Large shoes to fill for heavyweight wrestler

Olivia Hutchinson, Sports Editor

After losing two-time All-American heavyweight wrestler Chris Dempsey, Pitt-Johnstown coaches plan to fill that mat’s spot with sophomore Josh Krupa.

Dempsey, who still is attending classes, said he is confident Krupa will have a successful season.

“He has a lot of athletic ability and he is a hard worker,” said Dempsey. “He has all the skills he needs to have a good season.”

Krupa said this season could be challenging.

“My biggest obstacle will be getting my body back to what it used to be after being out two years,” said Krupa. “And being able to maintain it.”

Coach Pat Pecora said not only does Krupa stand out on the mat, but also in the classroom and in the UPJ community.

“He was an academic All-American and an overall great student,” said Pecora. “He works hard in the gym and in his academics.

“(Assistant Athletic Director) Amy Buxbaum came up to me the other day and (said there wasn’t) a more respectful kid than Josh Krupa,” said Pecora.

Dempsey said Krupa will decide this season’s outcome.

“He just needs to believe in his wrestling ability and, if he has the confidence in himself on the mat, then he will do well.”

Krupa plans to push himself in order to meet his goal.

“I will just have to be in the weight room day in and day out and constantly wrestle to perfect my technique.

“My personal goal this season is to make it to nationals after being out two seasons.”

Pecora said he is excited for the potential of this upcoming season.

“Krupa has big shoes to fill, but it is the beginning of a new era.”

The Mountain Cats begins their season Nov. 12 at the Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) College Collegiate Open.