Mt. Pleasant 7 shows toughness at WCCA wrestling tournament

By: HSSN Staff
Tuesday, January 8, 2019 | 6:57 PM

Weeks before the 66 th annual Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association wrestling tournament was held, many opposing coaches knew Mt. Pleasant was going to be a factor.

With only seven wrestlers on the team, the Vikings weren’t going to be the team champions, but their individuals would play a key role on who did.

Kiski Area won for the fourth consecutive season, but Mt. Pleasant finished a respectable ninth.

And the individuals, especially the team’s four freshmen, performed well.

“Those freshmen are really tough,” Greensburg Salem coach Randy Parsley said. “They did well.”

The Vikings had six placewinners and two wrestlers — freshmen Luke Geibig (106 pounds) and Dayton Pitzer (182) — reached the finals and place second.

Pitzer (20-1) lost for the first time this season when the returning champion at 170, Belle Vernon senior Scott Joll, rallied in the second period and pinned Pitzer. So far this season, Pitzer has 17 pins.

Geibig lost to Franklin Regional sophomore Carter Dibert. His losses this season are to top ranked wrestlers — Dibert is ranked No. 2 in Class AAA, North Allegheny’s Dylan Coy is No. 3 in Class AAA and South Park’s Joey Fischer is No. 1 in Class AA.

Freshmen Noah Gnibus (113) and Noah Teeter (120) each placed fourth, junior Patrick Brewer (152) took fourth and junior Damian George (125) placed sixth. Junior Kyle Jones (160) was one win away from placing.

“We knew we’d struggle in dual matches with so many forfeits,” Mt. Pleasant coach Zach Sheridan said. “But we’re building for the future. In a couple seasons, we’re going to be tough to beat.”

That’s because Mt. Pleasant has some good wrestlers on the middle school team who are capable of doing as well as the current freshmen.

Mt. Pleasant has a chance of making the WPIAL playoffs. The Vikings are 2-1 with Class AA, Section 3B matches left against Elizabeth Forward at home on Wednesday and at Derry on Jan. 16.

But the Vikings hope to make even more noise in the individual tournaments in February and March.

Sheridan said he excited about what the wrestlers can do.

Pitzer, a lanky freshman, has won titles at the Penn Cambria and Southmoreland tournaments.

He is ranked No. 1 at 182 in Class AA by Trib HSSN.

“Dayton is the real deal,” Sheridan said. “He’s very aggressive and attacks. He was wrestling a state champion from Virginia, and Dayton gave him a good Pennsylvania welcome with a pin.

“The county tournament will be great experience for all the guys. Dayton goes after it, and he’s not afraid of anyone.”

In his match with Joll, the official stopped the bout because of an injury when Pitzer seemingly had Joll headed to his back.

Joll, after the break, was able to come back and catch Pitzer and pin him.

Geibig is 16-5 and ranked No. 2 at 106 pounds, Gnibus is 10-2 and ranked No. 3 at 113, Teeter is 15-3 and ranked No. 2 at 120, George is 14-4 at 126, Brewer is 10-7 and ranked third at 152, and Jones is 11-5 at 160.

Sheridan said the group of wrestlers is special because he knows they’re capable of big things.

“These guys have high expectations and so do I,” Sheridan said. “We expect a lot. They’re all capable of placing at states.”

Gnibus, whose dad, Colin, was a county champion in 1989, said he’d like to join his dad on the father/son champions list.

He said his goal is to make it to states and try to make it on the podium.

“We have a good workout room,” Gnibus said. “That will benefit me a lot.”

And while Mt. Pleasant is low in numbers, the future looks bright for the team the next few years.

For the individuals, their time is now.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at [email protected] or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.


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