Latrobe expecting to challenge Waynesburg for Class 3A wrestling supremacy

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Tuesday, December 7, 2021 | 9:16 PM


When Mark Mears took over the Latrobe wrestling program a year ago, he inherited a program that was on the rise.

While his first season didn’t go as planned, the second season might turn out to be something special.

The Wildcats are loaded and could challenge Waynesburg for the WPIAL Class 3A title.

“We’re as solid as anyone,” Mears said. “The goal is to finish top three in the WPIAL and go to the Giant Center. We finally have no holes to fill, and we have depth.”

Latrobe (4-4) returns seven starters including 2020 PIAA champion Vinny Kilkeary, a junior, and Pitt commit Jack Pletcher, a senior.

Kilkeary (56-10, 26-3) was the 2021 WPIAL 113-pound champion. He finished second at the PIAA West Regional and third in the state tournament. He made an oral commitment to attend Ohio State.

“Vinny is a lot stronger,” Mears said. “I’m expecting a big season.”

Pletcher (77-34, 23-6) had a big summer and earned a scholarship. He’s been on the cusp of greatness, and Mears said he could have a breakthrough season.

Juniors Nathan Roth (52-13, 19-8) and Corey Boerio (51-23) are other Wildcats looking to have big seasons.

Roth’s 2020 season ended with an injury and his 2021 season ended with a controversial slam in the West Regional third-place match.

Boerio finished fourth in the WPIAL and just missed making the trip to Hershey.

Others returning include sophomore Jacob Braun (7-3), senior Lucio Angelicchio (22-22), senior Vincent Leone (8-17), senior Sam Snyder (23-19) and senior Tyler Lynch (31-27).

Mears feels freshmen Luke Willochell at 106 and Leo Joseph at 113 along with junior Wyatt Schmucker at 160 will strengthen the lineup.

“I believe we have eight guys that can win 30 matches,” Mears said. “I have enough wrestlers that we can bump wrestlers around. They key to winning is win seven of the 13 matches and get at least three pins.”

Latrobe opens the season at the Hickory Tournament, then things get a lot tougher. They will be competing at the King of the Mountain and Powerade tournaments in December, the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association tournament in early January and then go to Colorado for a dual against one of the top teams in the Denver area. They also will compete in a tournament there.

“It’s the most grueling schedule we’ve had at Latrobe,” Mears said. “We should be battle tested and hopefully we’ll stay healthy. That will be a key.”

Latrobe is in Section 2-B with Hempfield, Norwin, Greensburg Salem and McKeesport. Connellsville and Thomas Jefferson are the teams to beat in Section 2-A.

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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