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High School Wrestling

Twelve WPIAL Wrestlers Earn Spot in First Trackwrestling Rankings of 2021 Season

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The state of Pennsylvania dominated the latest set of Trackwrestling high school rankings, which were released late Tuesday night, the first such listing the media outlet has put together since the turn of the 2021 calendar year. Of the 280 wrestlers featured, 50 (roughly 18%) were from Keystone State, including 12 from schools within the WPIAL.

The latest iteration was crafted to reflect a series of changes triggered by holiday tournament clashes and weight changes that have transpired in December.

THE WPIAL’S BEST

Wrestlers rated in top 8 of their weight classes:

Vinny Kilkeary: The Latrobe sophomore was the highest-rated WPIAL prospect at his respective weight, earning the top spot at 106 pounds. As a freshman in 2019-20, Kilkeary had quite the exciting run to his first state title at the Giant Center last March. Kilkeary scored 11 points in the third period and rallied for a thrilling 14-10 victory against tournament favorite Ty Kasak of Bethlehem Catholic. Kilkeary got a reversal and three-point near fall in the final seven seconds to punch his ticket to the state finals. He went on to win the 106-pound title later that night with a fall over Cathedral Prep’s Jacob Van Dee. Kilkeary was also a PA USA state champion as both a Greco-Roman and freestyle competitor in 2019.

Wyatt Henson: The Waynesburg senior (who recently transferred back to Pennsylvania from Missouri) and Iowa commit ranks No. 2 at 145 pounds. He is the son of Sammie Henson, a three-time world and Olympic medalist, and former WVU head coach. Entering his senior season at Waynesburg, the future Hawkeye holds a 2019 Missouri large-class state title at 138 pounds and a 2020 PIAA title, also at 138-pounds. Henson has over 100 career wins and counting entering his senior campaign.

Mac Stout: The junior out of Mt. Lebanon is currently ranked No. 2 at 182 pounds. Stout, the younger brother of 2020 Pitt NCAA qualifier Kellan Stout and Princeton freshman Luke Stout, has skyrocketed up the rankings lately. As a freshman, Stout won his section, but did not place at the regional tournament while wrestling at 160 pounds. As a sophomore however, Stout won both his section and region en route to a second-place finish in the 160-pound bracket at the state tournament. Stout will likely eclipse 100 career wins during the 2021 season.

Alejandro Herrera-Rondon: The Seneca Valley Raider and Oklahoma commit checks in just a spot below Henson as the third-rated wrestler at 145 pounds. After winning the state as both a freshman and a sophomore at Seneca, Herrera-Rondon finished fourth as a junior. The future Big 12 grappler has over 130 wins entering his final season as a Pennsylvania prep.

Rocco Welsh: Fellow Waynesburg wrestler Welsh, a sophomore, is ranked No. 6 at 145 pounds, where Henson occupies the No. 2 spot at the same weight. Last year as a freshman, Welsh was a state runner-up at 126 ponds. He was defeated 7-6 in the finals by Kurtis Phipps (Norwin). I would expect Welsh to move to a different weight at some point this season.

Carter Dibert: Historically a WPIAL powerhouse, Franklin Regional, the same that has produced NCAA champions Nico Megaludis, Spencer Lee, and numerous other college All-Americans, has produced another top prospect in Dibert. The Arizona State commit currently sits at No. 7 in the 120-pound bracket as a senior. After making the state tournament, but failing to place as a freshman, Dibert won a 106-pound state title as a sophomore and placed third in the state wrestling at 113 pounds as a junior. Dibert has already surpassed the century mark with respect to total wins.

Luca Augustine: Augustine, the seventh-ranked wrestler at 170 pounds, is a senior out of Waynesburg who plans to suit up for the Pitt Panthers in 2022. Augustine’s top finishes as a Raider include three section titles, one regional crown and a sixth-place finish in Hersey last year at 160 pounds at the state meet.

Additional Ranked WPIAL Wrestlers (Rated beyond Top-8 of their weight classes)

Isiah Vance: This Hempfield senior, ranked No. 10 at heavyweight, has 111 wins leading into his final season. This year, he will look to best his fourth-place finish at the state tournament in 2019 and his runner-up finish last year. Vance is a three-time section champion, and a 2019 region champion as well.

Michael “Mac” Church: Church, just a sophomore, is the fourth Waynesburg grappler to appear in the rankings. The 120-pounder has earned the tenth spot at the weight. Church compiled a second-place finish in the section, a regional crown, and a top-three finish in Hershey during his lone high school season thus far.

Cole Spencer: Spencer, a two-time WPIAL champion quarterback at Pine-Richland decided that wrestling was the sport he planned to pursue at the next level. The senior and future Penn wrestler, currently No. 12 at 160 pounds, has two section crowns, one regional title, and two top-8 state finishes on his prep wrestling resume. He has seen action at three different weights at Pine-Richland and has in excess of 100 wins.

Donovan McMillon: McMillon, a top WPIAL safety, will play football for Florida next season. As a wrestler at Peters Township, McMillon’s junior campaign was been his best by far. In 2020, McMillon was a section champ, a regional runner-up, and a state runner-up at 182 pounds to Cannon-Mac’s Gerrit Nijenhuis. McMillon’s career win total is just above the century mark (101 and counting).

Dayton Pitzer: Ranked in the 195 division, Pitzer of Mount Pleasant snuck in at No. 20. Pitzer’s first high school  season for the Viking’s was record-breaking in 2018-19, as he became the WPIAL’s first freshman to win a PIAA title in a weight class above 152 pounds. He finished with a 43-1 record (with 28 pins) while competing at 182 pounds en route to his first state title in 2019. As a sophomore last year, a knee injury prevented Pitzer from defending his WPIAL and state titles. Expect Pitzer’s stock to rise dramatically as the season progresses.

Among WPIAL member schools, Waynesburg led the way with four wrestlers ranked at their respective weights in Henson, Welsh, Augustine and Church, who are all ranked tenth or better at their weights.

Outside of the WPIAL, Gary Steen of Reynolds is the rated No. 5 at 120 pounds. Steen is a two-time PA state champ for the Raiders, who will wrestle for Pitt in 2022. In addition to his state championships, Steen has previously captured titles at elite tournaments, which include Walsh Ironman and the Powerade, while competing at 113 pounds earlier in his career Other national level credentials for the Reynolds Demon include a seventh-place showing in Fargo at the Junior Greco-Roman National Championships.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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