrence worked to set up a pinning combination on top until he secured a cradle for the first-period fall. The pin was a historic one for several reasons, as Lawrence became the 32nd wrestler to win four WPIAL titles, while also joining his older brother, Thayne, as the first set of brothers to achieve the feat.

“It will be something me and [Thayne] can always talk about. We’ll always have that in common,” Lawrence said. “It will just be something to bring up when we’re older.”

On top of that, Lawrence finished 15-0 with 15 falls in four trips to the WPIAL tournament in his career, becoming the first wrestler to pin his way to four WPIAL championships. All but one of those 15 pins came in the first period.

A three-time PIAA champion with a career record of 137-8, Lawrence (25-1) will now set his sights on becoming a four-time Southwest Regional champion at Altoona High School next weekend. That will mark the final stop on his journey before Lawrence heads to Hershey in his quest to become the 14th four-time PIAA wrestling champion.

“Just keep it rolling. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Lawrence said. “I’m firing on all cylinders now.”

Lawrence was the unquestioned star of the show on Saturday, but he wasn’t the only one to add to an extensive trophy case. After squaring off three times in a memorable postseason trilogy last season, Bentworth senior Chris Vargo and Burrell senior Cooper Hornack each captured their third WPIAL crowns, with Vargo winning at 133 pounds and Hornack at 139.

An Edinboro recruit with a career record of 126-11, Vargo (34-2) knocked off another returning WPIAL champion, Indiana junior Nico Fanella (32-3), with an impressive 7-2 decision in the 133-pound finals. Vargo took the Brown recruit to his back for a five-point move in the second period that turned out to be the difference in the match.

Burrell’s Cooper Hornack, left, and Burgettstown’s Gaven Suica put on a memorable match in the 139-lb. finals at the WPIAL Class 2A individual wrestling championships. Hornack won in overtime, 3-1, to claim his third title. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

As for Hornack (34-4), the Columbia recruit had to dig deep to outlast Burgettstown senior Gaven Suica (36-6) for a 3-1 overtime win. Suica nearly reversed Hornack to take the lead in the third period, but had to settle for a one-point escape to tie the match after a wild scramble. The Edinboro recruit almost secured a takedown in the sudden-victory overtime period, but Hornack found a way to counter Suica’s attack for the match-winning score just before the buzzer.

A reigning PIAA champion and two-time PIAA finalist, Hornack defeated Vargo in last year’s WPIAL and state finals at 127 pounds, with Vargo getting the better of Hornack at the Southwest Regional. Both are three-time PIAA medalists.

“[The WPIAL title] is a stepping stone,” said Hornack, who now has 150 career wins. “I just plan to win week after week and work my way up to another state title.”

The only two undefeated wrestlers left in Class 2A, Central Valley sophomore Antonio Boni and senior Brenan Morgan kept their perfect records intact while winning their second consecutive WPIAL titles for the Warriors.

Boni (32-0) had little trouble dispatching Beth-Center sophomore Mason Wright (31-9) with an 8-1 victory in the 121-pound finals, while Morgan (35-0) won a battle of unbeatens against Mount Pleasant sophomore Dylan Pitzer (37-1) with an 8-4 decision at 285 pounds. Pitzer is the younger brother of Pitt redshirt freshman Dayton Pitzer, a former three-time PIAA champion who was in attendance for Saturday’s championship finals.

Central Valley’s Brenan Morgan takes down Mount Pleasant’s Dylan Pitzer in the 285-lb. finals at the WPIAL Class 2A individual wrestling championships on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at Chartiers Valley High School. Morgan won, 8-4, for his second consecutive title. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Central Valley was one of three schools to crown multiple champions, with Burrell sophomore Cam Baker (38-3) joining Hornack atop the podium after a 4-2 win against Quaker Valley’s Bruce Anderchak (36-3) in the 107-pound finals. The Buccaneers have enjoyed a bounce-back year under coach Josh Shields, who helped guide his alma mater to its first WPIAL Class 2A team title since 2021 while advancing 10 wrestlers to next week’s Southwest Regional.

“The last two years have been tough,” Shields said about Burrell’s championship drought following a 15-year streak of WPIAL team titles. “They say it’s lonely at the top, but I say the opposite. … This team, this group is truly resilient. They stayed the course.”

The big winners of the day, though, were none other than the Derry Trojans. Coached by former four-time WPIAL champion and three-time PIAA champion Troy Dolan, the Trojans placed three wrestlers in the finals, and all three emerged victorious — including a pair of highly touted freshmen taking the WPIAL by storm.

At 145 pounds, Derry freshman Mason Horwat (31-3) cruised to a 5-1 decision against Montour sophomore Rook Smith (26-4), while fellow freshman Brady Brown (33-2) pulled off the biggest upset of the finals with a second-period pin against Bentworth senior Vitali Daniels (34-4), a three-time WPIAL finalist who placed fourth in the state a year ago. After falling behind in the first period, Brown found himself in top position in the second period and locked up a cradle to secure the fall in 3:07.

“I started this year hoping I could make it to states, but I’m realizing it’s not as hard as I made it seem,” Brown said. “It’s there, so I’ve just got to take it.”

Trojans junior Anthony Mucci (31-3) rounded out the trio of champions for Derry, taking home his first WPIAL title with a 3-2 decision over Chartiers-Houston’s Jorden Williams (23-7) at 114 pounds.

“I think they all knew they had tough matches, so they kind of just fed off each other,” Dolan said. “We definitely have some potential. Now we just have to put the work in, and I think we can have a really good thing going.”

One of three wrestlers to win a WPIAL title for Derry on Saturday, freshman Mason Horwat defeated Montour’s Rook Smith, 5-1, in the 145-lb. finals. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

At 152 pounds, Burgettstown senior Rudy Brown (43-4) edged Elizabeth Forward senior Damon Michaels (32-8) for his first WPIAL title with a 5-2 decision. Hopewell senior Isaiah Pisano (35-2) followed with an identical 5-2 win against Frazier junior Ryan Celaschi (27-6) to claim his first WPIAL crown at 160 pounds, then Belle Vernon sophomore Elijah Brown (39-3) earned his first WPIAL title with a 1-0 decision against defending champion Braedon Welsh (32-6) of Fort Cherry at 172 pounds.

Elsewhere, Quaker Valley senior Jack Kazalas (40-3) defeated Burgettstown senior Parker Sentipal (39-5) in an entertaining 133-pound championship match that featured 295 career victories between the two. A slick third-period takedown helped clinch an 8-5 victory and a second consecutive WPIAL title for Kazalas.

“Parker is a really good opponent,” Kazalas said. “I knew how good he was. I just knew if I wrestled my best, I could beat him, and the results showed it. … I know that my training is paying off.”

Steve is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Steve Rotstein

Steve is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at