Westmoreland campus clippings: County wrestlers qualify for NCAA championships
What would the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Pittsburgh be without a Pittsburgh presence?
No need to fret. When it comes to star power at the tournament, the question might be, who isn’t from Pittsburgh?
Several talented Westmoreland County wrestlers qualified for nationals, set to take place March 21-23 at PPG Paints Arena.
Redshirt senior Zack Zavatsky (Latrobe) of Virginia Tech won his third ACC title at 184 pounds and will look to improve upon a sixth-place finish last season at the national tournament.
Pitt freshman Micky Phillippi (Derry) punched his ticket to NCAAs by winning an ACC championship at 133 pounds. He also was named the conference tournament’s most valuable wrestler.
He will be joined by Bucknell’s Zach Hartman (Belle Vernon), a freshman at 157, and junior Drew Phipps (Norwin), a 197-pounder. Hartman was a runner-up and Phipps a semifinalist at the EIWA tournament.
Ohio State junior Luke Pletcher (Latrobe) also advanced after a runner-up finish at 133 pounds in the Big Ten Tournament. Joining him will be teammate Ethan Smith (Latrobe), the Big Ten sixth-place finisher at 174.
The Big Ten runner-up at 125 pounds, defending national champion Spencer Lee (Franklin Regional), also will compete in Pittsburgh. Arizona State redshirt juniors Josh Shields (Franklin Regional), the 165-pound champion at the Pac-12 Championships, and Josh Maruca (Franklin Regional), a runner-up at 149, also advanced. Shields is a three-time conference champion.
Redshirt freshman Cam Coy (Penn-Trafford) of Virginia took fourth at the ACC tournament at 165 to qualify.
Pitt-Johnstown: Junior Chris Eddins (Greensburg Salem) can aim for a national three-peat next season. The 149-pounder captured his second straight NCAA Division II title Saturday in Cleveland with a 7-2 victory over Trey Grine of Tiffin. Eddins improved to 23-0.
UPJ redshirt junior Devin Austin (Penn-Trafford), meantime, took third at 165, and senior Joey Alessandro (Hempfield) was fifth at 141.
All three local products earned All-American honors.
Long Island Brooklyn: Junior point guard Julian Batts (Jeannette) helped the Blackbirds (16-16) reach the Northeast Conference Tournament semifinals, where they lost to top-seeded St. Francis (Pa.). He played all 32 games, averaging 30.1 minutes and scored 9.0 points, grabbed 4.0 rebounds and handed out 2.4 assists.
Purdue Fort Wayne: Senior guard Kason Harrell (Hempfield) received All-Summit League honorable mention after averaging a career-best 15.1 points while shooting nearly 50 percent. He also produced 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists. Harrell began the conference tournament ranked eighth in career scoring at Purdue Fort Waye with 1,315 points.
Shippensburg: Sophomore point guard Jake Biss (Latrobe) was named to the All-PSAC East first team. He averaged 15.7 points and 4.4 assists in his first year as a starter and scored 22 or more points in his final six regular-season games for the Raiders (23-7).
Bucknell: Senior Kaitlyn Slagus (Belle Vernon) made the All-Patriot League first team. The 6-foot-2 forward leads the conference in field goal percentage (.583) and is third in 3-point percentage (.402) on 35-for-87 shooting.
Slagus averaged 12.8 points and 7.4 rebounds. The Bison (25-5) opened the Patriot League Tournament on Monday.
IUP: Senior point guard Carolyn Appleby (Greensburg Central Catholic) was named to the All-PSAC first team after leading the Crimson Hawks (25-2) to their third conference title. Appleby averages a team-best 17.7 points and 3.8 assists. She scored 28 in a semifinal win over upstart Seton Hill. She ranks third all-time on IUP’s scoring list
She poured in 26 points in 72-57 win over Kutztown in the PSAC final and was named tournament MVP.
IUP will open play in the NCAA Atlantic Regional Friday against Bowie State at Glenville State.
Saint Vincent: Sophomore forward Madison Kollar (Latrobe) was named to the D3Hoops.com Great Lakes All-Region third team. The All-PAC first-teamer led SVC in scoring at 16.1 points per game while shooting 49.5 percent. She scored in double figures 21 times for the Bearcats, who won the PAC title and played in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Seton Hill: Grad transfer Megan Marecic was named to the All-PSAC first team after leading the Griffins (19-11) in scoring at 18.7 points per game, while setting a single-season mark for 3-pointers in a season with 96. Marecic played at Drexel and came to Seton Hill for academic reasons. She did not initially consider playing out her final year of eligibility. Sophomore guard Cheyenne Trest made the all-conference second team.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .