Trib HSSN Wrestler of the Week: Gabe Willochell, Latrobe

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Tuesday, December 31, 2019 | 1:15 PM


No one had a better Powerade tournament than Latrobe’s Gabe Willochell and he was awarded for it by earning Outstanding Wrestler honors. He also won his weight class at 132 pounds with five pins and an ultimate tiebreaker decision.

As the No. 6 seed, Willochell earned two pins in his first two matches, which took less than two minutes combined. In his quarterfinal match, the Latrobe senior pinned No. 3 seed Drew Munch from Wyoming Seminary in 1 minute, 1 second, then pinned No. 2 seed Patrick Noonan from Stroudsburg in 1:37 to punch his ticket to the championship match.

In the championship, Willochell ran into two-time PIAA state champ Alejandro Herrera-Rondon from Seneca Valley, who had only allowed a total of three points in the tournament. Willochell had only allowed two.

They both put on an exciting match and it was scoreless until Willochell executed a reversal to score two points in an ultimate tiebreaker to win the match.

So far through his senior season, Willochell is 16-0 with 14 pins.

Honorable Mention

Chanz Shearer, Seneca Valley: In one of the toughest brackets (138) of the tournament, Shearer earned a fourth-place finish as an unseeded wrestler. The Seneca Valley junior pinned No. 3 seed Kenny Kiser from Saegertown in 3:48 before piling up pins in 37 seconds and 47 seconds in back-to-back matches to earn a spot in the semifinals.

Gerrit Nijenhuis, Canon McMillan: He defended his No. 1 seed exceptionally well throughout the tournament. Nijenhuis earned three pins, a decision and a major decision to earn his Powerade title. His three pins took a total of 3 minutes, 51 seconds. In his championship match, he earned a 10-0 major decision over Wyoming Seminary’s Cole Rees in the 182-pound bracket.

Donovan McMillon, Peters Township: Another 182-pounder who stood out this past weekend. McMillon was unseeded entering the tournament, but beat the No. 6 seed by a 15-0 technical fall, the No. 7 seed by a 6-2 decision, the No. 4 seed by a 6-0 decision and pinned Norwin’s Ryan Weinzen, the No. 2 seed, in 1:51 to earn a third-place finish.

Briar Priest, Hempfield: As an unseeded wrestler in the 106-pound weight class, Priest stood out. He earned a championship appearance and placed second. He also earned two pins and two decisions. He beat No. 2 seed Daniel Sheen from Wyoming Seminary by a 9-3 decision in the Round of 16 and also pinned Montoursville’s Branden Wentzel in 5:42 to earn a trip to the finals.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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