New wrestlers step up to winning ways

Bobby Scott, Editor-In-Chief

Pitt-Johnstown’s grapplers have found a way to get the job done on the mat whether it is a freshman who is in the infantile stages of his collegiate wrestling career, or a 24-year-old senior starting his season halfway through the schedule.

The Mountain Cats are ranked 19th in the nation with a 8-1 overall record (4-1 conference) as of Feb 1.

Not only have these athletes gotten the job done but also have they done it in various ways.

What may seem to overshadow that is the starting lineup. Up to five freshmen have been in the lineup.

“Everybody has gone out and pushed the pace, seeing these young guys already believing in Coach’s system makes our team stronger as a whole,” 125-pound junior Evan Link said.

Link recorded a major decision against Seton Hill’s Mike Soria Jan. 21.

When integral parts of last season’s lineup either were redshirted, injured or not around at this season’s start, it was time for what has turned into somewhat of a youth movement in the wrestling program.

“It is awesome how the freshmen are doing this year,” 149-pound sophomore Cole Landowski said.

“They are stepping up to the way Pitt-Johnstown’s wrestling (tradition) is.”

Almost everyone of this year’s would-be-freshmen have redshirted, but, with most of last season’s first year student-athletes entering their first year of eligibility, it gives opportunities for hungry competitors who have not come close to mat time yet.

“We have really stressed that whenever that (Pitt-Johnstown) singlet was on, you have to keep the (wrestling program’s) standard,” 39-year head coach Pat Pecora said.

“The standard is excellence in wrestling, and I am really proud of the freshmen and the team.”

Freshmen Boe Bonzo, Adam Nickelson, and D.J. Sims have all competed in a match this season along with Jim Harrison, Forest Tuttle, Steve Edwards and Malachi Krenzelak.

Sophomore Corey Bush, a transfer student from University of Pittsburgh, and returning senior Zac Bennett have been added to the mix since the beginning of the spring semester.

Bush is 3-1 since joining the team.

Bennett has been 3-0 and finished first in 285-pound weight class at the Franklin & Marshall Open.

As the faces change, the results have stayed the same for Pitt-Johnstown wrestling.