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Whether luck or skill, Kiski Area's McCutcheon finding continued success

Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier - Kiski Area’s Matt McCutcheon is 152-12 in his career and is the Cavaliers’ all-time leader in wins and pins.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier</em></div>Kiski Area’s Matt McCutcheon is 152-12 in his career and is the Cavaliers’ all-time leader in wins and pins.
Submitted - Burrell wrestler Phil Marra
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Submitted</em></div>Burrell wrestler Phil Marra

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Phil Marra

Burrell, Senior

Claim to fame: Marra (27-6) won the 145-pound title at the WPIAL Class AA tournament Saturday at Chartiers Valley by defeating defending champion Tanner Sutton from Chartiers-Houston, 5-0.

“I was pretty happy with myself. I have higher goals, and it just proves that I'm taking the right steps in being one of the best in the state,” Marra said. “That's my goal. I want to be No. 1 in the state.”

What was your mindset going into the match?

Going into the match, I really was just thinking he was just another guy. He threw a lot of legs, and I was prepared for that. He is a scrambler, and I was prepared for that as well. Going into each match, I don't try to think who each of the wrestlers are and what their records are and who they have beaten. I knew every match is different.

What do you need to do to finish high at the regional tournament this week?

I just need to keep my head focused and do what I did in WPIALs. It gave me more confidence that I shouldn't worry about others and just wrestle one match at a time. If you just look at the finals you might not even make it there.

What has been the key to your success this year?

The reason for my success this year would have to be how hard I was pushed this year. With wrestlers like Dakota DesLauriers, it just pushes you to be better. When you practice against good a kid, that is the only way to help yourself improve or you will stay mediocre.

What are your college plans for next year?

I'm still debating on what I should do for college. A couple of schools are looking at me. I'm going to need a full scholarship. I want to major in engineering like industrial or electrical engineering because a couple of my uncles are in the field and they can help me out with it.

— Andrew John

Class AAA Rankings

106: 1. Luke Pletcher, Latrobe (33-2); 2. Gage Curry, North Hills (31-2); 3. Brendon Price, Canon-McMillan (34-6); 4. Kevin Miller, Norwin (23-8); 5. Mike Heinl, Shaler (25-6).

113: 1. A.C. Headlee, Waynesburg (35-3); 2. Dom Forys, North Allegheny (36-2); 3. James Harrison, West Mifflin (29-1); 4. Phil Mary, Peters Township (27-6); 5. Kyle Berk, Franklin Regional (28-13).

120: 1. Sam Krivus, Hempfield (32-3); 2. Dalton Macri, Canon-McMillan (37-5); 3. Vincenzo Joseph, C. Catholic (19-7); 4. Lukas Etzel, Elizabeth Forward (25-7); 5. Brenden Hasson, Belle Vernon (32-4).

126: 1. Connor Schram, Canon-McMillan (36-3); 2. Michael Kemerer, Franklin Regional (32-4); 3. Tyler Walker, North Hills (31-1); 4. Nate Russo, Belle Vernon (31-4); 5. Tyler Buckiso, Peters Twp. (31-3).

132: 1. Tyler Smith, Franklin Regional (38-3); 2. Ethan Kenney, Connellsville (26-6); 3. Drew Walker, North Hills (28-4); 4. Italo Merante, Peters Twp. (27-3); 5. Joel Pezze, Norwin (27-7).

138: 1. Josh Maruca, Franklin Regional (36-6); 2. Jesse Rodgers, NA (33-4); 3. Justin Alexander, Central Catholic (35-9); 4. Sean LaVella, Hempfield (26-5); 5. Jake Shaffer, Latrobe (29-8).

145: 1. Solomon Chishko, Canon-McMillan (3-0); 2. Josh Shields, Franklin Regional (37-4); 3. Cole Landowski, Kiski Area (31-3); 4. Chris Nuss, Central Catholic (27-10); 5. Kevin Synan, Hampton (32-6).

152: 1. Tyler Reinhart, Greensburg Salem (34-5); 2. Heath Coles, Norwin (29-4); 3. Devin Austin, Penn-Trafford (32-7); 4. Brendan Burnham, Pine-Richland (27-3); 5. Kyle Skelly, Kiski Area (24-6).

160: 1. Zack Zavatsky, Latrobe (34-1); 2. Zach Voytek, Gbg. Salem (37-2); 3. Jonathan Avon, N. Hills (26-1); 4. Sammy Minor, Canon-McMillan (29-5); 5. Devin Fallenstein, Ringgold (33-3).

170: 1. Cody Wiercioch, Canon-McMillan (33-1); Kellan Stout, Mt. Lebanon (30-3); 3. Noah Wilps, Chartiers Valley (27-7); 4. Tyler Worthing, Kiski Area (29-9); 5. Damon Drositis, Hopewell (29-2).

182: 1. Adam Nickelson, Belle Vernon (34-1); 2. Alex DiCiantis, North Allegheny (28-2); 3. Drew Phipps, Norwin (32-5); 4. Brent Blacharczyk, McGuffey (24-4); 5. Luke Fournier, Elizabeth Forward (26-5).

195: 1. Matt McCutcheon, Kiski Area (31-0); 2. Jake Hart, Hampton (36-1); 3. Alen Turcinhodzic, North Hills (28-5); 4. Zach Smith, North Allegheny (32-8); 5. Anthony Cable, Greensburg Salem (26-5).

220: 1. Alex Campbell, Canon-McMillan (33-6); 2. Zach DeLuca, Central Catholic (34-7); 3. Cole Macek, Montour (28-3); 4. Noah Shulman, Hampton (34-5); 5. James Keys, West Mifflin (27-7).

285: 1. Shane Kuhn, Kiski Area (34-0); 2. Luke Fleck, Franklin Regional (17-2); 3. Angelo Broglia, Canon-McMillan (26-6); 4. Dylan Miller, Connellsville (31-4); 5. Pat Kline, Pine-Richland (24-3).

Class AA Rankings

106: 1. Austin McDermitt, Burgettstown (33-4); 2. Austin Griffiths, Southmoreland (28-3); 3. Brendon Howard, Jefferson-Morgan (36-5).

113: 1. George Phillippi, Derry (35-3); 2. Seth Carr, S. Fayette (32-4); 3. Zach Swarrow, Beth-Center (20-6).

120: 1. Nathan Reckner, S.S. Beaver (29-2); 2. Josiah Hughes, Valley (29-9); 3. Mike Carr, South Fayette (25-9).

126: 1. Greg Bulsak, South Park (31-7); 2. Vince Vahaly, Bentworth (29-5); 3. John Demaske, Jefferson-Morgan (23-3).

132: 1. Jason Nolf, Kittanning (38-0); 2. Nick Zanetta, Keystone Oaks (29-3); 3. J.R. Andrejcik, Burrell (28-7).

138: 1. Nick Gavazzi, Charleroi (32-0); 2. Anthony Welsh, Beth-Center (35-11); 3. Steven Edwards, Burrell (35-6).

145: 1. Phil Marra, Burrell (26-6); 2. Tanner Sutton, Chartiers-Houston (38-6); 3. Matt Johnston, West Greene (37-4).

152: 1. Boe Bonzo, Freedom (23-3); 2. Taylor Jack, Kitt. (32-9); 3. Grant Fetchet, S. Fayette (33-8).

160: 1. Jared Walker, South Fayette (28-6); 2. Connor Payne, South Side Beaver (32-7); 3. Derek Hull, Char.-Houston (30-17).

170: 1. Dustin Conti, Jefferson-Morgan (34-0); 2. Mike Fetchet, South Fayette (36-2); 3. David Kincaid, Char.-Houston (25-11).

182: 1. Dakota DesLauriers, Burrell (29-0); 2. Terrell Fields, Valley (33-5); 3. Justin Overly, Mt. Pleasant (35-9).

195: 1. Garrett Vulcano, Chartiers-Houston (39-2); 2. Zac Walker, South Fayette (31-5); 3. Zac Croyle, Kittanning (25-10).

220: 1. Jake Temple, Avella (34-1); 2. Cody Jacobs, West Greene (31-5); 3. Tom Sever, Yough (30-9).

285: 1. Allan Beattie, Burrell (33-8); 2. Jake Beistel, Southmoreland (30-3); 3. Rob Wolak, South Park (22-7).

— Paul Schofield

Top high school sports
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Matt McCutcheon has socked every opponent he has faced this season.

He owes plenty to his work ethic, coaches and teammates for helping him become arguably the best wrestler to come out of Kiski Area. But being the former superstition-driven baseball player he is, McCutcheon is quick to give at least partial credit to, well, his socks.

“I have these Penn State socks and I have been wearing them since last year's Super 32 Tournament,” said McCutcheon, a senior 195-pounder who has signed with two-time defending national champion Penn State. “Last year, I didn't wash them. This year, I have washed them once. You have to be careful you don't wash the luck out of them.”

Luck had little to do with McCutcheon pinning his way to Kiski Area's first PIAA championship last winter.

But white-and-navy socks, pre-match routines — whatever — it's working again for McCutcheon, who began defense of his WPIAL and state titles last weekend with his second straight Section 1-AAA title.

He'll go for his second WPIAL title beginning Thursday at Norwin. Then he'll hope to move on to Hershey to defend his state title.

“My goal this year is to dominate,” said McCutcheon (31-0), who is Kiski Area's all-time leader in wins and pins and is ranked No. 1 in the country in his weight class by Intermat. “I had an overtime match in WPIALs and states last year. I still think I can score more points.”

McCutcheon, who was 41-1 last season, knows the path to a second state title often is tougher than the first, a mine field with no guarantees. He points to a pair of opponents who could stand in his way: Hampton's Jake Hart, who he could see this week, and Council Rock South's P.J. Steinmetz, who also has committed to Penn State. Steinmetz lost to Central Catholic's Perry Hills, a Plum native, in last year's state semifinals. Hills beat Hart in the finals.

McCutcheon, who is 152-12 in his career, hasn't met much resistance so far.

McCutcheon, who in April will compete for the USA Wrestling Magazine “Dream Team” in Chicago, and junior teammate Shane Kuhn, the Cavaliers' heavyweight who won his first section title last week, have the distinction of being the last remaining undefeated wrestlers in WPIAL Class AAA.

Neither wrestler is flaunting his unblemished success mainly because it hasn't been capped with WPIAL and/or PIAA gold medals.

“They have to take every match and wrestle it to the fullest,” Kiski Area coach Chuck Tursky said. “They're both great competitors. If they go undefeated, that's something they can look back on later. If they stop and start looking at that now, they're not competing like they should be.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at

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