Mt. Pleasant, Kiski Area looking for redemption at team wrestling championships

Tuesday, February 1, 2022 | 7:31 PM

Mt. Pleasant wrestling coach Zach Snyder’s message to his team after losses to Beth-Center and Burrell was simple: We need a better effort.

The Vikings get that chance Wednesday as the WPIAL team championships gets underway for Class 3A and 2A.

Mt. Pleasant, seeded fifth, will face Jefferson-Morgan at Beth-Center in the opening round of the Class 2A tournament. a victory would put the Vikings against Beth-Center, the fourth seed.

“My goal all along has been winning a WPIAL title,” Snyder said. “I’m ready to go, and I expect the team is, too. We had one of our best practices of the season on Monday.”

But Snyder said his team must worry about Jefferson-Morgan before getting a second chance at Beth-Center.

The Bulldogs defeated the Vikings, 43-24, on Jan. 13. The Vikings were missing three starters, and two will be back in the lineup Wednesday.

“We gave up too many pins in the first meeting,” Snyder said. “It was a wakeup call for us. We need wrestlers to step up. I wasn’t too happy.”

The Vikings are coming off a loss to No. 1 Burrell. Two wins by the Vikings would advance them to the semifinals on Saturday and, possibly, another shot at Burrell.

“The heavyweight match probably cost us the section title,” Snyder said. “But I’m not worried about winning a section title.”

Another team looking for redemption is Kiski Area in Class 3A. The Cavaliers dropped a 54-15 decision to the third- seeded Connellsville at the Falcons’ duals tournament Jan. 15.

But before the Cavaliers, who are seeded sixth, can worry about the Falcons, it will battle a good Pine-Richland team. Connellsville will face Peters Township.

In the first meeting, Connellsville won 10 of 13 bouts.

Connellsville is coming off a 38-19 loss to No. 2 Latrobe. Kiski Area captured the Section 1 title with impressive wins against Penn-Trafford and Franklin Regional.

Latrobe coach Mark Mears said he has been looking forward to the team tournament all season. Mears coached Mt. Pleasant to three WPIAL titles (2003, ‘05, and ‘06).

“We’re ready to go,” Mears said. “We’re as healthy as anyone in the field. But I know you can’t look too far down the road because you may encounter potholes. Right now the focus is on Penn-Trafford.”

The Wildcats will meet the Warriors at 6 p.m., and if they win, they will face the winner of the Butler-Armstrong match.

Waynesburg is seeded No. 1 and is seeking its third consecutive WPIAL title. The Raiders face Thomas Jefferson. Franklin Regional and Norwin battle in the other match.

Burrell is seeded No. 1 in Class 2A and is chasing its 16thconsecutive title. Bucs coach John Shields said he knows it won’t be easy.

“There are a lot of good teams in Class 2A,” Shields said. “You take it year-by-year. You look back at what we’ve accomplished, it’s a heck of a streak.

“On paper, this team might not be our most talented team that we’ve had, but this team has a lot of fight. I like our chances moving forward. There’s going to be a lot of tough battles, but we keep showing up and fighting.”

Shields said the coaches don’t mention the WPIAL titles or section titles because the wrestlers know.

“They don’t want to be the team that breaks the streak,” Shields said. “Each and every year it takes a new group of seniors. Guys like Cole Clark and Shawn Szymanski have really led this year.”

The semifinals and finals are slated for noon Saturday, Class 2A at Chartiers-Houston and Class 3A at Peters Township.

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

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