Three 2012 champions fall in regional finals

Thirteen state champions return to this week’s PIAA Championships, but three Class AA champs will enter the Giant Center as regional runners-up.

Chambersburg’s Garett Hammond, Central Dauphin’s Garrett Peppelman and Kiski Area’s Matt McCutcheon all lost in their regional tournament finals.

Hammond, who won at 145 last year, lost in the 152-pound Southcentral finals to Cumberland Valley’s T.C. Warner, 3-2. One bout later in the same regional, Peppelman, who won at 152 a year ago, lost to Kenard Dale’s two-time state champ Chance Marsteller, 7-2. McCutcheon, who has moved from 182 to 195, lost in overtime, 3-1, to Hampton’s Jacob Hart in the Southwest finals.

Three other two-time champs return in Canon-McMillan’s Cody Wiercioch (170), who lost an epic overtime tiebreaker bout against Marsteller early in the season, and Solanco’s Tom Haines (220) in Class AAA and Pen Argyl’s Mike Racciato (145) in Class AA.

Bethlehem Catholic’s Darian Cruz (120), Trinity’s Ryan Diehl (126), Milton’s Ryan Solomon (195) and Mifflinburg’s Nazar Mironenko (285) return as champs in Class AA, as does Kittanning’s 2011 champ Jason Nolf. Also returning is Parkland’s Ethan Lizak (113) in Class AAA.

The state tournament begins Thursday at the Giant Center.