Wrestling notebook: Hempfield’s Lucas Kapusta picks Lock Haven; Gabe Willochell transfers

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | 6:17 PM

When Hempfield senior Lucas Kapusta visited Lock Haven last summer, he made a connection with assistant coach Nate Carr.

But when Carr left to take a coaching job at Davidson, Kapusta took Lock Haven off his list.

“I loved the coaches and school, but when Nate left, it played with my mind,” Kapusta said. “But when I made my official visit to Lock Haven, I changed my mind again. It didn’t hurt that Ty (Linsenbigler) was my host.”

Linsenbigler, a freshman, was a teammate of Kapusta’s at Hempfield.

Kapusta announced last week that he will wrestle and continue his academic career at Lock Haven, an NCAA Division I wrestling program.

He will be coached by Scott Moore and new assistant coach Ron Perry.

Kapusta is a two-time PIAA Class 3A fifth-place finisher. He was a WPIAL runner-up in 2023.

His record his senior season was 38-5 and he finished 128-34 for his career. He competed for the WPIAL all-stars at the annual Pittsburgh Classic.

“I really like the place,” Kapusta said. “I’ll probably redshirt so I can get stronger. I have a lot to learn about wrestling in college, but I feel my best wrestling is ahead of me.”

Kapusta said he’s unsure what major he’ll pursue.

He figured he’ll wrestle in the 149- to 157-pound weight classes

“I think I peaked my junior season when I placed fifth at states,” Kapusta said. “I saw improvement my senior season, but I know I can be better.”

Kapusta said he’s talked to his dad (Brian) about what to expect in college.

Brian Kapusta was a three-time NCAA Division II national champion from North Dakota State (1993-1995) and was selected the 1995 NCAA Division II Most Outstanding Wrestler. He placed third in 1992 as a freshman.

“I’ve talked to him,” Kapusta said. “Wrestling has changed, so he told me I need to get stronger. The strength is a big factor.

“My defense has to be better and stalling gets called more. There is a lot of stuff I have to transition to, but I’m excited.”

Willochell heading west

Latrobe alumnus Gabe Willochell, who graduated in 2020, has decided to transfer from Edinboro to Wyoming.

He announced the transfer last week.

“I never thought I’d leave Edinboro,” Willochell said. “But I’m looking forward to a new opportunity.”

Willochell (134-28) was a two-time WPIAL Class 3A runner-up and a three-time PIAA placewinner. He placed third in 2020.

The redshirt freshman was 22-10 and an NCAA qualifier at 141 pounds in 2021.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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