The premier tournament of the NCAA Division I wrestling season, the 2021 Division I Wrestling Championships, which will feature five Pitt grapplers, is just three days away. As if that weren’t enough to get Panthers wrestling fans excited, a trio of Pitt wrestling commit’s in the Class of 2021 looked stellar at their respective state tournaments recently as well.
At the Class-2A and -3A PIAA state tournaments at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on March 12-13, two guys who have made pledges to the Pitt program took home respective goal medals: Glendale’s Brock McMillen (2A) and Waynesburg’s Luca Augustine (3A). Additionally, Sheffield’s Ethan Finch, who also plans to wrestle at Pitt next season, took home a PIAA Class-2A silver medal as a runner-up at 189 pounds.
At 138, McMillen won his third straight title thanks to a dominant 16-0 technical fall, a convincing 9-4 win, and a gutsy 1-0 decision in the finals over an exceptionally talented Ian Oswalt (Burrell) to claim the crown. This tournament run caps off one of the more impressive careers in Keystone State history. McMillan brought his career to a close as a three-time champ and and four-time state finalist, taking second as a freshman in 2018. McMillen will head to Fitzgerald Field House with over 140 career wins to just eight high school losses, according to PA-Wrestling.com.
— Micky Phillippi (@Micky_Phill) March 13, 2021
Fellow 2A product, Finch of Sheffield, etched his name in the high school record book and put his school on the map during his final prep season. As a 2021 PIAA 2A runner-up at 189 pounds, Finch became the school’s first-ever state finalist. It was a nearly perfect senior senior for Finch (32-1), his lone defeat a fall to Cael Cribs (Montoursville) in the finals. The Sheffield upper-weight also finished sixth in the state as a junior at 182 pounds. He finished his career with 113 total wins, according to PA-Wrestling.com.
— PA Power Wrestling (@PAPowerWrestle) March 12, 2021
Augustine, who is rated No. 10 nationally, was one of Waynesburg’s three Class-3A PIAA champions, taking home his first gold medal in his final match as a Waynesburg Raider. His victory in the finals over No. 6-rated Trey Kibe (Mifflin Country) was by the slimmest of margins, winning 3-2. With the victory, avenging a tough 5-3 loss to Kibe at the Class-3A West Super Regional a week prior. Augustine took sixth as a junior after failing to place at the state tournament as a sophomore. His win versus Kibe was the No. 122 of his career, according to PA.-Wrestling.com.
The state of Ohio also held its OHSAA state wrestling championships March 12-14 at various venues across the Buckeye State as well. In the Division II tournament at at Marengo Highland High School in Marengo, Ohio, Lake Catholic 182-pound senior, Cole Hivnor, took home a forth-place finish.
While Hivnor didn’t get the first state title he coveted this past weekend at the state tournament, he did accomplish a pretty remarkable feat earlier this season in February: Hivnor recorded his 100th career pin in a Lake Catholic singlet, wrestling for his father, Scott Hivnor.
Congrats to senior Cole Hivnor on his commitment to continue his academic and athletic career at the University of Pittsburgh next year. Great to see all your hard work paying off! #cougarwrestling #lakecatholicwrestling pic.twitter.com/OI5amUWXKR
— LC Wrestling (@LCCougarWrestle) September 17, 2020
Hivnor was a four-time state placer while competing as an Ohio prep. He was a fifth-place finisher as a freshman and a fourth-place finisher as a sophomore before the COVID pandemic halted his bid for a state championship last year as a junior. He finished in fourth again as a senior. He ended his career with north of 150 wins.
— News-Herald preps (@NHPreps) March 14, 2021
These four state medalists have all committed to wrestle for Keith Gavin and the Pitt Panthers next season. As their accomplishments during this condensed COVID-19 influenced season indicate, it should be a fun freshman class to watch next season as they dawn the Blue and Gold for the first time.