Latrobe, Connellsville wrestling teams off to good starts in new season

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Tuesday, December 21, 2021 | 5:47 PM


So, what have we learned about wrestling in the WPIAL two weeks into the season?

Well, a lot.

Latrobe and Connellsville look to be serious contenders in Class AAA and could challenge No. 1 Waynesburg.

Latrobe, ranked No. 2, won the Hickory Tournament on Dec. 11 and placed fourth overall Dec. 18 at the King of the Mountain tournament at Central Mountain.

No. 3 Connellsville opened the season winning the Eastern Area Invitational at Gateway and followed that by going 5-0 and winning the Moon Duals on Dec. 18. The Falcons defeated West Allegheny, 42-33, in the finals after the Indians edged Kiski Area, 36-33.

Waynesburg was forced to postpone its scheduled dual meet against Trinity on Dec. 15 because of reported covid-19 concerns.

The Raiders did participate in two prestigious tournaments: the Ironman on Dec. 11 and the Beast of the East on Dec. 19. Two prominent starters, Mac Church and Rocco Welsh, did not compete at the Beast of the East tournament.

Waynesburg also is missing two other starters: Cole Homet, who is recovering from an injury sustained in a vehicle crash in the summer, and Joe Simon, who is looking for a spot in the lineup.

The Raiders finished 14th and had three placewinners at the Beast of the East. Heavyweight Noah Tustin placed sixth, Eli Makel (220) placed seventh and Colton Stoneking (138) placed eighth.

At Ironman, Welsh won the 165-pound weight class and Church placed second at 132. Tustin placed fifth.

On the prowl

Latrobe had seven finalists including five champions at the Hickory Invitational.

Winning titles were: Luke Willochell (106), Vincent Kilkeary (120), Jacob Braun (126), Jack Pletcher (152) and Wyatt Held (285). Leo Joseph (113) and Corey Boerio (215) placed second.

The Wildcats placed fourth with 135.5 points behind Williamsport (169), Council Rock South (159) and State College (149.5) at Central Mountain.

Kilkeary won the 120-pound title, and his run included an 11-2 win against Seneca Valley’s Ty Chappell in the semifinals.

Willochell, Pletcher and Boerio placed third, and Held finished seventh. Boerio defeated two highly ranked wrestlers in the state.

“It was a good showing,” Latrobe coach Mark Mears said. “I can’t wait to see what we look like when we get to January. We’ll be a different looking squad.”

Mears said Nate Roth, who has been recovering from offseason surgery, will be back, and the team will have make weight adjustments once the 2-pound allowance comes into effect.

Up to four

With the addition to Kiski Area, there are now four schools sponsoring girls wrestling.

The others are Connellsville, Canon-McMillan and North Allegheny.

Canon-McMillan and North Allegheny faced each other Dec. 21.

What’s next?

There are three wrestling tournaments in the WPIAL scheduled between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

The Southmoreland Holiday Classic is set for Dec. 27 and 28. Powerade (Canon-McMillan) and Steve DeAugustino Holiday Classic (West Mifflin) are slated for Dec. 28 and 29.

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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