Mt. Pleasant’s Dayton Pitzer named Tribune-Review Westmoreland County Wrestler of Year for 3rd time

Saturday, March 26, 2022 | 6:59 PM

Mt. Pleasant senior Dayton Pitzer finished off quite a wrestling career by becoming a three-time WPIAL and PIAA Class 2A champion.

The Pitt commit did it in impressive fashion, pinning his way to the title with 12 consecutive falls.

He made into the second period during the run just once — in the WPIAL Class 2A semifinals when he pinned Freedom’s Landon Millward.

Pitzer’s pin of West Perry’s Brad Morrison in the state finals with his favorite move, a cradle, was his 100th career pin. He had 38 pins this season while going 45-0 and finished with an overall record of 130-3.

The only wrestler to go the distance in a match with Pitzer was Blair Academy (N.J.’s) Thomas Stewart, who fell 4-2 in overtime at the Powerade finals.

Because of his dominance, Pitzer has become the Westmoreland County Wrestler of the Year for the third time.

Pitzer is one of six WPIAL wrestlers included in Pitt’s most recent recruiting class. He’ll compete at heavyweight for the Panthers. The others are Hempfield’s Briar Priest, Pine-Richland’s Kelin Laffey, Connellsville’s Jared Keslar, Latrobe’s Jack Pletcher and Mt. Lebanon’s Mac Stout.

“Dayton’s the best wrestler I’ve ever coached,” Mt. Pleasant wrestling coach Zach Snyder said.

“I’m his practice partner sometimes, and he beats you up.”

Pitzer’s teammate Jamison Poklembo added: “You strive to be like Dayton. He goes out and impresses his opponent in a polite way. He’s such a great teammate.”

Pitzer uses his 6-foot-5 frame and long arms to engulf opponents and lock them in a cradle.

After each match during his state tournament run, Pitzer would run sprints in the hallways to stay in shape for the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic on Friday. when he represented Team Pennsylvania against Team United States. Pitzer dropped a 4-3 decision to Stewart in the rematch.

He ran 14 sprints after winning his state title.

An injury during his sophomore season prevented Pitzer from possibly winning four WPIAL and PIAA titles.

“I wanted to wrestle, but in the long run, it was probably the best thing for me to get healthy,” Pitzer said after winning his third PIAA title March 12. “I just used that as motivation to get better.”

Mt. Pleasant coaches set goals for Pitzer during his matches. There were times when they asked him to hit a certain move before pinning his opponent.

Converting an inside leg trip during a match in Hershey, for example, was celebrated by his coaches.

Pitzer prided himself in staying in good position and pushing the pace. He said forcing his opponent to react is how he attacks.

“It definitely feels good being a three-time champion,” Pitzer said. “It has to sink in.

“Someone asked me about pressure and I feel I put more pressure on myself with training that I do competing. I just want to be as good as I can be.”

And that was the best in the WPIAL.

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


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