Penn-Trafford wrestling team makes progress, looks forward to next season

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Sunday, February 14, 2021 | 9:01 AM


It didn’t end the way Penn-Trafford wrestling coach A.J. Brentzel had hoped, a loss in the Section 1 championship match and a loss in the quarterfinals of the Class AAA WPIAL Team Tournament, but the second-year coach is proud of the progress the team has made in two seasons.

The Warriors were outgunned in quarterfinals against No. 5 Connellsville, falling 46-18. The Warriors were without two starters, Troy Hohman (concussion) and Boaz Chishko (arm).

Penn-Trafford (12-8) dropped the Section 1 championship match to Kiski Area, 39-36.

“I’m proud of what I saw from the team,” Brentzel said. “They left it all on the mat at Kiski. They showed heart, grit and never gave up. That’s a good sign for the future.”

The Warriors graduate three seniors — Ryan Auel, Chris Hartman and Lucas Paszek — but Brentzel is excited for the future.

“A lot of these guys are back, and we have some good wrestlers coming up from the junior high team,” Brentzel said. “This group made improvement the first year I had them, and then the pandemic slowed our progression this year.

“We’ll get them together during the offseason, and we’ll continue to improve. We’ll be OK. I’m really excited at what’s coming up in the future.”

Penn-Trafford won four bouts against Connellsville. Sophomore heavyweight Joe Enick and freshman Gavin Ellwood (113 pounds) were awarded forfeits.

The other wins came from junior Wesley Stull, who got a late takedown to defeat Ethan Ansell, 5-3, at 160 pounds, and sophomore Owen Ott, who rallied from a 6-2 deficit to defeat Hunter Claycomb, 10-6.

“The guys put forth a lot of effort this season,” Brentzel said. “They battled and kept fighting. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Next year, we’ll be tough to beat.”

The team moved to the individual portion of the season, which is a lot different than past seasons because of the pandemic.

A sub-section tournament was scheduled for Wednesday with the top two finishers advancing to the Section 1 finals on Saturday at Kiski. The top two finalists from the section tournament will advance to the WPIAL Class AAA Individual Championship on Feb. 27 at Canon-McMillan.

Brentzel is excited to see how the individuals fare the next few weeks.

He expects Hohman to challenge for a WPIAL title and place at states.

The junior (17-1) sustained his only loss of the season in the Westmoreland County Wrestling Tournament finals to Latrobe sophomore Vinny Kilkeary, 4-0.

The Warriors finished seventh in the county meet.

Hayden Coy (120) and Stull (160) took third, while Auel (126), Paszek (152) and Ryan Bacher (172) placed fourth. Draven Hanford (106), Ott (145) and Enick each placed fifth.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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