Wrestling Adds 15 Recruits, Including PA State Runner-Up and Five Other Place Winners
05/18/10...Head Coach Pat Pecora (35th season) and the Pitt-Johnstown wrestling program have added 15 new wrestlers for the 2010-11 season, including six former Pennsylvania State Place winners. Of the six state place winners, Portage High School’s Shawn Perich (145 lbs.) (Summerhill, Pa.) and Schuylkill Valley High School graduate Ryan Maurer (160 lbs.) (Reading, Pa.) both reached the state semifinals, while Chestnut Ridge High School standout Josh McDannell (215 lbs.) (Alum Bank, Pa.) and was the 2009 PA State Runner-up before joining the Marine Reserves.
Of the 15 incoming wrestlers, five were former Pennsylvania State-Place-winners, four others qualified for the PA State Tournament and four more were regional qualifiers. In addition, Coach Pecora added 2010 West Virginia State Champion Joel Paolo (140 lbs.) (Weirton, WV) and an Ohio State Qualifier.
“We added another solid recruiting class this year with five former Pennsylvania State Place winners, four PA State Qualifiers and a 2010 West Virginia State Champion,” Coach Pecora said. “With this year’s class, we added some good all-around athletes who played multiple sports in high school. I feel once they are able to concentrate on one sport, the sky is the limit. We also have two out-of-state athletes, including a state champion from West Virginia, who wanted to become Pitt-Johnstown wrestlers.”
Heading this year’s recruiting class are PA State Runner-up McDannell and 2010 third-place finisher Perich.
McDannell was the 2009 PA State Runner-up at 215 lbs. He posted a 36-3 record and won the AA Regional title, before suffering a 3-2 loss in the 2009 PA State Championship bout.
Perich, who attended Bishop Carroll High School and wrestled for Portage, was 41-2 and won the AA Regional Championship at 145 lbs. by defeating this year’s eventual State Champion in the regional finals. However, Perich suffered a loss to the returning PA State Champion in the State Semifinals.
Coach Pecora also signed sixth, seventh and eighth-place finishers.
Maurer, who went to the same high school as former Mountain Cat All-American Patrick Walsh, placed sixth after reaching the AA state semifinals at 160 lbs. Maurer was 48-8 as a senior and won the Southeast Regional title.
Latrobe High School’s Eric Shaffer (Latrobe, Pa.) placed seventh in the PA AAA Tournament a 189 lbs. after winning the Southwest Regional Championship and posting a 40-4 overall record in 2009-10. Shaffer, a three-sport standout and quarterback on the football team in high school, was also selected to compete in the 2010 WPIAL Dapper Dan Classic in Pittsburgh.
Rounding out this year’s PA State Place winners is Kiski Area High School’s Justin Harold (Leechburg, Pa.), an eighth-place finisher in the AAA Tournament at 145 lbs. Harold was 41-6 and was the Southwest region runner-up.
Four PA State Qualifiers will also continue their collegiate wrestling careers at Pitt-Johnstown. Josh Shane (Imler, Pa./Chestnut Ridge H.S.) was a 2010 AA fourth-place regional finisher at 140 lbs., while Dominic Pietropaolo (Pittsburgh, Pa./Plum H.S.) and Zach Baker (Jeannette, Pa./Penn Trafford H.S.) were AAA State Qualifiers. Pietropaolo placed third at the Southwest Regional Tournament at 140 lbs., and Baker placed third at the Southwest Regional at Heavyweight. Bedford Area High School’s Cody Shippey (Manns Choice, Pa.), a 2009 regional runner-up and PA AA State Qualifier with a 30-8 record will also join the Mountain Cats’ squad this year.
Two out-of state wrestlers have also been added in Paolo, the 2010 West Virginia State Champion at 140 lbs. from Oak Glenn High School, and Nick Katich (130 lbs.) (Louisville, OH/Louisville H.S.), a 2010 Ohio Division II State Qualifier.
In addition, Pitt-Johnstown signed PA AAA Regional Qualifiers Jack Hnath (152 lbs.) (Pittsburgh, Pa. Pa./Mount Lebanon H.S.), Anthony Napoleone (125 lbs.) (Moon Township, Pa./Moon H.S.), Blaine Shutt (125 lbs.) (Hummelstown, Pa./Central Dauphin H.S.) and (Ryan Walters (152 lbs.) (Pleasant Unity, Pa./Latrobe H.S.) to round out the recruiting class.
Below is an Alphabetical List of the 2010-11 Pitt-Johnstown Wrestling Recruits
Zach Baker Jeannette, Pa. / Penn Trafford H.S. HWT. 38-12 2010 PA AAA State Qualifier
Justin Harold Leechburg, Pa. / Kiski Area H.S. 145 lbs. 41-6 2010 PA AAA State Place 8th
Jack Hnath Pittsburgh, Pa. / Mount Lebanon H.S. 152 lbs. 2010 PA AAA Regional Qualifier
Nick Katich Louisville, OH / Louisville H.S. 130 lbs. 2010 Ohio Div. II State Qualifier
Ryan Maurer Reading, Pa. / Schuylkill Valley H.S. 160 lbs. 48-8 2010 PA AA State Place 6th
Josh McDannell Alum Bank, Pa. / Chestnut Ridge H.S. 215 lbs. 36-3 2009 PA AA State Runner-up
Anthony Napoleone Moon Township, Pa. / Moon H.S. 125 lbs. 23-5 2010 PA AAA Reg. Qualifier
Joel Paolo Weirton, WV / Oak Glenn H.S. 140 lbs. 26-1 2010 West Virginia State Champ
Shawn Perich Summerhill, Pa. / Portage H.S. 145 lbs. 41-2 2010 PA AA State Place 3rd
Dominic Pietropaolo Pittsburgh, Pa. / Plum H.S. 140 lbs. 35-7 2010 PA AAA State Qualifier
Eric Shaffer Latrobe, Pa. / Latrobe H.S. 189 lbs. 40-4 2010 PA AAA State Place 7th
Josh Shane Imler, Pa. / Chestnut Ridge H.S. 140 lbs. 32-7 2010 PA AA State Qualifier
Cody Shippey Manns Choice, Pa. / Bedford Area H.S. 215 lbs. 30-10 2009 PA AA State Qualifier
Blaine Shutt Hummelstown, Pa. / Central Dauphin H.S. 125 lbs. 2010 PA AAA Regional Qualifier
Ryan Walters Pleasant Unity, Pa. / Latrobe, H.S. 152 lbs. 2010 PA AAA Regional Qualifier
The Mountain Cats are coming off of a 14-2 dual meet season, a third-place finish at the East Regional Tournament and a 11th-place finish at the National Tournament. Six wrestlers advanced to the 2010 Division II National Tournament. Three became All-Americans, including Shane Valko (Windber, Pa.), the National Champion at 133 lbs. and the National Tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler. Valko, the Division II National Wrestler of the year, Patrick Walsh (184 lbs.) (Leesport, Pa.), who placed sixth, and Chris Dempsey (HWT.) (Sewickley, Pa.), who placed eighth garnered this year’s All-America honors. The Mountain Cats also got it done in the classroom. Kyle Keane (165 lbs.) (Bradford, Pa.) was a First-Team NWCA All-Academic Wrestling Team selection, while Walsh and Adam Whetstone (141 lbs.) (Claysburg, Pa.) were Honorable Mention All-Academic choices.