Pletcher, Shields, Zavatsky settle on being All-Americans again |
Other Local

Pletcher, Shields, Zavatsky settle on being All-Americans again

Paul Schofield
Ohio State junior Luke Pletcher, a Latrobe graduate, finished fourth in the NCAA championship for the second consecutive season.

The 330 wrestlers who came to Pittsburgh for the 2019 NCAA Division I wrestling championship this weekend weren’t just looking to become All-Americans. They wanted to be national champions.

But only 10 wrestlers could claim national-champ status once the tournament ended Saturday, and another 70 joined them as All-Americans.

While Latrobe’s Luke Pletcher and Zack Zavatsky and Franklin Regionals’ Josh Shields became All-Americans for the second time, they wanted more. They, along with Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee, Kittanning’s Jason Nolf and Central Catholic’s Vincenzo Joseph, were the former WPIAL wrestlers to earn All-American status.

Lee, Nolf and Joseph were looking to become national champions again. Lee and Nolf came through, but Joseph lost 7-1 to Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis.

“I came here to win it,” said Shields, a junior at Arizona State. “I’m going home and figure out things so I can come back next year and win it.”

Shields settled for fifth place after dropping an 8-4 decision to Nebraska’s Isaiah White. Shields (30-6) came into the tournament seeded third, and he reached the semifinals before dropping a hard-fought 3-2 decision to Joseph.

Pletcher (27-7) finished fourth at 133 for the second consecutive season. The Ohio State junior already is looking forward to his senior season, when he will be a team captain and a leader.

“Luke is a special person,” Ohio State coach Tom Ryan said. “He’ll come be strong next season and show the way.”

Even though Pletcher finished fourth, he felt he improved. The 133-pound weight class was loaded this season, and six of the eight wrestlers from the Big Ten became All-Americans.

“I’m not quite there yet in this tournament,” Pletcher said. “I’m close. I just have to get back to it. I definitely got better this year, but this bracket was a lot tougher.”

Pletcher won a 7-6 decision against Iowa sophomore Austin DeSanto. He got the winning takedown with 17 seconds left in the consolation semifinals.

In the third-place match, Pletcher lost a 6-2 decision to Michigan’s Stevan Micic.

Zavatsky had a disappointing finish to his college career. He dropped three consecutive after winning in the blood round Friday.

He fell to Nebraska’s Dakota Geer, 5-4, in the seventh-place match at 184.

“It’s disappointing right now,” Zavatsky said. “I didn’t want to end on a loss. It’s kind of hard to say how I feel right now. I’m grateful to be on the podium, but it’s not what I worked for the last four or five years.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Other Local
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.