Penn Hills’ Butler decides to wrestle at Pitt-Johnstown

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Friday, May 11, 2018 | 1:06 AM


As a young kid, Penn Hills senior heavyweight DeShawn Butler would watch others wrestle at the collegiate level and envisioned he would be in the same spot one day. That day has come as Butler has committed to wrestle at Pitt-Johnstown next season.

Butler (32-9) finished one match away from qualifying for the PIAA Class AAA tournament after falling to Hempfield's Isaiah Vance, 4-3, at the WPIAL tournament.

Butler, who has aspirations of pursuing athletic training, was mulling his college decision between Pitt-Johnstown, Seton Hill and other NCAA Division II schools.

He stressed UPJ's campus was a perfect for him in order to be successful on and off the mat.

“When I went up there it was nice, but it wasn't huge and it wasn't small. It felt like it could be a fit for me,” Butler said.

“It was a big decision for me. What I'm doing now is going to affect my future. I thought it would be the best decision for me.”

Butler qualified for WPIALs after finishing second at the Section 1-AAA tournament, when he was pinned by Kiski Area's Isaac Reid in the championship bout.

At the Allegheny County tournament in mid-January, Butler finished third after winning a 5-1 decision over Mt. Lebanon's Nathan Hoaglund in the third-place bout.

Butler finished second after losing to West Mifflin's Gerald Brown by a 3-0 decision at the Steve DeAugustino Holiday Classic at West Mifflin.

At the Eastern Area Invitational, Butler finished fourth after losing to North Allegheny's Derek Devine, 2-0, in the third-place bout.

During his junior season, Butler finished with a 29-12 record and made a push for a spot at states but fell short. Butler finished with 27 wins in his sophomore season.

Even with the win totals on his resume, Butler understands he needs to continue to work on his technique and develop as a wrestler as he moves onto the collegiate level.

“I need to work on getting stronger. I know from the high school level to the college level, it's two different levels of strength and talent. As long as I go in with a wanting-to-win mindset on the mat, I know I will do good,” Butler said.

“They want me to have a working mindset. They want me to come in Day 1 being ready to work.”

Also a lineman on the football team, Butler was part of a Penn Hills senior class that finished 8-4 overall with a 3-3 mark in the Class 6A Northern Seven Conference.

The Indians made their deepest playoff run since 2008 after losing to Central Catholic, 17-8, in the semifinals of the WPIAL playoffs.

Butler didn't want to close the book completely on his football career but knew his heart truly belonged to his first love — wrestling.

“I'd still love to play football and maybe it's in my future,” he said. “It wasn't too hard to pick because it's been what I've been doing for most of my life. I didn't start playing football until high school.”

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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