Local Class AA wrestlers hope to take next step
TribLIVE Sports Videos
For 14 area Class AA wrestlers, the first leg of the individual portion of the season ended with positive results as each placed in the top five in Section 2 last week.
This week, eight wrestlers from Mt. Pleasant and six from Southmoreland will try to keep that positive momentum going as they compete in the WPIAL Class AA individual championships Friday and Saturday at Chartiers Valley.
“I think they are peaking right now,” Mt. Pleasant coach Mike Long said.
Long was pleased eight of his 10 entrants into the sectional competition advanced. He's hoping for similar results this week.
“I think that every one of our kids has the ability to succeed at WPIALs, regionals and possibly states,” he said. “But it will be about the desire and who wants to do it. The kids are going to have to step it up at WPIALs if they are going to make it to regionals.”
Three Mt. Pleasant wrestlers — freshman Mike Novak (33-9 at 120 pounds), sophomore Ethan Charlesworth (22-6, 152) and senior Justin Overly (31-8, 182) — each won a section championship at Charleroi last week.
For Charlesworth, his focus is strictly on getting better each week.
“I just have to keep working hard,” said Charlesworth, who advanced to regionals as a freshman at 138 pounds. “I want to make it to regionals. I've been through it and I know what to expect.”
Joining the Mt. Pleasant section champs at WPIALs are sophomore Austin Mears (27-15, 145), seniors Evan Haines (16-9, 160), Austin Piper (16-17, 170) and Eli Holt (senior, 24-11, 195) and freshman Josh Lind (17-13, 220).
Like Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland also has three section champions.
Sophomore Austin Griffiths (26-2, 106), senior Dakota Datz (11-4, 195) and freshman Jacob Beistel (28-2, 285) all trumped the field at sectionals. Griffiths and Beistel are the top seeds in their respective weight class at WPIALs. For Datz, he has shaken off the rust of missing much of the season with a shoulder injury.
“Everything is starting to come together,” Datz said. “I've been working really hard, and my goal is to make it to states.”
After winning sectionals last week, Datz expects another big effort from himself this week.
“I want to win,” he said. “You don't want to settle for a place. You want to be a champion.”
This will be the fourth appearance at WPIALs for Datz. He finished fourth at 182 pounds last year and sixth at 189 pounds as a freshman.
“It's my last chance to do this,” Datz said. “I want to bring a medal home from Hershey. I don't want to come up short.”
The other Southmoreland wrestlers who will compete at WPIALs are freshman Evan Myers (14-12, 120), sophomore Sean Suter (8-14, 152) and senior Shane Cavanaugh (7-12, 170).
“I'm very pleased,” said Southmoreland coach Ryan Shaw, noting wrestlers such as Myers, Suter and Cavanaugh were able to move through sectionals with less-than-stellar records. “They are starting to believe, and it's paying off right now. We just keep preaching that you don't win a state championship this week. The goal is to advance.”
First-round, quarterfinal and first-round consolation matches will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The semifinals and consolations will start at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The consolation finals start at 5 p.m. followed by the championship bouts at 7 p.m.
The top seven wrestlers in each weight class will advance to the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional tournament March 1-2 at Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown.
Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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.
- Rossi: Rutherford falling apart, too
- Greensburg plastic surgeon pleads not guilty to charges of interfering with painkiller investigation
- LaBar: WWE bans finishing move of top star
- Brentwood Borough School Board approves major cutbacks
- Kiski Area grad Paunovich shows net gains at Thiel
- Mon-Yough Tuesday takes
- Cal Area lowers boom on Jeff-Morgan
- Firefighters rescue 3 from Beechview house fire
- Healthy Ride, Pittsburgh’s bike share program, won’t require helmets
- Small relief on airfare prices ahead
- Scoring struggles linger for Penguins 2nd line