Jefferson-Morgan’s Gavin Teasdale named 2018 Trib HSSN Wrestler of the Year
By: Paul Schofield
Saturday, March 31, 2018 | 11:00 PM
Jefferson-Morgan senior Gavin Teasdale used a loss at the Powerade tournament as motivation to win his fourth PIAA Class AA title and finish his career as the 13th wrestler to win four state titles.
In the PIAA final, instead of attacking his opponent, he stayed patient and let his opponent make the makes. It was a perfect game plan to cap a great career.
For his effort, Teasdale (40-2) was named the TribLive High School Sports Network Wrestler of the Year.
Teasdale, who finished his career 162-2, joins Cary Kolat as the only four-time PIAA champions from the same high school.
Now, Teasdale is preparing for his collegiate career where he hopes to help Penn State continue its dominance in the NCAA.
What's it mean to be a Rocket?
It's real good to cap off my senior season and end it by winning the MVP at the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic. I just looked to get better the whole year. It was great to bring pride back to the school and the area. The school is so small, but I gave the people something to look forward to. It was a good accomplishment and receiving support from the community (felt great).
What was something you learned from Cary Kolat?
I knew a lot about him after I started wrestling and was growing up. He definitely was a big influence because he showed how hard work makes you better. You don't take any short cuts on the mat. He didn't care who he was wrestling. He tried to go out and rip their arm off.
Penn State won another title and next year the NCAA tournament comes to Pittsburgh. What are your thoughts?
I'd like to wrestle, but I'll do what coach (Cael Sanderson) wants me to do. I just want to go up to Penn State and get better, change my routine a little and get into some freestyle. If it's better for the team, I'll do it. Whatever.
What's your opinion of Penn State's Murders Row in the middle of the lineup — Zain Retherford, Jason Nolf, Vincenzo Joseph, Mark Hall and Bo Nickel?
It kind of gets momentum going. You see one guy win and then the next one follows. They leave it on the mat. Zain gets Nolf pumped up. Nolf gets Cenzo going, he gets Mark pumped up and Mark gets Bo fired up. It's like a domino effect. They're always peaking at the end of the season.
Does it excite you to be part of a team that successful?
It's a mentality of not losing no matter who they are wrestling. Everyone is looking to score points, not just settle for just a win. They try to build on their advantage.
Have you grown to be more at ease around reporters?
My first interview was in Fargo (N.D.). I didn't want to mess up in front of the crowd. I got better as the years went on with the reporters.
Do you have a favorite subject in school?
I don't have a favorite subject. Probably gym (laugh). I'm pretty good in English. Same as wrestling, you have to work hard in the classroom.
What did your coach (Mike Lesko) mean to you?
He was great. We had a lot of fun the last four years. He prepared me well.
What is one thing you have to work on going to Penn State?
Have to get used to wrestling for seven minutes. Riding time is going to be different and college rules are a lot different. The out of bounds is new and the four-point nearfall instead of a three-point nearfall. You have to adapt. Once I learn that, wrestling it wrestling. Wrestling you get to dictate the pace on the mat.
What is your favorite food?
Wings. I could eat them every day. I try to stay away from spicy wings because they make me thirsty.
What type of music do you listen to before a wrestling match?
Eminem. It gets me pumped.
Is there anything you do that would surprise people?
I was really good at golf. I was shooting in the 40s when I was age 9 and 10. It was my main sport until I started wrestling at age 10. Coming from a calm sport like golf and then going to a combat sport like wrestling, it was total opposite.
Trib HSSN wrestling all-stars
West Mifflin, sr., 285 pounds
2017-18 record: 41-3
The Cal (Pa.) football recruit finished third in the PIAA Class AAA tournament after finishing second to Isaac Reid in the WPIAL finals. He also won the Allegheny County title and the Section 2 title. He placed fourth in the state in 2017. Career record: 130-37.
Franklin Regional, jr., 132 pounds
2017-18 record: 40-3
The WPIAL Class AAA champion placed second in the state, dropping a 5-4 decision to McDowell junior Jeffrey Boyd. He was the Section 1 and WCCA champion. He placed third at the Powerade tournament and second at the Gateway Invitational. Career record: 102-18.
Derry, jr., 220 pounds
2017-18 record: 48-5
This three-sport athlete placed second in the PIAA Class AA tournament after finishing second at the Southwest Regional. He was the WPIAL and WCCA champion. He also plays football and volleyball. He is a two-time PIAA qualifier and two-time placewinner. Career record: 116-22.
Belle Vernon, sr., 160 pounds
2017-18 record: 43-2.
The Bucknell recruit finished second in the PIAA Class AAA tournament, dropping a controversial decision to Erie Cathedral Prep junior Carter Starocci in overtime. He was the WPIAL, WCCA and Section 2 champion. He lost to Starocci in the Powerade final. Career record: 170-25.
Seneca Valley, fr., 106 pounds
2017-18 record: 46-8
He defeated Norwin sophomore Kurtis Phipps, 1-0, in the PIAA Class AAA final in ultimate tiebreaker. He lost to Phipps, 1-0, the WPIAL finals. He was the Section 3 champion. He was the only freshman to win a state title from the WPIAL this season. Career record: 46-8.
North Hills, so., 126 pounds
2017-18 record: 32-1.
Hillegas won his second PIAA and WPIAL Class AAA titles. He also won section and Allegheny County titles. His only loss came at the Powerade tournament. He hopes to become the next four-time PIAA champion. Career record: 75-1.
Frazier, so., 152 pounds
2017-18 record: 30-2
Lawrence became Frazier's first PIAA champion in any sport. He won the Class AA title by defeating Chestnut Ridge senior Justin McCoy, 8-1, in the finals, two weeks after he dropped a 10-1 decision to McCoy at the PIAA Southwest Regional. He is a two-time WPIAL champion and two-time PIAA placewinner. Career record: 67-8.
Kiski Area, sr., 138 pounds
201-7-18 record: 44-5
Levett finished third in the PIAA Class AAA tournament. He was the WPIAL champion and helped Kiski Area win the Class AAA team title and place second in the state. The Bucknell recruit won the WCCA title. Career record: 149-33.
Canon-McMillan, sr., 120 pounds
2017-18 record: 39-2
He is a four-time PIAA Class AAA qualifier, placing fifth in 2017 and winning this season. He also was the WPIAL, Section 4 and Powerade champion. He helped Canon-McMillan to a WPIAL second-place finish to Kiski Area. He'll wrestle for Tennessee Chattanooga in college. He competed in the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic for the Pennsylvania team. Career record: 152-30.
Norwin, so., 106 pounds
2017-18 record: 39-1
The two-time WPIAL champion finished second in the state, falling to Seneca Valley freshman Alejandro Herrera-Rondon, 1-0, in ultimate tiebreaker. He defeated Herrera-Rondon, 1-0, in the WPIAL finals. Career record: 75-6.
Quaker Valley, fr., 106 pounds
2017-18 record: 39-2
Redinger third in the PIAA Class AA tournament and won the PIAA Southwest Regional, WPIAL, Section 3 and Allegheny County titles. He lost in the state semifinals. His only other loss came against Hempfield junior Kyle Burkholder. Career record: 39-2.
Kiski Area, sr. 285 pounds
2017-18 record: 23-0
The Lock Haven recruit captured his first PIAA Class AAA title by beating Erie Cathedral Prep junior Kuwaun DeBoe, 3-1. He was slowed for the first two months of the season with a blood clot in his lung. He ended up winning the Section 1 and WPIAL titles. He also helped Kiski Area win another WPIAL team title and finish second in the state. Career record: 129-24.
Shaler, jr., 113 pounds
2017-18 record: 42-1
He defeated West Chester Henderson sophomore Killian Delaney to capture the PIAA Class AAA title. He also won the WPIAL, Section 3 and Allegheny County titles. He was the PIAA runner-up in 2017. He is a two-time PIAA finalist. Career record: 98-9.
Albert Gallatin, sr., 182 pounds
2017-18 record: 37-4
Wallace dropped a controversial match in the PIAA Class AAA final and finished second to Pennridge senior Josh Stillings, 3-1. He was the WPIAL runner-up, falling to Butler senior Christian Sequete. He was a two-time WPIAL champion. He will wrestle at Kent State. Career record: 139-21.