Finally healthy, Latrobe ready for WPIAL wrestling tournament

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 | 8:14 PM

When the 2022-23 high school wrestling season began, Latrobe was picked to be in the final four.

It can still happen, but the No. 7 Wildcats face a difficult task if they want to capture the WPIAL Class 3A championship. Their journey takes them through No. 2 Canon-McMillan.

Latrobe (6-2) hasn’t been healthy this season. When it dropped an early-season decision to No. 6 Trinity, the Wildcats were missing two-time PIAA champion Vinny Kilkeary, Nate Roth and Wyatt Schmucker. When it lost to Connellsville, 31-30, Roth was held out.

“When we’re healthy, I believe we can beat anyone,” Latrobe coach Mark Mears said. “We’re healthy. Nate returned to the lineup and got a pin.”

The Wildcats (6-2) begin the playoffs 6 p.m. Wednesday against Westmoreland County rival Norwin (14-2). The Knights were tri-champions of Section 3 with Franklin Regional and Penn-Trafford.

The Warriors, after their 33-27 win over Kiski Area on Monday, faces Canon-McMillan. The winners of the match meet in the quarterfinals.

“Our focus is on Norwin,” Mears said. “We’re preparing like it’s any other match except you’re preparing for two teams. I don’t take anything for granted. We’re taking every match one at a time.

“You have to beat the best to advance. It’s simple: You either win and advance, or you lose and prepare for individuals.”

If Latrobe and Canon-McMillan meet, it will pit two teams with star-studded lineups.

The Wildcats feature Kilkeary (127 pounds), Roth (139), Luke Willochell (114), Leo Joseph (121), Corey Boerio (215) and heavyweight Wyatt Held. The Big Macs counter with Tanner Mizenko (107), Brandon Dami (114), Andrew Binni (127), Matt Furman (172) and Gabriel Stafford (189).

Another possible big quarterfinal match could be No. 4 Connellsville hosting No. 5 West Allegheny.

Many felt the Falcons should have received a No. 3 seed, but that went to Butler.

Connellsville is the only school to qualify for every WPIAL team championship since it started in 1978. The Falcons have won seven WPIAL titles and one PIAA title.

West Allegheny is a dangerous team because it has three PIAA placewinners returning: Ty Watters, Shawn Taylor and Nico Taddy.

No. 1 Waynesburg is looking to win its fourth-consecutive title.

The semifinals and finals are scheduled to begin 10 a.m. Saturday at Peters Township.

The Class 2A semifinals and finals are scheduled to begin at noon Saturday at Chartiers-Houston.

Burgettstown is the top seed, returning champion Quaker Valley is second and Burrell is third. Highlands is a fourth seed, and Frazier is fifth.

Burrell second at Bedford

The Bucs had a strong showing at the Bedford Tournament, placing second behind Chestnut Ridge, 239.5 to 200.

Cooper Hornack (127 pounds) and Isaac Lacinski (172) won titles, and Cam Baker (107) placed second.

Calio Zanella (121) and Niko Ferra (139) finished third. Julian Bertucci (114) and Nico Zanella (160) placed fourth, and Cameron Martin (189) placed seventh.

Frazier placed seventh with 126.5 points. The Commodores had three finalists and five total placewinners: Rune Lawrence won the 189 title, and Ryan Celaschi (152) and Jackson Angelo (160) placed second. Jonah Erdely (145) took third, and Tyler Clark (127) placed fourth.

Beth-Center’s Tyler Berish won the 152 title, edging Celaschi, 3-2.

Chartiers-Houston’s Jorden Williams (114) and Jessi Orbin (172) placed second.

Shared title

Because there is a chance Burgettstown and Mt. Pleasant could meet in the Class 2A quarterfinals Wednesday, the coaches decided to share the Sharon Duals title.

Both teams were 4-0.

Junior High Report

Connellsville captured the North Allegheny Junior High Invitational by scoring 218.5 points.

The Falcons had 10 placewinners and two champions: Kai Velma (130) and Nolan Rice (101).

Derry placed second with 167.5 points and had three champions: Brady Brown (190), Dylan Bateman (94) and Mason Horwat (145).

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at

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