Latrobe looking to take next step in quest for WPIAL Class 3A wrestling title
Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | 8:13 PM
Latrobe wrestling coach Mark Mears had high hopes for his Wildcats in 2021.
He knew if things worked out right, the Wildcats would be in the running for a WPIAL Class 3A team title, challenging No. 1 Waynesburg for a championship.
And while the Wildcats (15-3) didn’t get a chance to face Waynesburg head to head, they did qualify for the PIAA tournament and performed well, reaching the semifinals before falling to Bethlehem Catholic and Williamsport.
Latrobe made enough noise that teams around the WPIAL took notice.
“We were close to achieving our goals,” Mears said. “Not finishing as high as they hoped left a bad taste in their mouths. They want to come back and become the first Latrobe wrestling team to win a WPIAL title.”
The Wildcats return senior two-time PIAA champion Vinny Kilkeary, sophomore PIAA runner-up Luke Willochell and senior PIAA placewinner Corey Boerio.
Kilkeary was the 120-pound state champion, Willochell wrestled at 106, and Boerio placed sixth at 215.
“We’re going to be a really good tournament team,” Mears said. “We’ll be a good dual meet team. I’m excited to see how things go.”
Others who Mears hopes have big seasons are sophomore Leo Joseph (113), the Braun twins – Jacob (126) and Lucas (138) — senior Nate Roth (138), senior Wyatt Schmucker (160) and senior heavyweight Wyatt Held.
“This team is very hungry,” Mears said. “They are the most focused group I’ve had. We have good leaders in the room. They want a ring.”
Latrobe is ranked No. 2 in the TribLive HSSN Class 3A preseason poll behind Waynesburg. Canon-McMillan is ranked No. 3, Connellsville No. 4 and Franklin Regional is No. 5. Mears warned not to overlook North Allegheny. He expects the Tigers to be good.
“My philosophy is simple,” Mears said. “If my hammers produce three to four pins, we’ll be tough to beat. This team is ready to make a run. We have a lot more experience. Many of them have grown up.”
Kilkeary (102-12) and Boerio (96-35) have already made their college choices. Kilkeary is signed with Ohio State and Boerio has signed with Kent State.
Mears said both have shown plenty of leadership in the room.
“Vinny is focused on winning his third PIAA title and helping this team to a title,” Mears said. “He’d like to see the team win. He’s willing to do whatever. Corey is the same way. They are the vocal leaders for this team.”
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .