Another stern test awaits wrestlers at WCCA meet this weekend

Tuesday, December 31, 2019 | 2:02 PM

It’s a busy and hectic time of the year for high school wrestlers.

The end of December and the beginning of January is when wrestlers find out a lot about themselves. They find out where they stand against the best in the WPIAL and state.

Consecutive weekend tournaments during the holidays keep them busy working hard to keep the weight off from those sweet goodies grandma makes. They have to watch what they eat.

After battling in some of the toughest holiday tournaments around — Powerade, Southmoreland and West Mifflin — wrestlers from Westmoreland, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties have a quick turnaround and prepare for their county tournaments this Friday and Saturday.

For the first time, the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association tournament will be held at Kiski Area. Wrestlers from the other three counties head to South Fayette for the Tri-County Athletic Directors tournament.

“I’m excited it’s at home,” Kiski Area senior Jack Blumer said. “I’m sure a lot of Kiski fans will show up, and I like it because we don’t have to travel. I don’t know much about who is in my weight class.”

Blumer placed second at 160 pounds at the Powerade tournament this past weekend. He lost a 3-2 decision to John Martin Best of Parkersburg. W.Va., in the final.

“I thought Jack wrestled well,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “It’s tough to go unbeaten during the season, and I’d rather see someone take a loss now instead of later in the season.”

Some of the best weight classes this weekend will be 106, 195, 220 and 285.

Hempfield sophomore Briar Priest finished second at Powerade. He’ll face tough competition from Latrobe freshman Vince Kilkeary and Penn-Trafford sophomore Troy Hohman.

The 195 class features Hempfield senior Justin Cramer, Kiski Area sophomore Brayden Roscosky and Southmoreland’s Brett Huffman. Mt. Pleasant sophomore Dayton Pitzer, a returning PIAA Class AA champion, is rehabbing a leg injury.

The 220 class is loaded with talent. Greensburg Salem seniors John Meyers and Trent Patrick will be competing along with Hempfield senior Dillon Ferretti.

The heavyweight class features Hempfield junior Isaiah Vance, who placed second at Powerade, Kiski Area’s Stone Joseph and Greensburg Salem sophomore Bill McChesney, who won the Southmoreland tournament.

“I’m looking forward to the county tournament,” Vance said. “I know I’m going to get some good matches. I know I must continue to work on my conditioning if I want to win a title.”

Vance and Blumer are only two of the eight previous champions in the Westmoreland County tournament. The others back are Franklin Regional junior Carter Dibert (106 pounds), Burrell junior Ian Oswalt (126), Hempfield junior Ty Linsenbigler (138), Kiski Area senior Nick Delp (170),

Roscosky (195) and Norwin senior Kurtis Phipps (106, 2018).

Phipps captured his third Powerade title last week and is a two-time PIAA runner-up. Dibert is a returning PIAA Class AAA champion.

Latrobe senior Gabe Willochell is coming off the biggest shocker from the Powerade tournament when he defeated two-time PIAA Class AAA champion Alejandro-Herrera-Rondon in the 132 final.

“I realize what I just did,” Willochell said after the match. “The Powerade tournament is my favorite event, and to win it is unbelievable.”

Willochell placed sixth twice and fifth once prior to winning it.

The pairings meeting for the tournament will be held Thursday night at Hose Company 3 in Greensburg.

The tournament starts at 4 p.m. Friday.

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

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