High expectations for successful class

Bobby Scott, Sports Editor

The Pitt-Johnstown wrestling program is reloading with 15 recruits heading into the 38th season of head coach Pat Pecora’s tenure as Mountain Cat wrestling skipper.

The 2013-14 recruiting class features six statewide place-finishers.

“We have an overall great recruiting class,” Pecora said.  “This is one of the better classes we have had, and I am really excited about it.”

Twelve of the fifteen newcomers each have had 100 or more wins.  The three most successful recruits are Adam Nickelson (Belle Vernon, Pa.), Heath Coles (North Huntingdon, Pa.) and Zach Swarrow (Fredericktown, Pa.).  All three are two-time state place-finishers.

Nickelson finished his career with a 137-32 overall record at Belle Vernon High School at 182 pounds while placing fifth in 2013 and eighth in 2012 in the AAA State Tournament.

Coles had an overall record of 126-30 at Norwin High School at 152 pounds while finishing fourth in both the 2012 and 2013 AAA State Tournament.

Zach Swarrow amassed a 110-36 overall record at 113 lbs at Bethlehem Center High School and placed seventh in 2013 and eighth in 2012 in the AA State Tournament.

12 of 15 recruits are coming in from The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (District 7) along with three recruits from District 5 and 6.

“I am a firm believer in recruiting in our own backyard,” Pecora said.   “District 5, 6 and 7 are our bread and butter.”

Pecora said he believes that this year’s recruiting class may make more of an impact than in years past.

“I look for two things in every recruiting class,” Pecora said.

“‘Do we have recruits that can have an immediate impact on the program and do we have recruits that will build for the future?’ I believe this year’s class has both.”

With high praise brings high expectations and that is what Pecora has for his highly touted freshman.

“We have guys that we can start in the immediate future,” Pecora said.