Offseason work pays off for Pine-Richland heavyweight Joey Schneck

Saturday, January 29, 2022 | 11:01 AM

Joey Schneck pinned his way to the 285-pound Allegheny County Wrestling Tournament title recently, but that title wasn’t just won in the two days he spent at Fox Chapel High School.

For Schneck, a junior at Pine-Richland, the journey to being a county champ started with a conscientious decision in the spring of 2021 to put everything he had into being a better wrestler.

He was coming off a covid-shortened year where he finished 8-7 and didn’t qualify out of sectionals.

That wasn’t satisfactory, so he started lifting and training with Pine-Richland coach Caleb Kolb. Those sessions continued into the summer, then the fall and right into wrestling season.

It’s paid off, because Schneck carried an 18-3 record into Wednesday’s team sectionals.

“I just realized what I wanted to do in wrestling,” Schneck said. “(Pine-Richland) coach Caleb Kolb gave me a lot of support and got me started on the right track. I just wanted to get better and that was how I was going to do it.

“I’m excited with the progress I’m showing, but I’m also excited to see what more I can do as I continue to work out and learn more about everything.”

Kolb credited Schneck with having a strong work ethic and said he stays several times a week after practice has concluded to get in some extra work.

At the Allegheny County tournament, Schneck pinned all five opponents he faced. He took down Quaker Valley’s Sebastian Juarez-Safran in the first round, Vincent Lenger of Brashear in the second round and finished Day 1 with a third period pin over Plum’s Olandis Freeman.

In the semifinals the next day he went deep into the match with North Hills’ Lucas Palermo, before finding an opportunity to earn a pin and had a similar result in the finals against Keystone Oaks’ Christian Flaherty.

“That was my first win at a major tournament in high school, so I was really excited,” Schneck said. “It was pretty awesome for that to happen.”

Schneck said he was a little surprised he won every match by fall, but relied on the work he put in to get the job done.

“You never know what is going to happen in a match, so I always prepare myself by going over what I want to do and mentally prepare to expect the unexpected,” Schneck said. “I tried to go out there and treat it like any other match. I expect to put in my full ability.”

Schneck is hopeful that Pine-Richland can make a run in the WPIAL Class 3A team tournament. Once individual season gets underway he will look to ride the confidence and momentum he’s built to continue what has been a breakout season.

“Honestly, I just want to get whatever I can get,” Schneck said.

“I’m going to keep working hard, and as long as I’m doing that I’ll be proud of myself no matter how far I go.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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