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Kittanning's Croyle gets wish to wrestle for Clarion

| Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 4:57 p.m.

Zac Croyle knew where he wanted to wrestle in college, and after an excellent senior year, he'll get his shot.

Croyle, who reached the PIAA tournament for the first time as a senior for Kittanning, is being welcomed this fall as part of a highly touted recruiting class for Clarion University.

A two-time section champ with a high school record of 94-51, Croyle is one of two dozen freshmen who make up the No. 9 recruiting class in the nation, according to Amateur Wrestling News.

“I've always wanted to wrestle for Clarion,” Croyle said. “It's a real nice school with great coaches and a great wrestling program.

“I was real excited that they called me.”

Croyle's 30-16 senior season was the payoff for years of work, Kittanning coach Brandon Newill said, and his performance and natural ability were enough to earn a shot at wrestling for a former WPIAL star, second-year Clarion coach Troy Letters.

“Zac is certainly one of the most athletically gifted kids we had, and it was nice to see him put it to use this year,” Newill said. “It's hard for other people to see sometimes because all they see are results and stats, but it was a real progression for Zac. Even in his junior year he made some really big strides, and he kept improving and stayed focused.”

While his technique improved steadily through his high school career, Croyle realized that he would need to improve his fitness to compete at the next level.

That became the area he worked most on as a senior, and he continues to focus on his conditioning as he prepares for college.

“I was never in really good shape until this year. I felt like I had everything, but I needed to be able to stay strong for all three periods,” Croyle said.

Croyle projects as a 197-pounder for Clarion, a weight class where the Golden Eagles have no returners and only one other incoming recruit. Even so, Croyle knows going from high school to Division I wrestling won't be easy, but he's ready to take on the challenge.

“I thought I had a good shot to wrestle in college after (PIAA Western) Regionals, but I know it's going to be a lot different in college,” Croyle said. “I just want to do the best I can when I get there.”

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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