Hannon bumps up to move on

FOX CHAPEL — Ryan Hannon has one final opportunity to reach his goal.

That’s why he decided to make a tough decision before the Section 3-AAA wrestling tournament last Saturday at
Fox Chapel High School.
Hannon, a senior at Butler who wrestled primarily at 170 pounds this season, took a look at the field for the Class AAA WPIAL Championships,which start this Thursday at Canon-McMillan High School, and called an audible.
He decided to bump up to 182 pounds, finishing third at sections to earn a bid.
Moving up, Hannon felt, was the best way for him to earn his first appearance in the PIAA tournament.
“That’s why I moved up,” Hannon said. “I thought it looked like it was the best shot to go to states. It’s my last year, might as well take a chance and go for it.”
Hannon, who has 91 career wins and is 31-4 this season, was the Golden Tornado’s most consistent wrestler during the dual meet season. Butler coach Scott Stoner also tried to help him prepare for individuals by switching his weight.
Last season, Hannon finished two matches short of qualifying for states.
“We look at wrestling him at 170 and 182, but he decided that he wanted to go 82 and have a better opportunity to get a berth in the state tournament,” Stoner said. “We wrestled him up a number of times this year to get him experience and win for the dual meet against some good kids. He’s wrestled some good 82 pounders and won and he’s ready for that.”
Hannon leads a hungry group of 16 Butler County wrestlers to WPIALs. Many have made the tournament before, only to fall short of advancing.
Butler will have eight wrestlers compete, Seneca Valley six and Mars two.
Golden Tornado 220-pound senior Will Bortmas, who was one of two area wrestlers to win a section title, is especially motivated.
“I actually haven’t been in the WPIAL bracket. I won a pigtail and lost a pigtail,” Bortmas said. “I don’t have much WPIAL experience coming into it.”
Bortmas also bumped up weight classes this season. Last year, Bortmas was at 160 pounds before deciding to make the leap up to 220. While he’s still light for that weight class, he tends to use his athleticism and rolls to his advantage.
He’s not planning on altering that style on the next stage.
“Keep doing what I’m doing,” Bortmas said. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I like that saying.”
Seneca Valley junior Austin Leon won the section title at 152 pounds. Leon went 1-2 at WPIALs last season and is looking forward to having another opportunity.
“It will feel good. I’ve had to do that the last couple years,” said Leon, who is 23-7. “I think I’ll get a match, it won’t be easy, but I won’t get a stud like (Franklin Regional’s) Josh Shields.”
Seneca Valley coach Kevin Wildrick hopes to have a few of his wrestlers break through.
“We want to do the best we can, we want to be in a position to qualify for states,” Wildrick said. “Whether that be getting your way into the semis and having a good match against somebody who according to the books you shouldn’t beat to get there.”
Hannon hopes to end his last trip to WPIALs with his best finish.
“I have to fight through it, work hard and keep doing what I’m doing,” Hannon said. “Hopefully, win those close matches.”
Butler County WPIAL qualifiers
106 pounds – Alex Lynch (Seneca Valley), 33-4
113 pounds – Ben Lynch (Seneca Valley), 27-10
120 pounds – Scott Dietrich (Butler), 30-12
126 pounds – Nick Zoria (Seneca Valley), 27-11
132 pounds – Mason Kauffman (Butler), 21-16
138 pounds – Cody Houston (Butler), 28-9
152 pounds – Austin Leon (Seneca Valley), 23-7; Jeremiah Bortmas (Butler), 30-9
160 pounds – Stephen Rudolph (Seneca Valley), 28-12
182 pounds – Ryan Hannon (Butler), 31-4
195 pounds – Alex White (Butler), 25-14
220 pounds – Wil Bortmas (Butler), 30-5; Tyler Miller (Seneca Valley), 16-12; Alex Grosso (Mars), 16-10
285 pounds – JD Bojanac (Butler), 26-11; Trey Turnblacer (Mars), 12-13