Latrobe wrestling leads WCCA after first day

Friday, January 3, 2020 | 11:22 PM

Latrobe sophomore Micah Piper told his coach, Mike Ciotti, he was going to beat the 182-pound No. 2 seed before the start of the 67th Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association wrestling tournament Friday.

Then he went out and did it.

Piper, who can’t break into Latrobe’s starting lineup, took advantage of the new rule across the state to allow teams to enter multiple wrestlers in a weight class.

Corey Boerio, who was seeded fourth, also reached the semifinals to help the Wildcats lead the tournament with 100 points. Kiski Area is second with 99 points, followed by Hempfield with 98.

The Wildcats and Cavaliers each advanced eight wrestlers to the 11 a.m. semifinals Saturday at Kiski Area. The Spartans advanced seven to the semifinals.

Latrobe is leading the tournament without senior Gabe Willochell, who is missing the tournament with a strained shoulder.

“I’m not surprised we did so well,” Ciotti said. “We’ve been having a good season, and it’s good to see our hard work in the room pay off. Micah beat the No. 1 seed in the West Virginia tournament. He loves to throw people.”

The Wildcats got big wins from numerous wrestlers other than Piper, who pinned No. 2 seed Anthony Govern of Southmoreland and outscored No. 7 Eric Catone of Derry, 13-8.

Sophomore Jack Pletcher, who has been inconsistent at times, defeated Greensburg Salem’s Ian Ewing, the No. 3 seed at 152.

“The win should be a confidence builder for Jack,” Ciotti said. “Those two could meet a couple more times in the next week.”

Greensburg Salem and Latrobe square off in a dual meet Wednesday.

The other Wildcats to advance were freshmen Vincent Kilkeary (106) and Nathan Roth (120), as well as Logan Zitterbart (170), Ricky Armstrong (145) and Tyler Ross (220).

The Latrobe freshmen are handling the big stage of the county tournament well. Both were successful at Junior Olympic states.

Roth won a state title when he was in sixth grade.

“I’m pleased with my performance so far this season,” Roth said. “I was really nervous to compete in my first county tournament.”

Kilkeary and Roth each won the Hickey and Berkley Springs, W. Va. tournaments. Kilkeary placed eighth at Powerade, and Roth lost in the consolation semifinals.

“I’m just going out and having fun,” Kilkeary said. “We both train hard and looked forward to these situations.”

Burrell’s Colby Christie, like Piper, can’t get into his team’s starting lineup, but he’s in the 160-pound semifinals after defeating two seeded wrestlers.

Advancing for Hempfield were Briar Priest (106), Ethan Berginc (113), Nolan Daerr (132), Ty Linsenbigler (145), Justin Cramer (195), Dillon Ferretti (220) and heavyweight Isaiah Vance.

All of the returning champions advanced to the semifinals. They are Franklin Regional’s Carter Dibert (113), Burrell’s Ian Oswalt (132), Kiski Area’s Jack Blumer (160), Nick Delp (172) and Brayden Roscosky (195), Norwin’s Kurtis Phipps (126) and Hempfield’s Linsenbigler and Vance.

Burrell was tied with Norwin for fourth place with 76 points. Franklin Regional followed with 75, and Greensburg Salem had 68.

Latrobe, Kiski Area and Greensburg Salem have won 12 team titles each.

Some of the key semifinal matches include: Kilkeary and Penn-Trafford’s Troy Hohman at 106; Berginc and Mt. Pleasant’s Luke Geibig at 113; Franklin Regional’s Finn Solomon and Derry’s Ty Cymmerman at 126; Kiski Area’s Enzo Morlacci and Franklin Regional’s Mason Spears at 145; Burrell’s A.J. Corrado and Kiski Area’s Sammy Starr at 152; and Cramer and Belle Vernon’s Cole Weightman at 195.

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

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