Kittanning hoping to get more than one wrestler to states
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Kittanning wrestling coach Brandon Newill accumulated plenty of fond memories during his time in Johnstown where he became a three-time NCAA Division II All-American and brought a national title to the local Pitt campus.
Newill continues to wait for the season when his wrestlers will mention Johnstown and joy in the same breath.
The third-year coach hopes more than just one Wildcat finishes in the top five at the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional tournament in Johnstown to advance to the PIAA individual championships this winter. In the past two seasons, excluding standout Jason Nolf, Kittanning wrestlers have hit a wall in the regional round; the combined record of Kittanning's six other regional qualifiers in the past two seasons was 3-12.
Nolf, a junior and two-time champion, is the favorite in the 132-pound weight class at the regional, which begins at 1 p.m. Friday and continues Saturday at the Cambria County War Memorial. Seniors Zac Croyle (195 pounds) and Taylor Jack (152) return after winless debuts last season.
“I feel that if they wrestle like they can, both have the ability to move on,” Newill said of Croyle and Jack. “It's my job to convince them it's just another match, it's just another mat, it's just another tournament.
“We basically want to get them to the level where they're wrestling to the best of their abilities without thinking about it.”
The spectacle of the regional tournament, held at a fairly sizable hockey arena, is not the sole reason for the Wildcats' struggles, Newill said. But he believes the magnitude of the event might contribute.
Past experience makes Croyle and Jack better prepared for the second go-round.
Jack is one week removed from placing second in the WPIAL tournament.
“I'm at the level where I should be going past regionals,” Jack said.
Working with Blairsville sophomore Andrew Doak at Young Guns Wrestling Club practices for the better part of the past year has given Jack a good idea of where he stands in the region. Doak, a returning finalist at 152, is the No. 1 seed in Jack's weight class.
“I know it'd be a close one,” Jack said of a possible match against Doak, which would occur in the semifinals.
Croyle, meanwhile, placed third in the WPIAL championship. An 8-2 loss to South Fayette's Zach Walker in the semifinals sparked his motivation for a rematch; they're situated on the same side of the regional bracket and would meet in the semifinals.
“I've practiced all week just in case I get to wrestle him again,” Croyle said. “I think I should be in the finals.”
Nolf made clear that he'd like some company at the PIAA tournament, which begins Thursday at the Giant Center in Hershey. The past two seasons, a teammate joined him strictly to serve as a practice partner.
“They better make it,” he said.
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.
- Class AAA Kiski Area wrestling team uses five pins to knock off Class AA power Burrell
- Hustle from young team could pay off for Elizabeth Forward wrestling
- Chartiers Valley wrestling focused on development
- 5 Franklin Regional wrestlers place at Ironman Tournament
- Thomas Jefferson wrestling squad looking strong in early going
- Fox Chapel wrestler Dietz pinning the competition
- High school roundup: Norwin wrestling edges rival Penn-Trafford
- North Allegheny 4-time PIAA wrestling champion Ty Moore dies
- Robb leads strong showing by Kittanning wrestlers at King of the Mountain
- With numbers up, Baldwin wrestling program looking to build for the future
- WM wrestling rebuilding after losses to graduation