Derry’s DeLuca, Mt. Pleasant’s Pitzer going for gold at PIAA Class AA tournament

Friday, March 8, 2019 | 10:22 PM

HERSHEY – Derry senior Dom DeLuca hopes to end high school wrestling career with a bang.

DeLuca reached the finals at the PIAA Class AA wrestling championships for the second consecutive season, but this time he wants to end on top of the podium at the Giant Center.

To do that, DeLuca has one final step to the top; he must defeat Greenville senior Jacob McMaster (47-0) in the 220-pound final.

DeLuca (39-1) advanced to the finals by defeating Montoursville junior Cameron Wood, 5-1, in the semifinals Friday. DeLuca used a first-period takedown and second-period escape to grab a 3-0 lead.

He was never threatened after that as Wood never came close to taking DeLuca down.

“I just have to let it all fire, I have nothing to lose,” DeLuca said. “I’m trying to end my career with a bang. Last year, I was a little nervous, a little timid. I said let’s go and have fun this year.”

DeLuca defeated McMaster, 4-2, in the 2018 semifinals, but fell to Bishop McCort senior Anthony Walters, 16-8.

“He’s a big, explosive dude and quick,” DeLuca said. “He’s really tough, and it’s going to be a tough task. But this is what I’ve been training for all year.”

DeLuca said he benefits from his stamina is strength and that he gets better as the match goes on.

He’s looking to become Derry’s 13th state champion. He would join the likes of Jim Gulibon (four-time champion), Mickey Phillippi (three), Troy Dolan (three), Mike May and Travis Shaffer.

The other Westmoreland County wrestler to reach the Class AA final is Mt. Pleasant freshman Dayton Pitzer (42-1).

After allowing the first takedown to Union City senior Gavin Henry, Pitzer took over, rolling to a 12-2 victory. He’ll face Freedom senior Bryson Miller for the third time this season.

Pitzer defeated Miller in the WPIAL semifinals, 11-5, and then pinned him in the PIAA Southwest Regional semifinals.

“Bryson will be coming hard, and he wants to beat me,” Pitzer said. “We’ll figure out a good game plan for him, and I’m excited for the finals.”

Pitzer said he tends to give up the first takedown in matches. But he always bounces back.

“It’s been a lot of fun this season,” Pitzer said. “I feel real good right now. I’m ready and excited for Saturday. I believed I could win a state title. I knew it would be tough, and I’d have to wrestle my finest.”

Burrell sophomore Ian Oswalt, Derry sophomore Ty Cymmerman and Valley senior Noah Hutcherson all fell in the semifinals.

Oswalt dropped a 3-1 decision in overtime to Notre Dame-Green Pond freshman Ryan Crookman at 120 pounds.

Cymmerman fell to Bishop McDevitt senior Chase Shields, 3-1, at 126, and Hutcherson was overpowered by Chestnut Ridge senior Jared McGill, 17-2.

The WPIAL will have seven finalists in Class AA as Hopewell senior Jacob Ealy (138), Freedom sophomore Trent Schultheis (152), Frazier junior Thayne Lawrence (160) and McGuffey senior Christian Clutter (170) also collected semifinal wins.

Lawrence, the returning 152-pound champion, defeated Towanda senior Cooper Mosier, 11-4.

While the win came easily, Lawrence was disappointed he allowed a headlock takedown and also felt he should have been given a pin.

“I thought I had him flat,” Lawrence said. “And I got sloppy and allowed him the headlock. I can’t allow that.”

Lawrence (28-3) will face Kane senior Alec English in the finals, which start at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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

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