Penn-Trafford junior wrestling has banner year, sends 9 to state tournament

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Friday, March 6, 2020 | 5:15 PM


Gavin Ellwood ran to his coaches, Chris Hartman and Mike Enick, beaming with excitement at the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling Area III tournament.

He told them he completed his goal sheet, a list of three objectives he set for himself at the beginning of the season, the last of which was to place at a tournament.

“I’ll tell you what, he was in his first year of wrestling and to my knowledge the first time in a sport,” Mike Enick said. “He’s the biggest example of putting in hard work. He joined the team, was very coachable and did all the right things. He didn’t have a win (until late January) at the North Allegheny tournament, and he just kept coming back and got better every day.”

Ellwood, who placed third at 87 pounds, is one of nine Penn-Trafford junior high wrestlers to advance to states, the most Hartman can recall in more than a decade of coaching.

“I’m proud of them for what they do every day, and I couldn’t be prouder of what they did at Area III,” Hartman said. “They all earned it. A lot of kids won’t do what it takes to achieve this.”

Penn-Trafford’s individual champions were Hayden Coy at 102, Dominic Hartman at 140 and Joe Enick at heavyweight.

They have a combined 83-11 record this season, and Enick has a team-best record of 26-1.

“Those are our team leaders, and our younger guys look up to them,” Chris Hartman said. “The way they put in work is contagious for everyone else. They’re all friends, so that’s a big part of it. For as much work as they put in, they always have fun.”

The Warriors’ second-place finishers were Logan Ventura at 77, Brett Hampton at 110, Jimmy Oslosky at 124 and Adam Hall at 155. The third-place finishers were Ellwood and Paul Darragh at 124.

“What stands out to me is their resiliency,” Chris Hartman said. “We had three kids severely injured, and they all came back to make states less than a year later. Dominick had a separated shoulder and broken collarbone. Paul tore the Tommy John tendon. Jimmy broke his arm. Above all, we have a lot of tough, hard-nosed kids.”

Ellwood, Darragh and Ventura will compete at states for the first time.

“I hope what they all take away from this experience is that hard work pays off,” Mike Enick said. “If you do the right things, bust your butt and give a real effort, it will pay off for you.”

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