Norwin's Coles to wrestle for Pitt Johnstown
Heath Coles knows wrestling in college will require year-round training.
But he feels more than ready for that, having gotten a head start on it while in high school.
“After my sophomore year, when I didn't make it to states, I said I had to keep wrestling all year 'round,” Coles said. “So I trained all spring (and) all summer to get prepared for the regular season and the postseason. So it's become an all-year-'round sport for me.”
The extra training paid off for Coles in high school, as the Norwin wrestler won WPIAL titles in his junior and senior seasons and took fourth in the state both years.
Now Coles will move on to the next level as he recently signed a letter of intent to wrestle next season at Pitt Johnstown.
“(Pitt Johnstown) just really stood out,” Coles said.
“I connected with the campus, (and) the coaching staff really connected with me, too. Their facilities, the campus (and) how everything's set up really felt like home to me.”
Pitt Johnstown competes in NCAA Division II and finished in 14th place at the NCAA Division II National Tournament this spring.
Coles said the team likely will be looking for a new wrestler at 157 pounds next season, and that's the weight he projects to wrestle at in college.
More than a dozen former WPIAL wrestlers were on the Mountain Cats' roster last season.
Next year's Pitt Johnstown roster will include the wrestlers Coles beat to win his two WPIAL championships: Canon-McMillan's Dario Dobbin, who Coles beat, 3-1, in the 2012 final, and Greensburg Salem's Tyler Reinhart, whom Coles beat this past season.
Besides being teammates, Coles and Reinhart also will room together next season.
“We've been on club dual teams before, so it's not going to be that sort of weird (being teammates),” Coles said. “But being in the same room for the next probably seven months, just dealing with each other, is going to be interesting.”
Coles said the past four years at Norwin were “some of the best” of his life, with the past two seasons especially standing out.
“My junior year, a lot of people counted me out (after) not even making it to states (the previous year),” he said. “To beat a kid I beat to win my first (WPIAL championship) was incredible. This year was just icing on the cake to get that second one.
“To do something that a Norwin wrestler hasn't done in about 30 years, to win two WPIAL titles, was a really incredible feat.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.