Penn-Trafford looks to build off 4th-place finish at WCCA tournament

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Sunday, January 15, 2023 | 11:01 AM


The sign of a good wrestling team is improvement throughout the season.

First-year coach Travis McKillop is seeing that from his Penn-Trafford wrestlers.

“We’re starting to get healthy, and some of our younger guys are improving,” McKillop said. “Things are progressing.”

Penn-Trafford finished fourth with 173 points at the 70th annual Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association tournament Jan. 7 at Greensburg Salem behind Latrobe (219), Franklin Regional (197) and Hempfield (195.5).

The Warriors had five finalists, second only to Latrobe’s six, and one champion in sophomore Tasso Whipple at 172 pounds. He defeated Burrell sophomore Isaac Lacinski, 8-7, in an exciting final.

Whipple improved his record to 18-8.

The other finalists were freshman Dylan Barrett (107), junior Hayden Coy (127), senior Owen Ott (215) and senior heavyweight Joe Enick, who lost a controversial 3-2 overtime decision to Latrobe senior Wyatt Held.

The team had nine medal winners. The others were Dylan Clayton (fourth at 145), Jake Lang (fifth at 107), Logan Matrisch (sixth at 133) and Adam Hall (fifth at 189).

Matrisch was the talk during Day 1 of the tournament. He entered the tournament unseeded with a 6-6 record and had dropped four consecutive matches.

But that didn’t matter during the opening day of the county tournament after he took out No. 4 seed Kashton Bish of Southmoreland, 7-3, and No. 5 Duncan Blose of Mt. Pleasant, 8-0, to advance to the 133-pound semifinals against No. 1 Ethan Lebin of Hempfield.

Even though things didn’t go as well during Day 2, Matrisch gained experience and confidence from the tournament.

Matrisch (9-9) would have loved to follow in his uncle Joe and his grandfather Rick as county champions. That still can happen as the freshman has three more seasons to achieve that accomplishment.

“That’s the goal,” Matrisch said. “I want to join them. My record isn’t that great because I’m coming off a concussion.

“But I believed I could win. I have a great practice partner in Hayden Coy who pushes me to be better every day at practice.”

McKillop said Matrisch is a hard worker and he wasn’t surprised he reached the semifinals.

“He wants to be good,” McKillop said. “He has a bright future.”

In the consolations, Matrisch dropped a 2-1 decision to Franklin Regional’s Justin Bass.

During the dual match against Franklin Regional on Jan. 11, Matrisch defeated Bass, 3-1, in overtime.

Penn-Trafford (4-8, 2-1 Section 3-3A) dropped the match to the Panthers, 41-28.

Ott (215) won by major decision, Enick received a forfeit at heavyweight and Lang (107) got a pin. The wins trimmed to deficit to 30-16.

Penn-Trafford strung together three more wins to close the score to 35-28 as Logan Ventura (121) posted a decision, Coy (127) a pin and Matrisch (133) a 3-1 win in overtime.

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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