New aggressive style leads to success on mat for Fox Chapel junior

Sunday, March 5, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Alexander Kaufmann started having fun with wrestling again when he decided to change things up. The 152-pound Fox Chapel junior spent this season trying to press the pace and make opponents match his tempo.

Kaufmann, who says he spends a lot of time reflecting on matches, was the lone Foxes wrestler to reach the section final before losing to Pine-Richland’s Mac Miller, 10-1.

“It is my mentality going into matches that has made the sport a lot more enjoyable for me,” Kaufmann said. “I think through practicing and talking with coaches and working through things, I’ve grown comfortable in my style.”

Kaufmann was one of eight Fox Chapel wrestlers to get through North Section qualifying to the WPIAL championships, including Landon Funk (107 pounds), Michael Worsen (114), Adam Haines (121), Milo Chiu (145), Joseph Geller (172), JTrevor Katz (189) and D’Angelo Hamilton (285).

Coach Michael Frank said Fox Chapel didn’t have any wrestlers he thought were surprise qualifiers.

“I thought we could get the people through that we got through,” Frank said. “There are some matches I wish we could have had another way. I think some people would be surprised at how Milo Chiu wrestled. But that’s not a surprise to us. We saw him make the adjustments all season in the wrestling room.”

With a strong showing at the Class 3A WPIAL championships, which were scheduled for March 3-4 with results too late for this edition, Kaufmann could exceed his win total from his sophomore season.

Heading into the WPIAL meet, Kaufmann was 24-6 and had finished 15 of his 24 matches with pins. As a sophomore, Kaufmann was 28-10 and mostly went the distance, seeing 17 of his matches end by decision.

“He is a grinder for us,” Frank said. “He always wants to come in and work hard for us. He wants to watch video, ask questions and get better in all positions. He leads by example.”

Kaufmann also qualified for WPIALs last season but crashed out after a 1-2 showing that ended with a loss to Kiski Area’s Ethan Connor, who had also beaten Kaufmann at the section championships.

“That’s a big thing I picked up this year is being more aggressive,” Kaufmann said. “I wrestled the better kids in practice or matches. When I lose, I reflect back on it. They were the ones pushing the pace and being aggressive. It clicked in me that’s what I needed to be doing: dictating the match and being the bull in that regards.”

Frank is excited to see what Kaufmann can do the rest of this season and how his newfound aggression can pay off as a senior.

Frank pointed to a 2-1 win over Kiski Area’s Logan Bechtold as a sign of progress.

“Alex is one of our leaders and he’s a tough kid,” Frank said. “He’s gotten healthy toward the end of the year and thought he could make a run at 152 in section.”


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