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High School Sports

Notebook: Vikings wrestlers seeking individual honors

Paul Schofield
| Thursday, Feb. 16, 2006

The Mount Pleasant wrestling team made a promise before the season to win a PIAA title.

While the Vikings (22-2) came up short in the quest to win the team tournament, they still can pick up more hardware during the individual tournaments.

There are three trophies the Vikings can still claim are the WPIAL, PIAA Southwest Region and PIAA title.

"That's what I told the team after the team tournament," Mount Pleasant coach Mark Mears said. "We're far from finished. We have enough good individuals that are capable of getting back to Hershey, winning matches and placing. I believe it's going to be us and Reynolds fighting it out again."

Donnie Ament (145 pounds) is the Vikings only returning champion, while Lee Vanella (125) placed sixth.

Other Vikings to qualify for last year's tournament were Zach Holt (112) and Paul Snyder (215).

The Vikings' next quest begins Saturday at Yough for the Section 2-AA individual tournament.

The top three wrestlers in each weight class advance to the WPIAL Class AA Championship on Feb. 24-25 at Charleroi.

The other sites for the section tournaments are Highlands (Section 1), Burgettstown (Section 3) and Chartiers-Houston (Section 4).

The returning WPIAL champions are Burrell's Jordan Shields (103), Derry's Troy Dolan (112), West Greene's Kory Bissett (119), Vanella, and Highlands' Nathan Toporoski (215).

Latrobe coaches honored

The Latrobe program recently became the 12th in the WPIAL to eclipse the 500-win plateau.

On Wednesday, the Greater Latrobe Organization for Wrestling honored current coach Marc Billett and former coach Tom Harbert, as well as the entire program for the accomplishment.

After the short ceremony, the Wildcats added to the win column by rolling over Erie Cathedral Prep, 52-18, in a non-section match.

"This is like awesome tradition," Harbert said. "I feel overwhelmed that my son (Tad) is coaching with Marc and is really enjoying it. A big part of that 500 is mine, and I feel proud that I did that."

Harbert was the coach when Latrobe lost to Canon-McMillan in the WPIAL final in 1985. Harbert was named Coach of the Year in the WPIAL and coached in the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic.

Latrobe has only had three coaches since the program began in 1951. The other was the late Creed Westfall.

Billett said it was nice to recognize the accomplishments of the program.

"It speaks volumes to all the people who were involved in the program from the Junior Olympics to the Junior High programs and then to the high school," Billett said. "It's like a family accomplishment. There are a lot of people who spent time coaching. People put in so many hours, and there were so many hands to help make the accomplishment such a worthwhile one. It's something to be proud of."

This and that

While the Class AA individual tournaments get underway Saturday, the Class AAA tournaments get started Feb. 25. The sites are: Penn-Trafford (Section 1), Connellsville (Section 2), North Allegheny (Section 3), Fox Chapel (Section 4), McGuffey (Section 5) and Mount Lebanon (Section 6).

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