All-time greats highlight Trib HSSN Wrestling Team of the 2000s in Class AA

Monday, January 4, 2021 | 7:12 PM

Over the past week, Trib HSSN has polled fans to pick the Trib HSSN Wrestling Team of the 2000s. Today, staff writer Paul Schofield makes his selections.

I’ve seen a lot of great wrestlers since I started covering the sport in 1980. When making my selections for the Trib HSSN Wrestling Team of the 2000s, I paid special attention to multiple-time champions and placewinners as well as the eye test.

I tried to make the ballots fan friendly, and special thanks goes out to everyone who participated in the polling on Twitter. Every wrestler was slotted into a weight class he competed and won in during his high school career.

In each weight class, the fan balloting winner is followed by my pick and a short explanation. Some were no-brainers. Others are more debatable.

Here is the Class AA team. The Class AAA will follow tomorrow.

106 pounds

Fan winner: Joe Makara, Burrell (47.3%). He edged Shady Side Academy’s Frank Martellotti (28.4) and Jeannette’s Larry Hall (24.3).

Trib pick: Makara. A two-time PIAA champion and four-time WPIAL champ.

113 pounds

Fan winner: Troy Dolan, Derry (61.7%). He beat out Keystone Oaks’ Anthony Zanetta (20.4) and South Park’s Joey Fischer (17.9). Zanetta was a two-time PIAA champion.

Trib pick: Dolan. A three-time PIAA champion and a four-time WPIAL champ.

119 pounds

Fan winner: Jimmy Gulibon, Derry (68.9%). He topped Burrell’s Travis McKillop (27.4) and South Side’s Nathan Reckner (3.7). McKillop was a three-time WPIAL champion and three-time PIAA placewinner.

Trib pick: Gulibon. He was a four-time WPIAL and PIAA champ, and he did it in Class AA (two years) and Class AAA (two years).

126 pounds

Fan winner: Gavin Teasdale, Jefferson-Morgan (67.1%). He topped Burrell’s Dave Makara (24.9) and Shady Side Academy’s Geoff Alexander (8.5). Makara was a three-time WPIAL champion and Alexander a four-timer. This was a loaded weight class.

Trib pick: Teasdale. He was a four-time PIAA champion, twice at 126, and a four-time WPIAL champion.

132 pounds

Fan winner: Jason Nolf, Kittanning (76.4%). He topped Burrell’s Jordan Shields (22.2) and Freedom’s Damian Rose (1.7). Shields was a four-time WPIAL champ and a state champ. Rose was a state champion.

Trib pick: Nolf, of course. He finished with a 176-1 record, was a four-time WPIAL champ and three-time PIAA champ.

138 pounds

Fan winner: Micky Phillippi, Derry (78.3%). He beat out Burrell’s Shane Welsh (16.8) and Hopewell’s Jacob Ealy (4.7). Welsh was a three-time WPIAL champ and three-time PIAA placewinner. Ealy was a PIAA champion and very dominant. I expected more votes for him.

Trib pick: Phillippi. He garnered the highest percentage in the Class AA poll. He was a four-time WPIAL and three-time PIAA champion.

140 pounds

Fan winner: Travis Shaffer, Derry (47.3%). He edged Burrell’s Jared Shields (29.5) and Mt. Pleasant’s Donnie Ament (23.2).

Trib pick: Ament. This was a tough decision. While both were PIAA champions, it came down to Ament being a two-time third-place finisher at the state meet. Shaffer finished fourth once and fifth twice. Ament also led the WPIAL in career wins at one time with 178.

145 pounds

Fan winner: Jason Makara, Burrell (45.2). He edged South Fayette’s Mike Carr (38.1) and Nick Carr (16.7).

Trib pick: Mike Carr. He was a two-time PIAA champ. Nick Carr was a PIAA champion and Makara a three-time WPIAL champion. Makara’s best PIAA finish was seventh.

152 pounds

Fan winner: Dane Johnson, Shady Side Academy (50%). He edged Burrell’s Steven Edwards (41.7). South Allegheny’s Phil Sorrentino was third (8.3). All were state champions.

Trib pick: Johnson. He was a four-time WPIAL and three-time PIAA champion who finished with a 182-11 record.

160 pounds

Fan winner: Matt Lebe, Jeannette (42%). He edged Frazier’s Thayne Lawrence (36.2) and South Park’s Jake Wentzel (21.8).

Trib pick: Lawrence. He was a four-time WPIAL champion and two-time PIAA champion and three-time finalist. Lebe, who wrestled from 1998-2001, was a three-time WPIAL and Southwest Regional champion and finished first, second and third in the state.

171 pounds

Fan winner: A.J. Graves, Jeannette (35.9%). He edged Freedom’s Kurt Brenner (35) and Shade Side Academy’s Matt Cunningham (29.1).

Trib pick: Brenner. He was a three-time PIAA champion, all at 171. Cunningham was a four-time WPIAL champion and PIAA champion, and Graves was a two-time WPIAL champion and a two-time PIAA finalist, winning in 2005.

182 pounds

Fan winner: Dayton Pitzer, Mt. Pleasant (40.5%). He eked past South Park’s Greg Bulsak (37.2) and Burrell’s Dakota DesLauriers (22.3).

Trib pick: Bulsak. He was a two-time PIAA champ. Pitzer, who won as a freshman, might have been my pick, but he missed his sophomore season with an injury. DesLauriers was also a PIAA champ.

195 pounds

Fan winner: Roman San Doval, Shady Side Academy (44.6%). He edged a pair of Southmoreland wrestlers: Shane Datz (40.5) and Jordan Kitta (14.9).

Trib pick: San Doval. He was a PIAA champion and a two-time WPIAL champ.

220 pounds

Fan winner: Jake Temple, Avella (48.9%). He beat out Burgettstown’s Dan Conley (31.4) and Carlynton’s Jordon Roussos (19.7).

Trib pick: Temple. He was a two-time WPIAL champ and a PIAA champ. Conley and Roussos were also PIAA champs.

285 pounds

Fan winner: Allan Beattie, Burrell (44.7%). He edged Southmoreland’s Jake Beistel (34.6) and Shady Side Academy’s Ric San Doval (20.9).

Trib pick: San Doval. He was a two-time PIAA champ and two-time WPIAL champion.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

More High School Sports

Laurel Highlands baseball coach DeBerry dies following stomach cancer diagnosis
Central Catholic’s Rocco Salvitti still in the hunt at AJGA Southpointe tournament
WPIAL requests eligibility hearings for New Castle, Bishop Canevin transfers
Michael Wareham, Victoria Witouski awarded inaugural Fuhrer scholarships
Created out of pandemic necessity, league plays ball for a 2nd summer

click me