Latrobe grapplers headed to state team tournament
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Dom Scalise was a freshman when the Latrobe wrestling team qualified for the PIAA Team Tournament.
Now the senior hopes to help his Wildcats teammates bring home some hardware.
Latrobe qualified for its second trip to the state Class AAA tournament, which begins Thursday at the Giant Center in Hershey.
The Wildcats (12-2), who finished second in the WPIAL tournament to Section 1 rival Franklin Regional, will face District 4 champion Jersey Shore at 6 p.m.
Latrobe went 2-2 in 2011 and Scalise said it was a great experience. The Wildcats opened with a win against Eric McDowell and lost to Easton to drop into the consolation rounds.
They then defeated Norristown before falling to Nazareth.
The Wildcats earned their second trip to Hershey by advancing to the WPIAL finals, defeating Connellsville (47-18), Peters Township (45-18) and four-time WPIAL and two-time PIAA champion Canon-McMillan (42-20) along the way.
They lost to No. 1 seeded Franklin Regional (42-19) in the finals.
Despite the loss, Latrobe coach Tad Harbert felt his team wrestled better the second time around against Franklin Regional, which defeated Latrobe, 46-28, in the Section 1 finals.
“The first time we wrestled, it seemed they were getting pin after pin after pin,” Harbert said. “They made that big run. At least starting at 138 broke that up and the matches were more competitive.
“A lot of the wrestlers were eager to see how we fared a second time against Franklin Regional. They have six guys who are unbeatable.”
Scalise (170) got Latrobe on the board with a hard-fought 2-0 win against Brandon Yant. Zack Zavatsky (182) and Luke Pletcher (120) won by technical falls and Tyler Mears (285) recorded a fall.
Scalise said the team is really excited about what has occurred. He pointed to the semifinal-round match against Canon-McMillan when the Wildcats' bench was alive and the Big Macs bench was silent.
Latrobe ended Canon-McMillan's streak of 62 straight dual meet victories.
“We wrestled great and now we're looking forward to Hershey,” Scalise said. “I'm proud to be part of this team.”
In the semifinals, Ethan McCoy started things off for the Wildcats by defeating Brendon Price, 6-2, at 113 pounds.
Latrobe then got close wins by Ethan Stas (132), Ethan Smith (145), Travis Schmeling (195) and Mears (285). The wins by McCoy, Stas and Smith took the life out of Canon-McMillan.
Pletcher also recorded a 13-second fall at 120 on Matt Oblock.
“Luke likes to fool around and score points,” Harbert said. “But he didn't fool around and got the quick pin.
“We're looking forward to the state tournament and seeing the other teams. I feel good about how we're wrestling. We probably had our most complete victory against Canon-McMillan.”
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.
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