Belle Vernon wrestler Weightman making name for himself

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Tuesday, March 3, 2020 | 7:36 PM


His name is Cole Weightman.

If you don’t know him, that’s OK. A lot opponents are wondering where he came from, too.

The Belle Vernon sophomore opened some eyes at the WPIAL Class AAA individual wrestling championships last weekend by winning the 220-pound title 10-2 against Greensburg Salem senior John Meyers.

Now Weightman takes his show to Giant Center in Hershey on Thursday for the start of the PIAA Class AAA wrestling championships. Belle Vernon never has had a state champion.

Weightman (29-1) gained some notoriety at the Chambersburg Trojan Wars tournament in late December, when he endured his only loss of the season to returning Class AA state champion Gaige Garcia of Southern Columbia, 3-1, in the 195-pound final.

“He gained a lot of confidence in that tournament,” Belle Vernon coach Bob Bove said. “He beat a couple state placewinners and gave Garcia a good match.”

Weightman added: “I had nothing to lose. Doing well gave me a lot of confidence. I went out and wrestled my heart out.”

He won two matches the following week at the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association tournament but tweaked his shoulder and pulled out of the event.

He missed a month before returning for the Penn-Trafford Ultimate Warrior tournament in early February.

“When he got injured in early January, we thought the Penn-Trafford tournament would be good to test the injury,” Bove said. “We knew Cole had a chance to win if he stayed healthy.”

Weightman missed much of his freshman season with a foot injury. Bove said when he tweaked the right shoulder, he said, “not again.”

But Weightman, who starts as an inside linebacker on the football team, responded to rehab.

“I was coming off two injuries, but I think people know who I am,” Weightman said. “I’ve exceeded my expectations. I was just hoping to make the WPIALs. It’s better than I did last year.

“Now my goal is to win each match as it goes. Everyone wants to be at the top, but I’m focusing on each match.”

Winning WPIAL titles is nothing new for the Weightman family. Cole’s dad, Ed, was the quarterback of the Belle Vernon football team that won a WPIAL title in 1995, and his sister, Casey, was a member of Belle Vernon’s winning softball team in 2018.

Weightman said he didn’t know who is first-round match is against, and he said he doesn’t care.

He faces Cedar Cliff senior T.J. Moore (36-3) in the opening round Thursday.

Bove said he’s not disappointed with the fifth seed because he said, “you have to beat someone good to win it in the semifinals.”

Weightman shouldn’t be in awe of the arena or the large crowd. He’s wrestled in Tulsa at nationals and has been a Junior Olympics state champion.

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

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