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Latrobe's Davis scores upset, 4 Wildcats advance to PIAA quarterfinals

| Thursday, March 6, 2014, 10:01 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Latrobe's Dylan Davis reacts after beating Lasalle's Antonio Pelusi by a 3-2 overtime ultimate tiebreaker in their 220-pound bout during the opening round of the PIAA Class AAA Individual Wrestling Championships on March 6, 2014, at the Giant Center in Hershey.

HERSHEY — Latrobe wrestling coach Tad Harbert said junior Dylan Davis puts on a good show, clowning around with teammates at the PIAA Class AAA championships.

But Davis took it a step further, entertaining the crowd at Giant Center with his wrestling. He surprised even his coach by defeating LaSalle senior Antonio Pelusi, 3-2 in overtime rideout at 220 pounds Thursday to cap a great opening night for Latrobe.

Davis is one of four Wildcats to advance to Friday's quarterfinals at 1:30 p.m. Also winning were returning PIAA champion Luke Pletcher at 120 pounds, Jake Shaffer at 152 and Zack Zavatsky at 182.

“We had a good night,” Harbert said. “I'm all smiles. Hopefully, we can get Dom (Scalise) through the consolation rounds.”

Scalise dropped a 12-3 decision to his future Virginia teammate, Central Dauphin senior Garrett Peppelman, but bounced back to defeat Wyoming Valley West's Cody Cordes, 4-1.

“Luke set the tone for the tournament. Jake Shaffer had a gutsy performance. Zavatsky was workmanlike and Dylan, the overtime master,” Harbert said. “I'm so happy for Jake and Dylan. They both needed a win at Hershey.

“Dylan kept working hard and he knew his chance would come at the end of the season. He mentally prepared himself.”

Davis said the different in the match was his conditioning. He said after he got over being nervous, he could tell he was in better shape.

“I could see he was out of gas,” Davis said. “It was a long, hard fought battle. I knew I had him.

“When I originally got here, I said there is no way I could compete with this competition. This kids are all a lot better than me. I wasn't expecting that big of a win.”

Pletcher (40-0) started things with a 17-5 victory over Hazleton freshman Jimmy Hoffman. Shaffer (34-10) rallied in the third period for a 6-5 victory against North Penn senior Jeff Reimel, and Zavatsky (39-0) breezed to a 16-4 win against Neshaminy senior Kody Lupfer.

Penn-Trafford freshman Cam Coy (36-5), who won the 132-pound WPIAL title, was in complete control of his match from the start. He used a takedown and two reversals for a 6-0 win against Big Spring senior Greg Warner.

“Everyone is nervous,” Coy said. “It was good to get the first one out of the way. I've been working on technique all week, and I went out and did it.”

Five returning PIAA champions from the WPIAL won, but Franklin Regional junior Devin Brown (106, AA champion) and senior Ty Smith (132) were pushed to the limit.

Brown (34-0) rallied with a late takedown to edge New Oxford freshman Zurich Storm, 8-7, and Smith (34-1) held on for a 2-1 win against Cumberland Valley senior Alex Wolfe.

Hempfield junior Sam Krivus (39-3) and Canon-McMillan senior Solomon Chishko (24-3) all had somewhat easy wins.

All six Franklin Regional wrestlers — Brown (106), Spencer Lee (113), Smith (132), Michael Kemerer (138), Josh Maruca (145) and Josh Shields (152) — advanced.

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

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