Hempfield sophomore wrestler Kapusta coming of age, gets 2 quick pins at Powerade

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Friday, January 29, 2021 | 7:13 PM


If you’re looking for a wrestler who is beginning to attract attention this season, look no further than Hempfield sophomore Lucas Kapusta.

The young Kapusta, the son of former three-time NCAA Division II champion and four-time All-American Brian Kapusta, is starting to wrestle with a purpose.

“He’s starting to realize his potential,” Hempfield coach Vince DeAugustine said. “He’s wrestling with a lot of confidence. The difference comes from his work in the practice room. He wants to get better.”

Kapusta recorded two first-period pins at 138 pounds during the first day of the Powerade Tournament on Friday at Monroeville Convention Center. He pinned Mt. Pleasant’s Lucas Shaulis at 1 minute, 11 seconds and then decked Waynesburg’s Nate Jones in 45 seconds.

“My goal was to start quickly and set the pace,” Kapusta said. “I want to keep the pressure on my opponent.”

He did just that in his first two matches. Now he’ll face a tough test in DuBois senior Chandler Ho, who finished eighth in the state at 138 last season.

Kapusta said the difference in his wrestling this season is what he’s learned from DeAugustine.

“I’ve always had a good arm bar, but Vince has me be more aggressive on my feet, and I’m hand fighting more,” Kapusta said. “It was something he taught me. He and my dad have taught me a lot, but there were times that I always didn’t listen to my dad.”

Now he’s absorbing everything, according to DeAugustine.

“I’m working harder in the room,” Kapusta said. “I’m starting to realize my potential, and I’m gaining more confidence.”

DeAugustine added: “Lucas wants to get better, and he’s working hard every day in the room. It helps that Brian and I are on the same page when it comes to teaching him things. I’m expecting big things from him.”

Kapusta wasn’t the only Hempfield wrestler to advance to the quarterfinals, which begin at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Also advancing were senior Ethan Berginc at 126 from the morning session, junior Briar Priest at 132 and senior Tyler Linsenbigler at 152.

Linsenbigler will face Laurel sophomore Grant Mackay, who defeated him 4-1 two weeks ago at the Mid-Winter Mayhem.

“Ty’s been working a lot harder since that match, and he’s in better shape,” DeAugustine said. “I’m eager to see how he does.”

Waynesburg and Seneca Valley each had six wrestlers reach the quarterfinals after the first two sessions. Canon-McMillan had three and Norwin and Kiski Area two.

Norwin senior John Altieri, sporting a new green hairstyle, reached the quarterfinals with a technical fall and an 11-5 win against Northern York’s Cole Bartram. He’ll face Blackhawk senior Kenny Duschek in his next round.

“I dyed my hair green because my younger brother Anthony did,” Altieri said. “I posted it on Twitter and got a cool response from (former Penn State All-American and champion) Bo Nickel.”

Derry senior Ty Cymmerman had two impressive wins: a pin in his first match and a 7-0 win against Malvern Prep’s Nick Wehmeyer, at 145. He’ll face Hickory’s Carter Gill, who placed sixth in Class AA last season at 132, in the quarters.

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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