Westmoreland wrestling all-stars: Latrobe’s Vinny Kilkeary earns top honor
Saturday, March 25, 2023 | 5:57 PM
When Latrobe’s Vinny Kilkeary won the 106-pound PIAA Class 3A title as a freshman in 2020, he shocked the state.
He defeated Bethlehem Catholic’s Tyler Kasak, 14-10, in the semifinals with a great comeback, then pinned Erie Cathedral Prep’s Jacob Van Dee in overtime in the finals.
He won his first WPIAL title in 2021 but finished third in the PIAA, dropping a controversial 3-2 decision to Zach Jacaruso in the semifinals.
But the past two seasons, the Ohio State commit has been nearly unbeatable.
He finished his career with 61 consecutive victories, including 29 as a senior this season despite missing a month with an injury, and ended his career with three consecutive WPIAL titles and two more PIAA titles, allowing him to join an elite group of three-time champions in the PIAA and WPIAL.
For that reason, the 127-pounder was named the Westmoreland Tribune-Review and Trib HSSN Wrestler of the Year, edging out future Buckeye teammate Rocco Welsh of Waynesburg, Dylan Evans of Chartiers Valley, Grant MacKay of Laurel, Ty Watters of West Allegheny and fellow three-time PIAA champion Rune Lawrence of Frazier.
“I had an unbelievable career,” said Kilkeary, whose all-time record is 131-12. “Winning my freshman year was special because no one expected me to win.
“This year I got to join Luke Pletcher (Latrobe and Ohio State grad) as a three-time WPIAL and PIAA champion. That’s pretty neat.”
Kilkeary’s last loss came Dec. 30, 2021, at the Powerade Tournament to Gavin Caprella of Lima Central Catholic Ohio.
Kilkeary defeated Canon-McMillan junior Andrew Binni in the WPIAL and PIAA finals.
“I could always count on Vinny to come through,” Latrobe coach Mark Mears said. “He’s a hard worker and leader. This is a very deserving honor.”
Kilkeary represented the Pennsylvania squad in the annual Pittsburgh Classic on Saturday.
Franklin Regional, jr., 114 pounds
2022-23 record: 32-11 Career record: 75-26
The Panthers junior finished second in the WPIAL and seventh in the PIAA in Class 3A. He reached the state quarterfinals before falling to Bethlehem Catholic’s Nathan Desmond for the second consecutive season. He defeated Connor Smith of Seneca Valley in seventh-place match.
Latrobe, so., 114 pounds
2022-23 record: 38-4 Career record: 81-9
The Wildcats sophomore won his second consecutive WPIAL Class 3A title and finished fifth in the state. He was a Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association champion and had 24 pins, 52 in his career.
Latrobe, sr., 139 pounds
2022-23 record: 14-4 Career record: 85-19
Roth finally earned a spot in the PIAA championships by finishing second in the WPIAL. He placed seventh in the PIAA and was a section champion for the second time. Injuries have plagued his career.
Penn-Trafford, sr., 285 pounds
2022-23 record: 36-7 Career record: 83-18
Enick celebrated his senior season with a fourth-place finish at PIAAs. He was a WPIAL runner-up and a section champion. He finished with 58 career pins and will play football at Central Michigan.
Hempfield, sr., 133 pounds
2022-23 record: 35-8 Career record: 121-33
The Spartan senior finished second in the WPIAL and placed fourth in the PIAA after taking second as a junior. He will attend Bucknell and helped the Spartans qualify for the PIAA Class 3A team tournament.
Hempfield, jr. 139 pounds
2022-23 record: 42-8 Career record: 77-15
Carr won the 139-pound WPIAL Class 3A title by rallying to defeat Nate Roth of Latrobe, 6-5. He finished fourth in the PIAA by battling back after a hard-fought quarterfinal match. He was a Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association champion.
Hempfield, sr., 152 pounds
2021-22 record: 38-5 Career record: 128-34
The Spartans senior finished fifth in the PIAA Class 3A tournament for the second consecutive season, and he placed second in the WPIAL tournament. He reached the PIAA semifinals but dropped a 1-0 decision to Ryan Gavrick of Central Dauphin. He finished with 78 career pins.
Franklin Regional, sr., 160 pounds
2022-23 record: 37-9 Career record: 93-40
Beck is a four-time section placewinner and was a section champion this season. He placed third in the WPIAL and sixth in the PIAA. He also was a Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association champion. He had 20 pins.
Penn-Trafford, sr., 215 pounds
2022-23 record: 37-10 Career record: 90-53
Ott capped his high school career with an eighth-place finish in the PIAA tournament. He placed third in the WPIAL and was a section champion. He had 18 pins this season and 48 in his career.
Mt. Pleasant, fr., 215 pounds
2022-23 record: 35-12 Career record: 35-12
Pitzer finished his freshman season by qualifying for the PIAA Class 2A tournament. He finished second in the section, fourth in the WPIAL and fourth in the Southwest Regional. He had 17 pins.
Latrobe, sr., 215 pounds
2022-23 record: 39-9 Career record: 135-44
The Wildcats senior placed fourth in the WPIAL Class 3A tournament in one of the toughest weight classes. He finished sixth in the PIAA tournament in 2022 but did not place this season. He will attend Kent State.
Mt. Pleasant, jr., 133 pounds
2022-23 record: 39-8 Career record: 110-35
The junior had another solid season and qualified for PIAAs for the third consecutive season. He was a section champion and placed second in the WPIAL and Southwest Regional tournaments. He had 19 pins this season and 43 in his career.
Greensburg Salem, sr., 215 pounds
2022-23 record: 39-9 Career record: 90-53
McChesney was a section champion and a third-place finisher in the WPIAL. He placed fifth in the Southwest Regional and won a match at states. He had 20 pins his senior season and 38 in his career.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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