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Latrobe's Pletcher returns to Powerade Tournament where winning run began

Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review - Latrobe's Luke Pletcher wrestles Penn-Trafford's Dom Zona during a match in Unity Township on December 18, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review</em></div>Latrobe's Luke Pletcher wrestles Penn-Trafford's Dom Zona during a match in Unity Township on December 18, 2013.
Submitted - Mt. Pleasant's Austin Mears
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Submitted</em></div>Mt. Pleasant's Austin Mears

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Austin Mears

Mt. Pleasant, Junior

Claim to fame: Mears, who is 11-1 this season, finished third in the 145-pound weight class at the Sheetz Holiday Wrestling Classic at Penn Cambria after a 9-4 decision over Berlin Brothersvalley's Braden Fochtman on Dec. 13. Mears, who finished fourth at WPIALs last season, has four pins, four decisions and one major.

“I have been putting in the work this summer and hoping it pays off,” Mears said.

What did you work on over the offseason?

I worked on getting my weight down and keeping muscle. I was working on getting my conditioning better so I can be strong in the third period. I worked a lot on my feet and foot skills.

What's your favorite tourney?

I would probably say the Bedford Tournament. There's a lot of different faces and teams, and they are mountain boys. At the Southmoreland and Penn Cambria tournaments, they are the same teams (we see).

When do you feel the most comfortable on the mat?

I have to maintain neutral and get my shot early. I have to get my early takedown. I can't get the kid in my head.

What's your routine like?

I get my iPod on and get myself far away from people. I think about the loss at WPIALs and how far away I was from states. I just try to get into my zone.

— Andrew John

Wrestling rankings

Class AAA

Rec. Pvs.

1. Franklin Regional 5-1 1

2. Latrobe 4-0 2

3. North Allegheny 3-0 3

4. Canon-McMillan 7-0 4

5. Kiski Area 10-0 5

6. Connellsville 3-1 6

7. Belle Vernon 6-2 7

8. Peters Township 4-0 8

9. Hempfield 2-0 9

10. Greensburg Salem 2-1 10

Class AA

1. South Fayette 0-0 1

2. Burrell 2-1 2

3. Jefferson-Morgan 4-3 3

4. Bentworth 2-0 4

5. Burgettstown 1-0 5

Class AAA individuals

106: 1. Devin Brown, Franklin Regional (0-0); 2. Alex Lynch, Seneca Valley (7-1); 3. Matt Siszka, Kiski Area (12-0).

113: 1. Spencer Lee, Franklin Regional (12-0); 2. Gage Curry, North Hills (10-0); 3. Brendan Price, Canon-McMillan (12-2).

120: 1. Luke Pletcher, Latrobe (10-0); 2. Kevin Miller, Norwin (3-1); 3. Brenan Hasson, Belle Vernon (10-2).

126: 1. Dalton Macri, Canon-McMillan (14-1); 2. A. C. Headlee, Waynesburg (12-2); 3. Dom Forys, North Allegheny (12-2).

132: 1. Sam Krivus, Hempfield (7-0); 2. Tyler Smith, Franklin Regional (4-0); 3. Cameron Coy, Penn-Trafford (9-1).

138: 1. Michael Kemerer, Franklin Regional (8-1); 2. Joey Alessandro, Hempfield (6-1); 3. Italo Merante, Peters (7-1).

145: 1. Solomon Chishko, Canon-McMillan (10-3); 2. Vincenzo Joseph, Central Catholic (8-2); 3. Josh Maruca, Franklin Regional (6-3).

152: 1. Josh Shields, Franklin Regional (7-3); 2. Jake Shaffer, Latrobe (6-2); 3. Derek Verkleeren, Belle Vernon (11-0).

160: 1. Brendan Burnham, Pine-Richland (9-0); 2. Dom Scalise, Latrobe (8-1); 3. Devin Austin, Penn-Trafford (9-4).

170: 1. Noah Wilps, Chartiers Valley (6-0); 2. Devin Fallenstein, Ringgold (9-0); 3. Kyle Coniker, Central Catholic (6-2).

182: 1. Kellan Stout, Mt. Lebanon (7-1); 2. Ryan Hannon, Butler (6-0); 3. Hunter Fenk, Plum (10-0).

195: 1. Zack Zavatsky, Latrobe (8-0); 2. Drew Phipps, Norwin (2-0); 3. Zach Smith, North Allegheny (8-3).

220: 1. Cole Macek, Montour (6-0); 2. Chad Kuhn, Kiski Area (14-0); 3. Fred Mantsch, Hempfield (6-1).

285: 1. Shane Kuhn, Kiski Area (13-0); 2. Zach Deluca, Central Catholic (0-0); 3. Zaynel Zaynullayev, Mt. Lebanon (7-1).

Class AA individuals

106: 1. Dallas Bulsak, South Park (8-2); 2. Hunter Neely, Bentworth (5-1); 3. Cole Lambie, Southmoreland (4-2).

113: 1. Austin Griffiths, Southmoreland (7-0); 2. Brendan Howard, Jefferson-Morgan (9-1); 3. Zach Charles, Yough (5-2).

120: 1. George Phillippi, Derry (5-0); 2. Josh Kuslock, Chartiers-Houston (5-0); 3. Austin McDermitt, Burgettstown (4-1).

126: 1. Mike Novak, Mt. Pleasant (8-3); 2. Stone Kepple, Derry (5-0); 3. Ben Hritsko, Chartiers-Houston (3-2).

132: 1. Shane Gentry, South Side Beaver (5-0); 2. J.R. Andrejcik, Burrell (3-0); 3. John Demaske, Jefferson-Morgan (10-0).

138: 1. Jake Wentzel, South Park (10-0); 2. Jason Miller, Jefferson-Morgan (10-1); 3. Shane Ging, South Fayette (3-2).

145: 1. Jason Nolf, Kittanning (12-0); 2. Corey Falleroni, Burrell (3-0); 3. Austin Mears, Mt. Pleasant (11-1).

152: 1. Steven Edwards, Burrell (3-0); 2. Greg Bulsak, South Park (9-0); 3. Ethan Charlesworth, Mt. Pleasant (7-4).

160: 1. Ryan Zalar, Jefferson-Morgan (10-1); 2. Pete Provenzano, Chartiers-Houston (5-2); 3. Jarrett Dorazio, Derry (5-0).

170: 1. Nico Brown, Beth-Center (4-1); 2. Bill Bowlen, Jefferson-Morgan (11-2); 3. Derek Hull, Chartiers-Houston (5-1).

182: 1. Fred McKissick, Carlynton (4-0); 2. Dalton Wildman, West Greene (3-1); 3. Brendon Glover, West Shamokin (6-1).

195: 1. Brad Grinnen, Ellwood City (5-1); 2. Jacob Robb, Kittanning (13-3); 3. Dale Rybacki, Carlynton (7-1).

220: 1. Jake Temple, Avella (4-0); 2. Tom Sever, Yough (4-1); 3. Seth Hutchins, S. Allegheny (6-0).

285: 1. Allan Beattie, (8-1); 2. Jake Beistel, Southmoreland (8-1); 3. Trevin Bedillion, West Greene (3-1).

Pin Leaders

9: Ryan Hardaway, Kiski; Shane Kuhn, Kiski.

8: Jake Ardellitz, Kiski Area

7: Chad Kuhn, Kiski Area; Jason Nolf, Kittanning

Coaches can send pin leaders to

— Paul Schofield

Top high school sports
Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, 5:54 p.m.

It was about this time last year that Luke Pletcher's freshman season turned around.

The Latrobe wrestler had just finished fifth at the 2012 King of the Mountain tournament in Lock Haven, losing to Parkland's Ethan Lizak and Boiling Springs' Corbin Myers at 113 pounds.

Those losses served as motivation for Pletcher, who hasn't lost since. He dropped to the 106-pound weight class and proceeded to win the 2012 Powerade Tournament and eventually WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA titles. He finished the season with a 41-2 record.

Pletcher (10-0) heads into the 2013 Powerade Holiday Tournament on Friday at Canon-McMillan with a No. 2 ranking in the country at 120 pounds.

“I should have done better last year at the King of the Mountain,” Pletcher said. “When you wrestle against good opponents, anything can happen.

“What the King of the Mountain and Powerade showed me was that I'm wrestling with the big boys. This isn't junior high anymore. It helped me prepare better.”

Pletcher recently returned to the King of the Mountain tournament, where he won the 120-pound title. He defeated Lizak and Myers this year.

And the Powerade Tournament will provide him another test.

“My weight class might be the toughest in the tournament,” Pletcher said. “Lizak, Sean Russell from Georgia, Mickey (Phillippi of Derry) and (Ricky) Cavallo of Hempfield will be there.

“Russell is ranked third in the country and Mickey seventh. I'm looking forward to the competition.”

Pletcher knows repeating his freshman season won't be easy. But he said he's better prepared.

“There is always someone trying to train to beat you,” Pletcher said. “I always try to train hard. I try not to worry about who I'm wrestling.

“I don't freeze up. I try to leave everything on the mat. I didn't great nervous last year because I had confidence in myself. You try not to get too confident, however.”

This year's Powerade Tournament again features some of the top wrestlers in the country.

There are six returning Powerade champions — Pletcher, Lizak (113), Kittanning's Jason Nolf (132), Franklin Regional's Josh Shields (145), Latrobe's Zack Zavatsky (160), Kennard-Dale's Chance Marsteller (170) and Good Council's (Md.) Kyle Snyder (220)

Freshman Spencer Lee of Franklin Regional is the top ranked ninth grader in the country. He'll be at 113.

Returning PIAA champions include Franklin Regional junior Devin Brown (AA, 106, Saegertown) and Tyler Smith (AAA, 132), Phillippi (AA, 113), Lizak (AAA, 113), Hempfield's Sam Krivus (AAA, 120), Nolf (AA, 126), Marsteller (AAA, 160) and Solanco's Thomas Haines (AAA, 220).

Zavatsky said he's looking forward the tournament. He remembers going to the tournament to watch Latrobe wrestlers compete.

“I never dreamed I'd be a champion,” Zavatsky said. “Now, I believe I can do it again. It's a great tournament and the competition will be tough.”

Zavatsky said he doesn't worry like some wrestlers about who is in the tournament. He'll be competing at 182 pounds.

The Powerade Tournament isn't the only one this weekend.

Southmoreland and West Mifflin are also playing host to tournaments on Friday and Saturday.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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