Pine-Richland wrestling primed to peak for postseason

Sunday, February 20, 2022 | 11:01 AM

It’s already been a strong year for Pine-Richland wrestling, going 12-3 with a trip to the WPIAL team tournament, and with individual season approaching, a group of Rams have positioned themselves to make more noise.

Pine-Richland has four wrestlers who won 30 or more matches this season, and that doesn’t include Kelin Laffey, the top-ranked wrestler at 152 pounds.

They’ll look to continue racking up wins starting at Section 3-3A tournament at North Allegheny on Saturday, Feb. 26.

“Now is the time to peak,” Pine-Richland coach Caleb Kolb said. “That’s what we’re training for. I know these guys are excited to get into the postseason and reach their goals.”

Anthony Ferraro (126), Dominic Ferraro (120), Jake Lukez (160) and Joey Schneck (285) finished with 30-plus victories. Laffey likely would’ve joined that club had he not missed time due to injury.

Laffey, a senior, did not participate in the team playoffs, but Kolb said he’s back healthy and ready for individual season.

He’s 21-1 with a third-place finish at Powerade on his resume, as well as a win over Chartiers Valley’s Dylan Evans in the championship match at the Allegheny County Tournament. A potential matchup looms with West Allegheny’s Nico Taddy, who’s second in the Trib HSSN rankings, at sectionals.

“Kelin has matured a lot over the past year,” Kolb said. “He put in a lot of work during the offseason. He’s been lifting. He’s been wrestling more than just our regular practices. It’s good to see it all pay off.”

Anthony Ferraro, a junior, is 30-3 and ranked third at 126. He has wins over ranked opponents Zander Phaturos of Waynesburg and Ethan Lebin of Hempfield. He’ll likely match up against Dylan Coy of North Allegheny at sectionals. Coy won a 4-0 decision in the championship match at the Allegheny County Tournament.

Anthony’s younger brother Dominic has had a strong freshman season, posting a 30-6 record. Oddly enough, it’s the exact same record Anthony had his freshman year, but Dominic will look to break that tie with win 31 at sectionals.

The duo is very close on and off the mat.

“They are their own workout partners,” Kolb said. “They lift together. They ride together. They train together. It’s nice to have two hammers that can be each other’s workout partner.”

Schneck, a junior, was a county champion this year and has a 32-5 record, a remarkable turnaround after going 8-7 last year. He has a team-best 21 pins. He has continued to train hard. For example, Kolb said he showed up at 6 a.m. Monday to get in a workout in the wrestling room before school.

Lukez is another wrestler who has shown improvement. He’s 30-9 after finishing 11-7 last year as a sophomore. He’s accrued 18 pins this season.

“He’s come a long way,” Kolb said. “We’ve focused on chain wrestling where you’re putting multiple attacks together, being able to attack both sides of the body and getting out quickly when you’re on bottom. He’s another guy that is peaking at the right time.”

Some other Rams wrestlers to keep an eye on are senior Shane Simpson (113), junior Dante Cruz (215) and freshman twin brothers Rowan (138) and Quinn Foster (132).

Simpson is 22-7 and has won 14 of his last 15 bouts. Cruz is 14-9 and has a six-match winning streak.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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