Greensburg Salem’s McChesney celebrates section title; more work awaits

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021 | 3:08 PM


It was a celebratory weekend for Greensburg Salem junior Billy McChesney.

He picked up football scholarship offers from Penn and Lehigh, and he defeated Hempfield senior heavyweight Isaiah Vance for the first time in his wrestling career.

McChesney used an escape and a takedown to build a 3-1 lead en route to a 4-3 win in the Section 2-AAA championship bout.

The victory earned McChesney (19-3, 78-19) the No. 1 seed in the WPIAL Class AAA tournament Saturday at Canon-McMillan. He’ll face Kiski Area senior Stone Joseph (6-3) in the opening round. The two met in 2019 and split their matches.

“It was a great match,” McChesney said of the section finals. “The biggest factor was my coaching and conditioning. I was able to get the lead and keep the lead. I credit that to my coaches, my teammates and practice partners.”

McChesney knows it probably wasn’t the last time he’ll face Vance in the postseason.

“We’ll probably meet three more times this season,” McChesney said of potential matches in the WPIAL, Super Region and PIAA tournaments. “Knowing I can beat him boosts my confidence. I know he’ll come back a lot stronger if we meet again.”

Before Saturday, Vance had won the previous 10 meetings between the heavyweights, including 6-2 in the Section 2B subsection tournament Feb. 18.

“The biggest thing for Billy was getting out and scoring against Isaiah,” Greensburg Salem coach Randy Parsley said. “He was able to get the lead and did a good job protecting it.”

Vance (27-1) was ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL by Trib HSSN and in the state by PaPowerWrestling.com. Vance is seeded No. 2 for the WPIAL tournament. He defeated McChesney, 1-0, in the 2020 WPIAL finals.

“We knew in the room that it wasn’t a matter of if I was going to beat him, it was a matter of when,” McChesney said. “Now it’s when, and I’m starting to get over that hump and get to my full potential and where I can be. It’s definitely a ‘monkey off my back.’ It feels good to finally get that win.”

McChesney said he knows if he wants to be a state champion, Vance is the wrestler in his way.

“Isaiah is a great wrestler,” McChesney said. “I give all the respect he deserves and probably more. He’s a guy in the room who is working just as hard as I am.

“I know it’s not going to be an easy match when we face. It’s going to be a brawl to the very last whistle, and that keeps you on your toes and gets you ready for the state tournament.”

Parsley said McChesney can’t afford to worry too much about Vance. He has to focus on whoever is next.

“He has to worry about Isaiah when he wrestles Isaiah,” Parsley said. “If he takes care of business, he’ll be OK.”

And while McChesney doesn’t have any wrestling scholarship offers yet, Parsley said he’s been talking to a lot of coaches.

The football offers are for him to play defensive tackle. He said he probably will make a decision on a sport next fall, but wrestling has helped him become a better football player.

“Wrestling is one of the best things that you can do for yourself as a person and especially as an athlete,” McChesney said. “There is so much hip control, movement and agility that’s needed in the room.

“Wrestling and the WPIAL is a breeding ground of competition. You need to excel in everything you can in wrestling, which trends to every other sport.”

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 pschofield@triblive.com.

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