Latrobe searching for wrestling coach after Ciotti resigns

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 | 7:14 PM

Mike Ciotti knew early in the season this was going to be his last as Latrobe’s wrestling coach.

Ciotti was newly married and lived in Fox Chapel. The trip to Latrobe during the winter was draining.

“I was basically away from my wife for six months,” Ciotti said. “I didn’t tell anyone except my assistant (Chad Schmeling) that this was it. I wanted to announce it after the wrestling banquet.”

Ciotti resigned after a memorable season.

He coached Vinny Kilkeary to a state title, watched Gabe Willochell defeat two-time state champion Alejandro Herrera-Rondon in the Powerade tournament final and again for third place at states and helped the Latrobe program regain respectability.

The only disappointment was an alleged hazing incident on the junior high team that gave the program a black eye and ended the junior high season in late January.

“Other than that, it was an awesome season,” Ciotti said. “What a tournament Vinny had. The dark horse came out of nowhere. We were worried that he wouldn’t make it to states, and when he defeated (Hempfield’s) Briar Priest, it gave him all the confidence he needed to win the state title.”

Latrobe (8-3) finished second to Hempfield in Section 1-B and placed third in the section tournament. The Wildcats defeated Connellsville in the WPIAL Class AAA tournament, then lost in the quarterfinals to Waynesburg, the eventual WPIAL champion.

They also won two tournaments in December and one in January. The Wildcats have a good nucleus returning in Kilkeary, Nate Roth, Corey Boerio and Jack Pletcher and a strong group coming up from the junior high program.

Roth is expected to have shoulder surgery, which kept him from placing at states.

“We gave Waynesburg a good battle,” Ciotti said. “The program should be strong for a while.”

Latrobe athletic director Mark Mears said no decision has been made on a replacement.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .


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