Hampton heavyweight eager to test himself against Powerade field

Saturday, January 23, 2021 | 8:01 AM

Hampton’s Dawson Dietz left the Powerade Wrestling Tournament two years ago with a season-ending torn labrum.

Last year, he came home from one of the nation’s most prestigious wrestling events with a fifth-place medal.

This year he’s thirsty for more success.

Dietz, a 250-pound senior, will be one of the top heavyweights in the loaded field at the Powerade Tournament on Jan. 29-31.

“I’m excited,” he said. “Me weighing a little more this year, I’m excited to go there and see what I can do.”

This season’s edition of Powerade was pushed back a month and moved from Canon-McMillan to Monroeville Convention Center to meet state health and social distancing guidelines. Speaking in mid-January, tournament director Frank Vulcano remained hopeful Powerade — which had roughly 55 schools invited — would be held as planned.

“Fingers crossed, it happens,” Hampton coach Chris Hart said. “It is in my mind, and a lot of other people’s mind, the best tournament in the country.

“If it’s not No. 1, it’s No. 2.”

Dietz, who took a 6-0 record into a Jan. 19 tri-meet with Highlands and Fox Chapel, went 6-2 with six pins as a 235-pound heavyweight at Powerade last season after his season-ending shoulder injury as a sophomore.

Of the four Powerade heavyweight semifinalists last year, three are scheduled to return — Cole Deery of Malvern Prep, Isaiah Vance of Hempfield and Stone Joseph of Kiski Area.

“Most of the top wrestlers in the state are going to be there and also top wrestlers in the nation, which makes the competition a lot tougher,” Dietz said.

Dietz, who went 40-11 with 32 pins last season, will have company. Hampton senior Justin Hart (4-2 as of Jan. 18) is expected to be one of the top seeds at 189 pounds. He placed fifth as a sophomore and eighth last year at 195 at Powerade.

“Justin and Dawson both should have a nice seeding, but they are going to see some extremely tough competition, which is great,” said Chris Hart, Justin’s uncle. “That’s where you judge where you are at.”

Other Talbots bracing for Powerade are seniors Gage Galuska (160) and Conrad Harold (6-0 at 215), junior Jayden Resch (172) and freshmen Caleb Rihn (126) and Alan Danner (132). Juniors Jon Maguire and Jacob Premick are vying for the 152-pound spot for the Talbots, who were scheduled to host the Hampton Dawg Duals on Jan. 23.

Dietz is opting not to cut weight for the postseason tournaments. Last season he shaved about 15 pounds to compete at 220 at the WPIAL and PIAA championships. This year he will stay at heavyweight, with its 285-pound limit.

“I’m going to be playing football in college, so I’d like to keep my weight,” he said. “I hate that rise and drop that I’ve been doing in the past. … I’m at about 250 now, and I feel I would be good about 255 or 260.”

Dietz, an all-Greater Allegheny Conference defensive lineman, is considering Grove City, Washington & Jefferson and Edinboro for football. Because this is his final year of wrestling — and with the pandemic casting a cloud of uncertainty over the entire season — Dietz is more focused than ever.

“I’m definitely going to leave everything out on the mat,” he said. “I’m working a lot harder in practice, and I just want to make sure I don’t regret anything when the season is over.”


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