Tribune-Review Westmoreland Wrestler of the Year: Mt. Pleasant’s Pitzer wastes no time

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Saturday, March 27, 2021 | 11:54 AM


Mt. Pleasant junior Dayton Pitzer didn’t pin every opponent he faced. It just seemed that way.

Pitzer finished his junior season with a state-high 31 pins and his second PIAA Class AA wrestling title.

It was a great bounce-back year after a knee injury took away his sophomore season and a chance at becoming a four-time PIAA champion.

The only wrestler to defeat Pitzer was Malvern Prep’s Nicholas Feldman, the No. 1 ranked 220-pounder in the country. The Ohio State recruit beat Pitzer early in the season at Powerade and the Mid-Winter Classic.

Pitzer weighed in at the state tournament in Hershey on March 12 just over 190 pounds. In many matches in the 215-pound weight class, he was outweighed by 20 pounds.

It didn’t stop him. He was 42-2, and his career record improved to 85-3.

Many of Pitzer’s matches last less than two minutes. It was news if an opponent was able to wrestle the full six minutes with him.

Belle Vernon junior Cole Weightman, Montoursville senior Dylan Bennett and Feldman each wrestled Pitzer twice.

Pitzer defeated Bennett, 6-1, in the PIAA 215-pound final.

Because Pitzer was so dominant, he was named the Westmoreland Trib Wrestler of the Year for the second time in his career.

He beat out Hempfield junior Briar Priest and Franklin Regional junior Finn Solomon for the award.

Pitzer was 43-1 as a freshman, defeating Freedom’s Bryson Miller, 3-1, in the 182-pound state final.

“He’s the best wrestler I’ve ever coached,” Mt. Pleasant coach Zach Snyder said. “I’m his practice partner sometimes, and he beats you up. He’s so physically strong.”

Pitzer stands 6-foot-4 and his long arms are an asset when he locks in a cradle.

“I’m in such great shape. I know I can go six minutes or more if needed,” Pitzer said. “I work hard to improve on everything I do. I can win multiple ways.”

Pitzer said he learned a lot from wrestling Feldman.

“I felt I wrestled well against him,” Pitzer said. “He’s really good.”

So is Pitzer.

“He’s better than me,” Weightman said. “He’s so long. It’s tough to score on him.”

Bennett said Pitzer’s strength and length make him great.

Pitzer defeated Bennett twice by the score of 6-1. He also defeated him in the semifinals at Powerade.

“It felt really good to win another title,” Pitzer said. “I didn’t feel I wrestled well in the semifinals (in a 12-0 win) because I’m used to pinning guys. I’m hard on myself that way.

“This feels good. I felt I was the underdog my freshman year coming in and I won it. Coming back from injury and winning this year feels good.”

Pitzer said the injury was something he couldn’t control while he worked toward his original goal of becoming a four-time state champion.

“Being a three-time champion is definitely one of my goals,” Pitzer said. “I try not to look ahead because it will catch up to you.

“I wasn’t surprised that I was forced to go a complete six minutes. I trained for it at practice, All-American practice and I trained hard.”

He said in the final he felt dominant, even if the score didn’t show it.

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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