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Connellsville wrestling tradition a family affair

Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review - This season, there are four sets of brothers competing for the Connellsville wrestling team. The brothers are (from left) Matt Butler, Bryce Butler, Ethan Kenney, Tyler Kenney, Dale Provance, Tommy Provance, Shawn DeWitt and Colton DeWitt.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review</em></div>This season, there are four sets of brothers competing for the Connellsville wrestling team. The brothers are (from left) Matt Butler, Bryce Butler, Ethan Kenney, Tyler Kenney, Dale Provance, Tommy Provance, Shawn DeWitt and Colton DeWitt.
- Greensburg Salem wrestler Zach Voytek Submitted
Greensburg Salem wrestler Zach Voytek Submitted

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ZACH Voytek

Greensburg Salem, senior

Claim to fame: Voytek won his second Westmoreland County Coaches' Association title with a 6-3 win over Kiski School's Dom Scalise in the 160-pound weight class Saturday. Voytek also finished second at the Powerade Christmas Tournament at Canon-McMillan earlier this season.

“I thought the (county) tournament went well,” Voytek said. “I didn't try to do anything (special). I just wrestled smart and basic matches.”

What are your college plans for next year?

I committed to Seton Hill last Monday to wrestle. Coach Tucker is real energetic about the program and wrestling, and I love the enthusiasm. They want to put all their time and effort in the program, and I want to be a better collegiate wrestler. I will major in pre-med.

What has been your most memorable match?

Last year's match against Connellsville during the WPIAL team finals. I wanted to send my team to states.

Which tournament is your favorite to attend?

The Powerade Tournament this year. Last year, we went to the tournament for the first time, and I didn't do too well. This year was my second year, and I prepared well, and I finished better. I liked it a lot.

— Andrew John

Wrestling rankings

Class AAA

Rec. Pvs.

1. Canon-McMillan 7-0 1

2. Kiski Area 11-0 2

3. Connellsville 15-2 3

4. Greensburg Salem 7-1 4

5. Hampton 9-1 5

6. Franklin Regional 8-1 6

7. North Allegheny 7-2 7

8. Latrobe 4-1 8

9. Belle Vernon 7-2 10

10. Central Catholic 3-1 NR

Class AA

1. Chartiers-Houston 4-1 1

2. Burrell 6-3 2

3. South Fayette 4-0 4

4. Yough 12-1 3 5. Kittanning 3-2 5

Class AAA individuals

106: 1. Luke Pletcher, Latrobe (16-2); 2. Gage Curry, North Hills (19-1); 3. Brendon Price, Canon-McMillan (16-6); 4. Kevin Miller, Norwin (8-3); 5. Mike Heinl, Shaler (10-2).

113: 1. A.C. Headlee, Waynesburg (24-3); 2. Ricky Cavallo, Hempfield (15-5); 3. James Harrison, West Mifflin (17-2); 4. Mitch Hartman, Belle Vernon (13-4); 5. Kevin Kinyua, Mt. Lebo (11-4).

120: 1. Sam Krivus, Hempfield (17-3); 2. Dalton Macri, Canon-McMillan (21-4); 3. Dom Forys, North Allegheny (15-1); 4. Vincenzo Joseph, C. Catholic (10-5); 5. Blake Caudill, Butler (11-3).

126: 1. Connor Schram, Canon-McMillan (22-3); 2. Michael Kemerer, Franklin Regional (13-4); 3. Tyler Walker, North Hills (16-0); 4. Nate Russo, Belle Vernon (19-2); 5. Tyler Buckiso, Peters Twp. (13-2).

132: 1. Tyler Smith, Franklin Regional (18-3); 2. Drew Walker, North Hills (14-2); 3. Italo Merante, Peters Township (10-2); 4. Joel Pezze, Norwin (14-5); 5. Corey Wilding, Upper St. Clair (10-4).

138: 1. Josh Maruca, Franklin Regional (19-4); 2. Jesse Rodgers, NA (13-2); 3. Justin Alexander, C. Catholic (22-6); 4. Ethan Kenney, Connellsville (13-5); 5. Sean LaVella, Hempfield (12-3).

145: 1. Josh Shields, Franklin Reg.(19-4); 2. Cole Landowski, Kiski Area (21-2); 3. Kevin Synan, Hampton (12-4); 4. Chris Nuss, Central Catholic (16-9); 5. Derek Verkleeren, Belle Vernon (15-5).

152: 1. Heath Coles, Norwin (14-3); 2. Tyler Reinhart, Greensburg Salem (20-4); 3. Kyle Skelly, Kiski Area (15-3); 4. Kyle Coniker, Central Catholic (14-6); 5. Devin Austin, Penn-Trafford (21-6).

160: 1. Zack Zavatsky, Latrobe (18-1); 2. Zach Voytek, Gbg. Salem (24-1); 3. Austin Bell, Belle Vernon (20-4); 4. Jonathan Avon, North Hills (15-0); 5. Brendan Burnham, Pine-Rich. (13-1).

170: 1. Cody Wiercioch, Canon-McMillan (24-1); Kellan Stout, Mt. Lebanon (13-1); 3. Noah Wilps, Chartiers Valley (10-4); 4. Ryan Hannon, Butler (11-0); 5. Brandon Olszewski, Hampton (12-2).

182: 1. Adam Nickelson, Belle Vernon (18-1); 2. Alex DiCiantis, North Allegheny (11-1); 3. Drew Phipps, Norwin (18-4); 4. Tyler Worthing, Kiski Area (19-7); 5. Robert West, Trinity (19-1).

195: 1. Matt McCutcheon, Kiski Area (22-0); 2. Jake Hart, Hampton (18-1); 3. Zach Smith, NA (15-4); 4. Alen Turcinhodzic, North Hills (13-3); 5. Anthony Cable, Greensburg Salem (15-4).

220: 1. Alex Campbell, Canon-McMillan (23-4); 2. Zach DeLuca, Central Catholic (21-7); 3. Cole Macek, Montour (13-1); 4. Noah Shulman, Hampton (17-4); 5. Layne Skundrich, NA (5-1).

285: 1. Shane Kuhn, Kiski Area (23-0); 2. Damon Sims Jr., Hopewell (6-0); 3. Angelo Broglia, Canon-McMillan (22-6); 4. Tyler Lever, Fox Chapel (11-3); 5. Tyler Mears, Latrobe (15-7).

Class AA individuals

106: 1. Austin Griffiths, Southmoreland (12-2); 2. Brendon Howard, Jefferson-Morgan (17-1); 3. Austin McDermitt, Burgettstown (11-1).

113: 1. George Phillippi, Derry (20-3); 2. Cody Charles, Yough (16-3); 3. Zach Swarrow, Beth-Center (6-2).

120: 1. Nathan Reckner, South Side Beaver (16-1); 2. Seth Carr, South Fayette (14-1); 3. Rich McGinnis, Chartiers-Houston (14-6).

126: 1. Patrick DeWitt, Valley (15-3); 2. Vince Vahaly, Bentworth (7-2); 3. Greg Bulsak, South Park (13-4).

132: 1. Jason Nolf, Kittanning (19-0); 2. Nick Zanetta, Keystone Oaks (11-1); 3. Shane Gentry, South Side Beaver (16-1).

138: 1. Nick Gavazzi, Charleroi (15-0); 2. Steven Edwards, Burrell (15-5); 3. Nick Kusich, Avella (10-2).

145: 1. Tanner Sutton, C-H (18-5); 2. Phil Marra, Burrell (9-4); 3. Matt Johnston, West Greene (14-1).

152: 1. Boe Bonzo, Freedom (12-2); 2. Grant Fetchet, S. Fayette (12-1); 3. Corey Falleroni, Burrell (14-2).

160: 1. J.J. Walker, South Fayette (15-3); 2. Derek Hull, Chartiers-Houston (13-5); 3. Nico Brown, Beth-Center (10-4).

170: 1. Mike Fetchet, SF (17-0); 2. Dalton Rosta, Laurel (11-0); 3. Connor Payne, S.S. Beaver (15-5).

182: 1. Dakota DesLauriers, Burrell (12-0); 2. Dustin Conti, Jefferson-Morgan (17-0); 3. Terrell Fields, Valley (14-3).

195: 1. Garrett Vulcano, Chartiers-Houston (20-2); 2. Eli Holt, Mt. Pleasant (16-6); 3. Cody Jacobs, West Greene (16-3).

220: 1. Jake Temple, Avella (14-1); 2. Tom Sever, Yough (19-4); 3. Tyler Cousins, Freedom (13-5).

285: 1. Jake Beistel, Southmoreland (14-2); 2. Allan Beattie, Burrell (18-5); 3. Christian Williams, Yough (17-4).

— Paul Schofield

Top high school sports
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, 10:20 p.m.

Ever since the Connellsville wrestling program started more than 40 years ago, strong family ties have been a staple for the team.

From the earliest brother duo of Jake and Harry Hillen in the 1960s to the Benzios (Ed and Ben) in the 1970s, the Davises (Lenny, Lonnie, Eddie and Doug) in the 1980s, the Bigams (David, Jimmy and Matt) in the 1990s, the Schleihaufs (Rich and Andy) in the 2000s and many others through the years, brother combinations have played key roles in the success and tradition that surrounds the team.

“This sport takes a certain type of mentality and toughness,” Connellsville coach Tommy Dolde said. “It takes a certain type of dedication, and these families raise their kids with that type of dedication and toughness. All of them start very young. A younger brother will see his older brother wrestle, and he wants to do the same.”

This year, four brother combinations dot Connellsville's roster.

The Kenneys (Ethan and Tyler), the Provances (Dale and Tommy), the Butlers (Matt and Bryce) and the DeWitts (Shawn and Colton) all have played a part in helping the Falcons post an overall record of 16-2.

According to Dolde, having sets of brothers on the same team is definitely a positive.

“The advantage is that they push each other so much,” Dolde said. “They also pick each other up when they are down, and the other kids in the room feed off of that, and it runs right through the team. That's a real advantage.”

Of the brothers on this year's team, senior Ethan Kenney (138 pounds) is the most accomplished. He is a three-time state qualifier and has earned a pair of seventh-place finishes at the PIAA Championships. His younger brother, Tyler (106), certainly is aware of big brother's accolades, and it serves as motivation for the sophomore.

“It's good because I look up to him, and I want to do even better than him,” Tyler Kenney said. “He's always there to push me.”

Like the Kenneys, there is a two-year gap between senior Shawn DeWitt (170) and sophomore Colton DeWitt (132).

“Sometimes it's kind of stressful worrying about him,” Shawn DeWitt said in regards to having a younger brother on the team. “I want to make sure he is doing everything right.”

But even with a little stress, the DeWitts certainly enjoy competing together, as do the Butlers, sophomore Matt (195) and freshman Bryce (132).

“It's good, and I try to take after him,” Bryce Butler said. “I like watching him win matches.”

The Provances are only a year apart and on most nights are wrestling in back-to-back weights. Dale (160) is a sophomore while Tommy (152) is a freshman.

“We fight a lot, yeah, but we wrestle hard against each other,” Dale Provance said. “Being at the same weight, we're partners, and we train as hard as we can against each other.”

For Dale Provance, being on the same team with his brother is a dream realized.

“When we were growing up, we were short, fat kids, but we always wanted to be on the same high school wrestling team,” Dale Provance said. “Now, here we are.”

Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at

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