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Four TJ wrestlers advance to WPIALs

| Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

Four Thomas Jefferson wrestlers advanced to the championship round last week at the Section 2-AAA tournament held at Connellsville High School.

Each of the four — junior Kellen Lynch (120), sophomores Alex Weber (138) and Max Shaw (160) and senior Luke Petruzzi (182) — finished as a section runner-up.

Weber improved to 25-6 on the season, while Shaw upgraded to 21-4. Petruzzi raised his record to 19-9; Lynch went to 6-2.

Thomas Jefferson coach Michael Ladick discussed each wrestler's performance:

• “Kellen Lynch was a pleasant surprise back into the lineup after his concussion from in December. Kellen has worked incredibly hard the past three weeks, and it paid off with a second finals appearance in two years.”

• “Alex Weber is what the future of our program looks like with his hard work and conditioning. Alex gave up a takedown early in the match, but wrestled tough all the way through and will learn from the experience.”

• “Max Shaw has grown all year with us and is an incredibly intelligent wrestler. Max is in there every day working hard and getting better while learning from one of the best around, coach Jordan Moss.”

• “Luke Petruzzi personifies our ‘Dance with who brought you' mentality. Luke was focused and determined to make the section finals, and his innovative wrestling and conditioning are what helped put him there.”

TJ seniors Tyler German (145) and Dustin Lanning (220) also advanced to the third-place consolations, and both ended up in fourth place.

“Tyler wrestled his best tournament of the year for us,” Ladick said. “Tyler is starting to peak, and hopefully it will carry into this week.

“Dustin wrestled in a tough and physical weight class, and still came through as we've known him to the past two years. Dustin never quits and is ready to focus in for the WPIAL tournament.”

Lanning jumped to 24-7 overall; German went to 11-10.

Also for TJ, juniors James Mulenga (106) and Noah Lynch (126) placed sixth in their respective weight classes at the sectional tournament..

“(Assistant) coach (Bob) Ladick Sr. always says good luck is when preparation meets opportunity,” said Ladick, the Jaguars' veteran coach. “That was on display for our wrestlers last weekend, who looked fresh and prepared for the long day.”

The top five finishers in each weight class from each section qualify for the WPIAL championships to be held this weekend at Canon-McMillan.

Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.

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