Penn State Fayette wrestlers look to take next step
College Football Videos
In its first season of existence, the Penn State Fayette wrestling program was able to grind out four wins. This season, the goals are a bit higher as the program continues to try to build its numbers and its level of competitiveness.
“We have a lot of young kids, and they've been practicing hard,” said coach Jerry Simon, who is overseeing the development of the program after more than 30 years as a wrestling coach at Uniontown High School. “We started in October, and the guys have been doing well.”
One of Penn State Fayette's biggest obstacles is finding enough wrestlers to compete and practice on a consistent basis. This year, the roster is still in a state of flux, but the Roaring Lions will have seven wrestlers competing in the season-opening Washington & Jefferson Invitational on Saturday.
“Staying healthy is important because we have a limited roster,” Simon said. “But we have a nice solid foundation.”
Penn State Fayette's biggest strength might be in the middle of its lineup. Senior Dan Karpency (157 pounds), an Albert Gallatin graduate, is a returning PSUAC champion. He'll be joined by freshmen Nate Spinetti (285) and John Lukart (149). Both Spinetti (Uniontown) and Lukart (Elizabeth Forward) were WPIAL qualifiers last season with Spinetti won the Section 2-AAA individual championship at heavyweight.
“I really don't know what to expect this season,” Spinetti said. “I just want to hold my own and win as many matches as I can. We're competitive, and we keep each other going.”
Also joining the lineup are a number of other freshmen, including Alex Diaz (133, Old Bridge, N.J.), Wade Durbin (174 or 184, West Greene), Joe Phillips (174 or 184, Jefferson-Morgan), Nick Hewitt (197, Hempfield) and Chris Jones (285, Southmoreland). Juniors Mark Hall (165, Connellsville) and Will Riffle (285, Albert Gallatin) and sophomore Mhye Brown (141, Columbus, Ga.) also add to the roster.
As with many young programs, building toward success is often a challenge. But, Simon said positive steps are being taken, and the goal this season will be to continue to trend in a positive direction.
“I think we are progressing,” Simon said. “We're picking up some recruits and hopefully we'll pick up even more guys. Hopefully, we can try to finish in the upper half of the PSUAC. We want to try to be competitive with the established programs and just continue to get better. And last, but not least, we want to have fun.”
Notes: Simon will be assisted by Pat Tressler. ... The Roaring Lions will host two home PSUAC matches this season, Penn State New Kensington on Jan. 15 and Penn State Beaver on Jan. 18.
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3534.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Unsung backups provide boost for Steelers defensive line
- Penguins lose hard-fought game to Blue Jackets in overtime
- Former Pirates pitcher Happ agrees to $36 million, 3-year deal with Blue Jays
- Starkey: Flashback Friday for Pitt
- Pitt falls flat in finale loss to Miami
- Body found in Allegheny River in Harrison
- Unabashed church pastors put politics front and center
- Contractor eyes early finish to work on New Stanton interchange of Interstate 70
- Gilbert, son of ex-Pitt football standout, commits to Panthers
- Run game needed for balance vs. Seahawks
- Police: 3 killed, 9 wounded in attack at Colorado Planned Parenthood