Mt. Pleasant’s Jamison Poklembo, a defending WPIAL champ, driven by No. 2 seed

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Tuesday, February 15, 2022 | 9:01 PM


When the WPIAL wrestling committee released the seeding for the Class 2A individual tournament Tuesday, Mt. Pleasant sophomore Jamison Poklembo was disappointed that he was seeded No. 2 at 138 pounds.

The top seed went to Burgettstown sophomore Rudy Brown, who edged Poklembo, 4-3, in the WPIAL third-place match in the team tournament Feb. 5. The individual tournament begins Friday at Canon-McMillan.

“I expected be No. 1 since I’m a returning champion,” Poklembo said. “But I guess he deserves it. I felt I had a takedown. The official saw different. This motivates me even more. I’d like to be a four-time WPIAL champion.

Poklembo (27-8) has not shied away from tough competition, losing to some of the top competitors in Class 3A.

He is one of eight returning champions. The others are Burrell sophomore Cooper Hornack and junior Niko Ferra, Frazier’s Rune Lawrence, Bentworth sophomore Chris Vargo, Laurel junior Grant MacKay, Quaker Valley senior Patrick Cutchember and Poklembo’s teammate, senior Dayton Pitzer.

Pitzer is a two-time WPIAL and PIAA champion.

Poklembo said he feels he and his other teammates sometimes get overlooked because of Pitzer.

“It happens when you have a two-time, soon to be three-time state champion on your team,” Poklembo said. “If I can go out and do what he does, I’d be OK. He just goes out and embarrasses his opponent and he’s not brutal about it.

“I just need to hone some of my skills and keep improving. There is always room for improvement.”

Mt. Pleasant sophomore Joe Longhi, meanwhile, had a forgettable tournament in 2021. He’s looking forward to improving on what happened last year.

“Joe was pretty small,” Mt. Pleasant coach Zach Snyder said. “He’ll be better.”

Longhi (27-6) also is seeded No. 2. Burgettstown sophomore Parker Sentipal is No. 1.

“Parker is really strong and very skilled,” Longhi said. “He beat me the first time, and I hope I get another shot at him.”

Longhi said he doesn’t feel he’s overlooked because of Pitzer.

“Dayton has worked hard to get where he’s at,” Longhi said. “I just hope I get to win a title.”

Pitzer is one of two undefeated wrestlers in the field. Pitzer is 33-0 and Elizabeth Forward’s Damon Michaels is 7-0.

The other Mt. Pleasant wrestlers to receive top eight seeds were Sean Cain (seventh) at 120, Greg Shaulis (fourth) at 132 and Noah Gnibus (third) at 189.

Two returning champions – Vargo and Hornack – are seeded No. 1 and No. 2 at 120 pounds.

Hornack made his decision to stay at 120 instead of dropping to 113 after the PIAA team championship. Vargo wrestled at 126 most of the season and dropped.

Burgettstown sophomore Gaven Suica, who missed the team tournament with an injury, is the top seed at 126.

The top eight finishers advance to the PIAA Southwest Regional on March 4-5 at Peters Township.

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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