Latrobe wrestlers bring home emotional win for Mears family

Wednesday, January 4, 2023 | 10:38 PM

It’s been a tough week for the Latrobe wrestling team.

The Wildcats had to wrestle a huge WPIAL Section 4 (3A) first-place showdown against Hempfield without coach Mark Mears, who was home with wife, Mary, after she was released from the hospital after suffering a heart attack Saturday.

But freshman Brock Mears (189 pounds) stepped up for his parents and the Wildcats team when he recorded a pin against Hempfield senior Logan Wolfe to give the Wildcats the lead for good with two matches left.

Pins by seniors Corey Boerio (215) and Wyatt Held (285) sealed the win as the sixth-ranked Wildcats defeated No. 8 Hempfield, 45-28.

“It was different not seeing my mom in the stands or my dad in the corner,” Brock Mears said. “She’s been on my mind all week.

“I knew it would be a big match, and I bumped up from 172 and did what I had to do. I just followed the gameplan.”

After the match, Brock and his sister Hannah embraced.

“It was a big win for Brock for what he’s been through this week,” Boerio said. “It was a big win for the team.”

The match was a run of streaks. After Hempfield took a 6-0 lead when Nico Kapusta received a forfeit, the Wildcats won the next four, three on pins by Luke Willochell (114), Vinny Kilkeary (126) and Jacob Braun (133) and a technical fall by Leo Joseph (121), to grab a 23-6 lead.

The Spartans countered by winning four in a row.

Ethan Lebin started the run with a technical fall at 139, Eli Carr (145) followed with a pin, Charlie Mesich (152) had a technical fall and Lucas Kapusta (160) a pin to give the Spartans a 28-23 lead.

“Our veterans have to do a better job getting bonus points and not putting our inexperienced wrestlers in a tough position,” Hempfield coach Vince DeAugustine said. “Getting Vinny back was huge for them, and we needed to win a couple other matches.

“The match between Boerio and (Elijah) Binakonsky was big and a learning experience for both.”

Senior Wyatt Schmucker stopped the Hempfield run with a 12-4 win against Pierce Turner at 172. Mears followed with his clutch victory.

The Boerio/Binakonsky match was a classic for two of the top 215-pound wrestlers in the WPIAL.

Binakonsky used an escape and takedown in the second period to grab a 3-1 lead. Boerio got a reversal with 44 seconds left to tie the score 3-3.

In overtime, Boerio got the winning takedown and turned it into a pin to clinch the win.

“Corey didn’t wrestle his best,” Latrobe assistant Paul Snyder said. “But he did what he had to do to win.

“It was also a good win for Brock. People haven’t seen our best team yet. We still have Nate (Roth) out of our lineup.”

Boerio said he must continue to be aggressive. He said he’s looking forward to another possible rematch with Binakonsky at the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association tournament Friday and Saturday at Greensburg Salem.

DeAugustine said his team needed a mammoth effort if it was to beat the Wildcats. The Spartans’ strength is in the middle of the lineup, and they needed an upset or two.

Mark Mears has said he feels his team has a chance to challenge for the Section 3 and WPIAL Class 3A team title but only if it is healthy.

The Wildcats have been missing two key wrestlers from the lineup in two-time PIAA champion Kilkeary and Roth for much of the season. Kilkeary hadn’t wrestled since the Hickory Invitational on Dec. 3.

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

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