Hempfield state wrestling champ Ethan Berginc commits to Army

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Thursday, July 9, 2020 | 10:41 PM


A PIAA wrestling championship scene-stealer has committed to an NCAA Division I program.

Hempfield 113-pounder Ethan Berginc, the Class AAA state champion this past season, announced Thursday he will continue his mat career at Army.

Berginc, an incoming senior who attends Jeannette but benefits from a co-op with Hempfield, defeated Cedar Cliff junior Aiden Lewis, 3-2, in the PIAA finals in March at Hershey’s Giant Center.

A WPIAL semifinalist, he opened the tournament by stunning No. 2 seed Ben Monn of Cumberland Valley, 3-2.

“I was talking to my dad and I told him I didn’t want to come out of school thousands of dollars in debt,” Berginc said candidly. “(Army) has a great program; wrestling is only going to get me so far. I wanted the best education possible.”

North Carolina State, Virginia, Navy, Bucknell, Brown, George Mason and Clarion also expressed interest in Berginc, who finished 34-6 as a junior.

“Also seeing schools cut their program made me realize that the Army is forever; anything can happen to Division I programs,” Berginc said.

A commitment to a military academy also comes with the military way of life, something Berginc is ready to pursue.

“I think I will be ready, but I live a clean lifestyle and I’m very disciplined,” he said. “So I’m excited to see what’s ahead.”

Berginc said he is grateful for being able to wrestle in the state tournament, which, unlike the PIAA basketball and swimming championships, was spared before the pandemic grew legs.

The victory allowed him to find his way onto college radars.

“Definitely,” he said. “I really dedicated myself to wrestling in the middle of my sophomore year and winning a title really helped my stock go up.”

Berginc is the 12th state champion from Hempfield and sixth from Jeannette — the first in Class AAA at the latter school.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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