Mt. Pleasant junior flexes muscles at WPIAL Class AA section wrestling tournament

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Friday, February 19, 2021 | 8:16 PM


Mt. Pleasant junior Noah Gnibus has had a successful high school career, but he’s yet to make it to Hershey.

Gnibus hopes that changes this season.

He looked sharp Friday, winning his second section title, and now he moves to the WPIAL Class AA championship Saturday at Canon-McMillan.

Gnibus (25-8, 75-30) recorded a first-period pin against Riverview’s Gio Savko and then posted a 15-0 technical fall win against Burrell’s Colby Christie.

Now he moves into the championship matches, where he probably will be seeded second or third behind Frazier freshman Rune Lawrence.

Gnibus has made a big jump to 172 pounds this season after wrestling at 113 as a freshman and 138 last year.

“I’m growing into my body,” Gnibus said. “I feel good. I can eat, and I’m not cutting much weight.

“I felt I wrestled well (Friday). I want to score a lot of points.”

Gnibus bumped up because he lifted more weights during the summer and got stronger.

It also helps him that he gets to work out with teammate Dayton Pitzer.

“I’ve stayed strong and healthy,” Gnibus said. “Working out with Dayton has made me better.”

Gnibus was one of six wrestlers from Mt. Pleasant to advance. Also winning titles were Pitzer (215) and heavyweight Ian Fasano. Placing second were Joe Longhi (106), Greg Shaulis (126) and Jamison Poklembo (132).

Three wrestlers — Derry senior Ty Cymmerman and Burrell seniors Ian Oswalt and AJ Corrado — won their fourth titles.

Cymmerman (27-3) won the 145-pound title with a 21-second pin against Knoch’s Gavin McGowan and a 17-1 technical fall win against Burrell’s Aaron Edwards.

That puts Cymmerman in position to become a four-time WPIAL champion. However, he must find a way to defeat Blackhawk senior Kenny Duschek, who defeated Cymmerman at the Powerade Tournament last month.

“I’m looking forward to Saturday,” Cymmerman said. “If I wrestled like I did on Friday, I’ll have a good chance at winning.”

Burrell, the WPIAL Class AA team champion, advanced nine to the championships including six first-place finishers. They were Oswalt (138), Corrado (160), Cooper Hornack (106), Niko Ferra (120), Shawn Szymanski (126) and Cole Clark (189).

Junior Nick Salerno, who would have been favored to win the 132-pound weight class, pulled out of the tournament with an injury. Placing second for the Bucs were Edwards (145), Damian Barr (152) and Christie (172).

“We advanced what we thought we would,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said. “I was really pleased with Cole winning 189. This should boost his confidence.

“It’s pretty special to have two four-time section champions in Ian and A.J. It was a good day.”

Valley advanced two wrestlers and had one champion – Dion Lyons (132), who defeated Jamison Poklembo, 2-1, in the finals. Charles Perkins (120) finished second.

Yough, Derry, Southmoreland and Ligonier Valley each advanced one wrestler. Moving on for Ligonier Valley was junior Ryan Harbert (138), who finished second.

Yough senior Shane Momyer (113) and Southmoreland junior Bryson Robinson (160) placed second.

Elizabeth Forward freshman Damon Michaels (23-0) won the 113-pound title.

Section 1

Burgettstown and Beth-Center crowned four champs apiece at the Section 1 tournament, with Beth-Center winning all three of the head-to-head matchups between the Class AA powers.

Kyle McCollum topped Rudy Brown at 132, Tyler Debnar pinned Eric Kovach at 138, and Tyler Berish tech falled Anthony Lancos at 145. Trevor Pettit (160) also placed first for Beth-Center.

Parker Sentipal (106), Gaven Suica (120), DJ Slovick (152) and Shane Kemper (189) took titles for Burgettstown.

Section 2

Laurel and Montour each advance five wrestlers to the championships, while Quaker Valley and Carlynton four each.

Carlynton had three champions – Bryce Rodriguez (120), Oleg Melnyk (160) and Collin Milko (215).

Quaker Valley also had three champions – Jack Kazalas (106), Logan Richey (113) and Patrick Cutchumber (189).

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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