Latrobe tandem Sherback, Willochell tries to stay sharp
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 | 11:40 PM
Brady Sherback and Gabe Willochell haven't made any reservations for Hershey in early March.
But that's where the two Latrobe wrestlers hope end up on March 8-10.
Their road to Hershey will be a difficult one, and they know it.
Sherback, a senior, competes in the 106-pound weight class and has missed a trip east three consecutive years by a win.
Willochell, a free-wheeling sophomore, also was a win away in 2017.
This year, they hope things will change.
Sherback (13-4, 104-33) is ranked No. 2 behind Norwin sophomore Kurtis Phipps. Two of Sherback's losses were to Phipps by identical scores of 8-2.
“I can beat anyone, including Phipps,” Sherback said. “I know he beat me twice 8-2, but I know how to beat him now.
“The weight class is going to be tough, so I have to continue to work hard and learn new things.”
The 106-pound weight class is loaded with Westmoreland County talent. Franklin Regional freshman Carter Dibert is ranked No. 3, and Hempfield junior Kyle Burkholder, who is ranked No. 3 at 113, is expected to drop down. It was Burkholder who denied Sherback a spot at the state tournament.
“When I first dropped to 106, it took me awhile for my body to adjust,” Sherback said. “Now, I'm feeling good, and I'm getting stronger.”
Latrobe coach Mike Ciotti said he continues to work his wrestlers hard. He said this time of the season can be tough to stay sharp.
“We're always thinking about what's down the road,” Ciotti said. “We work on a lot of techniques and things trying to get them to peak later in the season.
“There are a number of good kids at 106; you saw that at counties. It's going to be good.”
Willochell (15-4) was involved in the most exciting match at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association finals earlier this month.
He dropped a thrilling 10-9 decision to Kiski Area junior Darren Miller.
He made an aggressive mistake in the first period that cost him five points.
Despite trailing 7-0, he rallied to tie the match before falling short.
“By far that was the most exciting match in the finals,” Ciotti said. “Gabe likes to score lots of points, and he has the tendency to give up points. It went down to the wire.
“He forced a move that you usually use at the end of the match. The score doesn't bother him because he knows he's in every match.”
Willochell is ranked No. 4 behind Canon-McMillan junior Logan Macri, Seneca Valley senior Louis Newell and Miller.
“I needed to stay in better position,” Willochell said. “I tried a lateral drop, and he caught me. I'd still try it because I felt it was there.
“There are a lot of good wrestlers at the weight class, but I'm confident I can compete with them. I just have to continue to work hard.”
Ciotti said he needs to wrestle a little more sound and he'll find success.
Latrobe (2-3, 2-2) will wrap up the Class AAA, Section 1B schedule Wednesday when it hosts Greensburg Salem at 7 p.m.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .