Mt. Pleasant puts pieces in place to take a run at Burrell in WPIAL Class AA wrestling

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 | 6:06 PM

It’s been 13 years since a team other than Burrell as captured a WPIAL Class AA team title.

That was Mt. Pleasant in 2006. In fact, the Vikings also won in 2005 and 2003 under then-coach Mark Mears, currently the Director of Transportation and Athletics at Latrobe.

Winning a title is what new Mt. Pleasant coach Zach Snyder has in mind. He is focused on getting the Vikings back in championship contention.

“The goal is to take the team to Hershey,” Snyder said. “Will it happen this year? I’d like to see it. We have a nice group returning, and we got wrestlers to come out for the team.”

Mt. Pleasant finished with seven wrestlers on the roster last season. That included state and WPIAL champion Dayton Pitzer.

After the season, the Mt. Pleasant school board decided to open the position and replace Zach Sheridan with Snyder.

Snyder graduated from Connellsville and wrestled for the Falcons. He was also a junior high coach and assistant at Connellsville, and last year was an assistant for Tommy Dole Jr. at Hempfield.

“This is all new for me,” Snyder said. “This is my first head coaching job and getting familiar with wrestlers in Class AA. I’ll have some learning to do.”

Also back for the Vikings are PIAA qualifier Luke Geibig at 106 along with Noah Gnibus at 113, both sophomores.

Snyder is also counting on seniors Damian George at 126, Patrick Brewer at 152 and Kyle Jones at 160 to have good seasons. Also back from injury is junior 220-pounder Ian Fasano, who wrestled as a freshman but missed his sophomore season.

The Vikings lost PIAA qualifier Noah Teeter, who transferred back to Forest Hills.

Pitzer burst onto the scene and rolled to a state title and a 43-1 record. He finished with 28 pins.

Geibig was a WPIAL runner-up and finished 32-14. George was a win away from qualifying for the state tournament. His career record is 84-44.

“We have a lot of young talent on the squad,” Snyder said. “We have some veteran leaders in Damien, Patrick and Kyle.”

George said his goal is to reach states.

“I definitely think I have shot at making it,” George said. “I also feel the team can reach the playoffs this season as long as we continue to work hard.”

George said he was pleased that a lot of guys came out for the team.

“That was phase one of the transition,” Snyder said. “My first job when I was hired was building the roster. It’s everything I could ask for. The wrestlers have responded. It’s worked out well.

“We have 21 on the roster, and I want them to have fun. If that isn’t happening, I’ll change to make sure it’s fun.”

Snyder doesn’t know much about the section except that Burrell and Derry have been the top teams. He just hopes the Vikings can be in the mix.

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


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