Harbert brothers aim high for Ligonier Valley wrestling team

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020 | 5:36 PM


When Ligonier Valley freshman Josh Harbert and sophomore Ryan Harbert need advice on how to improve their wrestling skills, they don’t have to look far.

They have a lot of resources.

First there is dad Brent, a 1992 graduate of Ligonier Valley who is an assistant coach.

Then there is uncle Tad, who coached previously at Latrobe and Kennard-Dale and is currently an assistant coach at Spring Grove.

And finally there is there grandfather Tommy, a legendary coach from Latrobe. He was inducted into the Southwestern Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame at the 2001 Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic and into the Tri-Boro chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

“Yeah, we have a lot of resources when it comes to wrestling,” Ryan Harbert said.

“I was born into a wrestling family,” Josh Harbert said. “I started young (age 4) and a lot of people recognize the name when we’re at tournaments. It’s kind of neat.”

Ligonier Valley is 6-9 this season, dropping a PIAA District 6 Class AA team playoff match to Philipsburg-Osceola. The Rams won three matches in the dual against Philipsburg-Osceola, two of them by the Harberts.

Josh Harbert (21-6) was awarded a win by forfeit. He had 10 pins this season.

Ryan Harbert (20-4, 46-14) won a decision against Gabriel Dunkelberger, 6-0. He has 12 falls this season.

The Harberts were winners in Monday’s nonconference loss to Greensburg Salem.

“I’m pretty happy what we’ve done. As a team, we’re coming together more than past years,” Ryan Harbert said. “We can win the Heritage Conference with a win against Blairsville on Thursday.”

But Ryan Harbert’s goals are much bigger this season. He wants to qualify for states. In 2019, he won one match at the Southwest Regional after placing sixth in the District 6 tournament.

“My main goal is to make it to the state tournament,” Ryan Harbert said. “Last year, I didn’t quite make it, I won one match at the regional.

“It would be great to a make it to the state tournament. I’m ranked fourth or fifth in the district and sixth in the region.”

He’s posted some good wins this season. He edged Mt. Pleasant sophomore Noah Gnibus, 1-0, at the Hampton Duals. He also pinned Marion Center’s Hunter Armstrong in a dual.

Armstrong won the 138-pound title at the Southmoreland Holiday tournament.

“Earlier this season, I had a good match against (Noah Gnibus). I beat him 1-0,” Ryan Harbert said. “That got me on a roll.

“In the Armstrong match, I just wanted to win the match whether by points or overtime. I just wanted to get that win under my belt, and I ended up getting the fall, which was good for the team. Hopefully that will help me in the district seeding.”

Josh Harbert had an option this season — wrestle for the junior high team or move up to varsity. He decided to compete at a higher level.

“It’s been fun. I’m definitely glad I moved up rather than staying down,” Josh Harbert said. “I get better competition at the high school level than I would at the junior high level.

“My goal at the beginning of the year was to make it out of districts. Now I’d like to make it past regionals.”

If they continue to wrestle well, they have a good chance at achieving their goals.

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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