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Robb relatives a major reason for Kittanning's wrestling success

Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times - Kittanning freshman Jacob Robb (right) wrestles West Shamokin sophomore Brenden Glover during a 170-pound bout at Kittanning High School on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times</em></div>Kittanning freshman Jacob Robb (right) wrestles West Shamokin sophomore Brenden Glover during a 170-pound bout at Kittanning High School on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.
Ruediger | Leader Times - Kittanning's Jacob Robb (top) controls West Shamokin's Brenden Glover in a recent 170 pound match at Kittanning High School. Louis B.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Ruediger | Leader Times</em></div>Kittanning's Jacob Robb (top) controls West Shamokin's Brenden Glover in a recent 170 pound match at Kittanning High School. Louis B.
- Plum wrestler Zach Martin submitted
Plum wrestler Zach Martin submitted

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Zach Martin

Plum, Sophomore

Claim to fame: Martin (17-7), who also plays football and baseball, finished fourth at the Allegheny County Wrestling Championship after losing a 3-2 decision to Hampton's Zach Kocak in the third-place bout at 152 pounds Saturday. In the consolation semifinals, Martin, who is a full-time starter for the first time, was able to defeat Fox Chapel's Tyler Heasley, 3-1 in overtime.

“I'm pretty satisfied with how I finished,” Martin said. “I was seeded sixth and was going to face some tough wrestlers. I knew I had a hard week ahead of me, and I finished pretty well.”

How much has it helped you as a wrestler that you are now a full-time starter?

I think it has. I mean last year I was behind John Marotto. The new coach has been helping me out. I have changed as a wrestler and have been really working hard.

What are your goals for the rest of the season?

I want to finish off with a pretty good record. I don't want any more losses. I want to go to WPIALs and to states. I hope to finish first in the remaining tournaments. I want to become a better wrestler for the remainder of the season and keep it going the next two years.

When do you think you are at the top of your game?

I escape pretty quickly when I'm on bottom. In neutral, I try to do rush-ins and under hooks.

— 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, 10:22 p.m.

Perhaps boys with the surname Robb elsewhere in this country prefer to play basketball or swim or skate on a rink during the winter months.

In Kittanning, Robbs wrestle. And they do it well.

Two are among the grapplers with the most wins for the Wildcats this season, and a third likely would be there if not for a shoulder and chest injury that might keep him out for the entire season. Senior Nate's misfortune saddens the trio and the rest of the team, but there's solace in the fact that freshman Jacob and sophomore Logan, a cousin to brothers Jacob and Nate, have prospered.

“I think they've almost exceeded my expectations,” coach Brandon Newill said of the two younger Robbs. “But it's hard for me to say something like that, because we haven't had sections yet, and we haven't had WPIALs yet. I'm always looking forward to what's the goal. … I can say that they've definitely done a good job up to this point.”

Nate set the standard for his younger relatives as a freshman, when, as a 103-pounder, he won 31 matches and placed fifth in the WPIAL Class AA tournament to qualify for the PIAA Southwest regional round.

Because of injuries, Nate's potentially even brighter future never came to fruition. As a sophomore, he tore ligaments in his right shoulder midway through the season. As a junior, he went 29-8 before a season-ending knee injury in the semifinals of the WPIAL's 120-pound weight class.

Ligament damage in his right shoulder and upper chest have prevented Nate, slated to be a 126-pounder, from wrestling even one match this season; doctors identified the injuries just before the start of the schedule. The senior continues to hold on to hope for a late-season recovery — doctors deemed it possible — so he partakes in the team's cardio exercises.

“It's been my life for the past 11 years, and I couldn't see myself doing anything else,” Nate said. “I don't know where I'd be without wrestling. It's really shaped my outlook and who I am as an individual.”

Jacob, a lanky 170-pounder, appears to have taken the torch from Nate. However, his true tests await in February, when the individual postseason begins.

“I want to make it to regionals and try to place in the top eight,” said Jacob, who, prior to Tuesday night's match at Pine-Richland, had a record of 12-7, the third-most wins on the team.

Jacob's wrestling style, once more reliant on scrambling, has become more comparable to Nate's, which involved leg manipulation that allowed him to thrive when on top.

“I think if I just had good hips (at the junior high level), I'd be able to scramble out of positions and get on top and turn people,” Jacob said. “It's a huge step up (to varsity). … I think everybody is stronger, and they're more technical.”

Physicality is the forte for Logan, a 220-pounder with a 10-8 record in his first year as a varsity wrestler.

As a sixth grader, Logan briefly chose not to wrestle and tried basketball instead. But he quickly learned how deep his roots sank into wrestling's soil.

“I just tried it, and I fouled out pretty much every game,” Logan said. “I regret that a lot.

“I really wasn't that good as a wrestler until about eighth grade. I don't know what happened, but stuff started kicking in.”

Logan called it stuff. Others might go with genes.

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter at @BWest_Trib.

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