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Hopewell’s Isaiah Pisano The 2024 WPIAL AA 160-Pound Wrestling Champion

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Written by Dom Campbell (Free Lance Writer/Pgh Sports Now)

BRIDGEVILLE, Pa. — Hopewell wrestling senior Isaiah Pisano put on a show and came out victorious to win the WPIAL Title at 160 pounds at the WPIAL 2A Wrestling Championships at Chartiers Valley High School Saturday afternoon.

Pisano (35-2), the No. 1 seed, faced off against No. 4 Frazier junior Ryan Celaschi (27-6) in the final. This came as the second match this season for Pisano against Celaschi, as he won a close 6-5 decision on Dec. 2.

Both wrestlers kept it competitive initially, before Pisano made a takedown to get the lead in the first period, Celaschi escaped at the last second, making it a 2-1 match at the end.

An escape to begin the second period tied the match at 2-2, but Pisano got low and through on Celaschi, making a takedown to retake the lead, 4-2, also stopping Celaschi from getting an escape.

Pisano stayed strong throughout the third period, starting with an escape and aside from the referees calling a late stall call on him, he excelled throughout his match, giving him the WPIAL Title in a 5-3 decision.

The WPIAL Title for Pisano is his first and final, as he is in his last season of high school wrestling. He finished in fifth place last season and fourth place in 2022, both at 152 pounds. He credits his win to first year head coach Brett Smith, as the work he’s put in with him has greatly strengthened him as a wrestler and a competitor.

“It feels great,” Pisano said on his WPIAL Title victory. “I’ve never even been close to a WPIAL Title before. Taking fifth and fourth, I didn’t think I was going to make it until coach stepped in and helped me improve a lot this year.

“It’s awesome,” Smith said on Pisano winning a WPIAL Title. “He’s worked hard for it all year. We knew this was the goal. Got a couple more, but happy today. We’ll celebrate it today for sure.”

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The win for Pisano over Celaschi is the second this season and makes it twice he’s gotten revenge on Celaschi, who defeated him in a 7-1 decision last year. It also makes it even better, as Celaschi won the WPIAL Title last season at 152 pounds, putting Pisano over him at the highest level in western Pennsylvania wrestling.

“It feels great,” Pisano said. “Totally makes me feel more confident that I can beat someone over and over again, but I still know I’ve got to keep working to get better.

He slowed me down a lot, but I was able to score when I needed to.”

Smith had great confidence in Pisano coming into his first season as head coach of Hopewell wrestling, that he would win a WPIAL Title. Seeing it all unfold on Saturday comes as less of a surprise and more of a validation for Smith and the work he and Pisano have put in all season long.
“I knew it coming in,” Smith said. “I knew he could do it and happy about it. Like I said, I knew I was happy to build this program around him and he just keeps proving himself.”

Pisano isn’t done yet, as he’ll compete at PIAA Regionals and State Championships. He has the belief in himself to go forward, and he’ll have his head coach along side him, plus, a loving and supportive family who have provided and cared for him the whole way.

“Definitely more confident to be able to get a high seed at regionals,” Pisano said. “Hopefully finish on the podium there and then take it onto states and get on the podium there too.”

“Full confidence, Smith said on Pisano going forward. “Keep working hard and like I said, this was a big goal, but bigger goal in a couple of weeks.”

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