Led by 3 champions, Latrobe wrestlers place 2nd at prestigious Powerade Tournament
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The main goal of the Latrobe wrestling team heading into the Powerade Christmas Wrestling Tournament was to do well enough to finish in the top five.
No problem. The Wildcats finished second in a tournament touted as the best in the state. Highlighted by individual champions Luke Pletcher (120 pounds), Dom Scalise (160) and Zack Zavatsky (182), Latrobe completed an epic two-day run Friday and Saturday.
“This will probably go down as one of the best weekends in the history of the school as far as total team effort, and placing second in such a great tournament,” Latrobe coach Tad Harbert said. “I don't think we've ever had two better days.”
It wasn't easy. Pletcher, who won the PIAA Class AAA 106-pound title last season, was competing in a weight class that included several nationally-ranked opponents.
“Luke's weight class was absolutely stacked,” Harbert said.
Pletcher won three consecutive one-point matches, including a 3-2 win over top-seeded Ethan Lizak of Parkland for the championship. Pletcher was seeded second despite his victory over Lizak in the previous weekend's King of the Mountain tournament.
The seeding didn't bother Pletcher. In fact, nothing really gets under his skin. Harbert marveled at the sophomore's knack of pulling out close matches.
“Experience is what really helps me,” Pletcher said. “I've been in a lot of big matches and big arenas and heard a lot of noise.”
Also competing at 120 was Derry's George Phillippi, another defending PIAA champion. He finished fifth after falling to Lizak, 3-2, in the quarterfinals. That match went to double overtime, but Phillippi lamented he should have ended it in the first OT. Instead, an illegal lock of the hands gave Lizak the tying point in the first overtime and another chance, which he capitalized on.
“I think I could have won, but it was a tough bracket and I learned a lot from it,” Phillippi said.
Zavatsky came close to being tripped up, but nobody was able to take him down. Failed takedown attempts in the quarterfinals and semifinals were all the close calls the Virginia Tech recruit got.
“I did what I had to to win,” Zavatsky said. “I felt confident I was going to win every match.”
Scalise, the fifth seed, made it look easy during a run to the title that included a pair of pins and a 13-2 decision.
Ethan McCoy came close to giving the Wildcats a fourth champion, but he fell to Spencer Lee of team champion Franklin Regional in the 113 final.
Derry's Stone Kepple placed eighth at 126.
Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.
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.