Resilient wrestlers continue winning

The Pitt Johnstown wrestling team is riding high with only three more dual meets left in the season.

The Mountain Cats are 12th ranked nationally with an 11-1 overall record and nine straight victories dating back to Nov. 26.

The lineup has changed quite a bit since the first win to start the streak as the team shows depth through adversity.

All-American senior Dave Cawley and redshirt freshman Sam Molina have been sidelined with injuries for most of January.

When Molina went down with an injury, redshirt freshman John Blankenship was the next man up along with freshman Heath Coles.

When Cawley went with an injury, it was up to late transfer Sam Hanau to wrestle at 141 pounds, making freshman Cole Landowski the next one in line to wrestle at 149 pounds.

“It is very exciting to be part of the team and the brotherhood that we have,” Landowski said.

“I am very confident with myself and I know that I can compete with anyone in the country.”

The Mountain Cats added to the win streak with a big road win to start the week against 16th ranked nationally Lake Erie College (Ohio) 21-16.

“It was an insane meet,” All-American junior Travis McKillop said.

“One guy would fall and another would pick it up, it was just an awesome experience.”

The team ended the week defeating first-year program Wheeling (W. Va.) Jesuit University  in convincing fashion, 41-3.

“We have a special team this year,” Landowski said.

“It did not matter if someone got injured because we knew that whoever was stepping in for them was going to get the job done for us.”

Another integral part of the team’s success was the leadership of the lineup’s constant starters.

Nationally ranked upperclassmen Dave Fogle, Gary Lantz and Travis McKillop have continued to live up to their billing as they continue to win their matches.

“It is amazing (to be on a nine-meet winning streak) and it shows our teams character,” McKillop said.

“We keep coming together as the year progresses, and we are only moving forward.”

A total of 17 different student athletes have been in the Mountain Cats’ lineup throughout the season and one thing remains a constant; they all know how to win.

The Mountain Cats end the regular season with three Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference matchups with their next dual meet being Feb. * against Gannon University.