Penn Hills notebook: Senior wrestler showing potential

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Saturday, July 22, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Jeremy Packer couldn’t be happier to have five wrestlers with him at summer workouts. During his tenure at Penn Hills, the Indians coach has hoped to see the program continue to grow.

Senior wrestler Julian Lavender has shown some of the spirit Packer has hoped to see.

Lavender, who picked up the sport as a sophomore, has made big strides over the past two seasons. Packer said that Lavender has started to pick up feelers from Division III wrestling schools and is attending some prospect camps this summer.

After going 3-3 as a sophomore, with all three wins coming by forfeit, Lavender improved to 12-18 as a junior. Lavender picked up six pins.

“He told me recently, ‘Coach, this is hard,’” Packer said. “I laughed and told him that it is supposed to be hard.”

What has helped Lavender, Packer said, is his experience on the football field. There have been a lot of traits that have carried over to wrestling.

“He’s quick on his feet and rides tough,” Packer said. “He’s explosive with his takedowns.”

Volleyball coach sought

The Penn Hills girls volleyball program is still searching for a replacement for longtime coach Jay Mitlo, who stepped down after leading Penn Hills to the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs last season. Penn Hills finished 5-7 in section play last season. The Indians had been led by Mitlo since he took over the program in 1997.

Penn Hills lost to Knoch in the playoffs last season. Penn Hills athletic director Steph Strauss said via email that the Indians have received interest in the position. Penn Hills is offering a salary of $3,924.44 for the position.

Practice for the volleyball team starts Aug. 14.

Zambito lands with St. Andrews

Josh Zambito’s baseball odyssey continues. Zambito, a Penn Hills graduate who originally went to Maine, played the last two seasons at Motlow (Tenn.). Originally, Zambito was planning to play at Mississippi Valley State. However, following a coaching change, he decided to go in another direction.

Zambito was able to land with St. Andrews (N.C.). The Knights compete in the NAIA’s Appalachian Athletic Conference.

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