University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

2006-07 Season Preview

ATH04_COA_003_pecora_pat_T2006-07 Mountain Cat Wrestling Season Preview
     Entering his 31st season at the helm of the Mountain Cat wrestling program, Head Coach Pat Pecora welcomes back six starters, including 2006 National Runner-Up Mike Corcetti (Export, Pa.) and All-Americans Brandon Reasy (New Enterprise, Pa.), Albert Miles (Canonsburg, Pa.) and Eli Garshnick (Armagh, Pa.).  Toss in a pair of National Qualifiers in Joe Strittmatter (Ebensburg, Pa.) and Mike Fowler (Carrolltown, Pa.) and several highly talented newcomers, and Coach Pecora could have the tools to make a run at the program’s 10th Top-5 national finish and a possible third National Championship.
 
 The following is a tentative weight-by-weight synopsis of the 2006-07  Mountain Cat wrestling team. 
125-lb. Weight Class 
    Three-time National Qualifier and 2005 NCAA National Runner-up Ryon Mazzocco (Cresson, Pa.) graduated in 2006, opening the door for senior Chris Yentzer (Shermans Dale, Pa.), junior Derrek Bosso (Pequea, Pa.) and red-shirt freshman Adam Whetstone (Claysburg, Pa.) to battle for the starting spot.  Yentzer, who has suffered through an injury-plagued career, joined the starting line-up halfway through the 2003-04 season when Mazzocco jumped up to 133 lbs.  In 2004, Yentzer  placed fifth at the East Regional Tournament.  Bosso also proved he could be a capable starter last year when he posted a 14-6 overall record.  Bosso placed second a both the 2005 Wilkes Open and the 2006 Millersville Hitchcock Memorial Classic.  Whetstone will make his Mountain Cat debut after red-shirting last year.  Whetstone, had a 41-1 record as a senior at Claysburg-Kimmel High School on his way to winning the PA State AA title.  Sophomore Scott Morgan (North Huntingdon, Pa.) will also compete for mat time. A freshmen in this weight class is 2006 Eighth Place PA AA State Place winner Mike Paronish (Northern Cambria, Pa.).
133-lb. Weight Class 
    After coming up just short of a trip to Nationals two years ago, Brandon Reasy took full advantage of his sophomore season by winning the East Regional Tournament and advancing to the National Semifinals on his way to placing sixth at the National Tournament in 2006.  Reasy will look to advance even further as a junior.  Reasy wrapped-up the 2005-06 season with a 27-9 record and an 18-5 dual meet record.  His 11 falls were second on the team.  Freshmen in this weight class include: three-time PA AAA State Place winner Andrew Flegler (Nazareth, Pa.), PA Regional Qualifiers Zach Pisano (Lower Burrell, Pa.), D.J. Cassler (Philipsburg, Pa.) and Mike Daugherty (Monaca, Pa.)  and WPIAL Qualifier John Dragun (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
 
141 lb. Weight Class 
    With the departure of two-time National Champion Thad Benton (Claysburg, Pa.) due to graduation, Coach Pecora has a large hole to fill at 141 lbs.  However, extremely talented red-shirt freshmen Shane Valko (Windber, Pa.) and Ryan McIntyre (Claysburg, Pa.) are expected to compete to take over the starting spot.  Valko, a three-time PA AA State Place winner that included a third and a pair of fourth place finishes, ended his senior season with a 47-2 mark and his career with a 164-17 record.  McIntyre earned fifth and seventh place finishes at the PA AA State Tournament. McIntyre wrapped up his high school career with a 139-29 overall record.  Red-shirt freshman A.J. Milanak (Apollo, Pa.) will also make his debut this season.  Freshmen in this weight class include: two-time PA State Place winner Bruce Merlino (Philadelphia, Pa.) and PA Regional Qualifiers Josh Ervine (Tipton, Pa.) and Brian Petrakis (Monroeville, Pa.) and Scott McGaffic (Warrenton, VA).
149 lb. Weight Class 
    The 149-lb. weight class will also see a new starter after Jay Matteo’s (New Castle, Pa.) graduation.  A handful of wrestlers will compete for the starting duties, including junior Eric Svec (Greensburg, Pa.) and sophomore Mazen Kholi (Allentown, Pa.).  In shared time last year, Svec had a 10-4 overall record and 6-4 record in dual meets.  Six of his victories came by way of decision.  Svec was also a Co-Champion at the 2005 Slippery Rock Open.  Kholi made his Mountain Cat debut after a red-shirt season and finished with a 6-4 overall record and a 2-2 dual meet record.  Kholi recorded four decisions, one fall and one default victory.  Senior Brian Cook (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who was 3-4 overall and 1-0 in dual meets, is also in the mix to battle for the starting job, while sophomore T.J. Flegler (Nazareth, Pa.) will also compete to get on the mat.  Newcomer Chad Sichak (Johnstown, Pa.), a former PA State Champion and two-time PA State Place winner, and red-shirt freshman Dan Simon (Pittsburgh, Pa.) will also compete for time at 149 lbs.
157-lb. Weight Class
     Senior National Qualifier Joe Strittmatter (Ebensburg, Pa.) returns for one final run at becoming an All-American.  Strittmatter won the starting job last season and finished with a 17-14 overall record and a 13-10 dual meet record on his way to placing fourth at the East Regional Tournament and advancing to the National Tournament.  Strittmatter earned eight decisions, five major decisions, three falls and one default victory.  Sophomore Tom DeAntonio (Altoona, Pa.) (1-2 record in 2005-06) will also look to earn time on the mat.  In addition, red-shirt freshmen Kyle Keane (Bradford, Pa.), a four-time PA State Qualifier who placed 4th in 2003, and Archie McConnell (Quarryville, Pa.), a three-time PA State Place winner (3rd, 4th and 8th), could push Strittmatter for the starting duties.
165-lb. Weight Class 
    2006 All-American Albert Miles (Canonsburg, Pa.) returns to Coach Pecora’s starting line-up for his junior season.  Miles placed third at the East Regional Tournament before placing fifth at the National Tournament.  Miles finished his first year as a starter with a 23-10 overall record and a 13-5 dual meet record.  Seven of his 23 wins came by way of fall.  Junior Rob Sakmar (Johnstown, Pa.), who shared time with Miles at 165 lbs. last season, will also compete for the starting job. Coach Pecora could also use Keane and McConnell in this weight class if they don’t wrestle at 157 lbs.  Red-shirt freshman Nick Fastuca (South Park, Pa.) will make his Mountain Cat debut.  Freshmen in this weight class include 2005 PA AAA State fourth place finisher Chris Decker (Port Matilda, Pa.) and 2006 PA AA sixth place finisher Simon Fowler (St. Charles, IL).
174-lb. Weight Class 
     Senior All-American Eli Garshnick (Armagh, Pa.) is back after battling through some injuries during the 2005-06 season.  Despite the injuries, Garshnick won the 2006 East Regional championship and advanced to the National Tournament for the second straight year.  Garshnick, who placed sixth at Nationals as a sophomore, was 18-8 with a 10-5 dual meet record last year.  To add more depth to this weight class, Miles could share time at 174 lbs. in 2006-07.   Freshmen in this weight class include: 2006 PA AA State Third Place finisher Steve Makin (Portage, Pa.), PA AAA State seventh place finisher Nathan Murin (Washington, Pa.) and Regional Qualifier Christopher Ramos (Allentown, Pa.). Murin could also wrestle at 184 lbs.
184-lb. Weight Class
     Two-time All-American and 2006 National Runner-up Mike Corcetti (Export, Pa.) returns for his junior season an another shot at winning an individual National Championship.  Corcetti, who placed fourth at the National Tournament as a red-shirt freshman, advanced to the title bout of the 2006 tournament.  Corcetti was 33-11 with a 21-7 dual meet record on his way to winning the East Regional Tournament crown.  His 33 overall wins and 21 dual meet victories were second only to Thad Benton’s (141 lbs.) 41 overall wins and 25 dual meet victories.  With Corcetti in firm control of the starting duties, red-shirt freshman Patrick Walsh (Leesport, Pa.) will compete for spot time.  Walsh, a former PA AA State Fourth Place finisher, will make his Mountain Cat debut after sitting out last season.  A freshman is Nathan MurinMurin could wrestle at 174 or 184.
197 lb. Weight Class
     Just like the previous two weight classes, Coach Pecora will welcome back his starter in this weight class.  Senior Mike Fowler (Carrolltown, Pa.) will look to end his Pitt Johnstown career as an All-American after advancing to the National Tournament in 2006.  Fowler, who placed third at the East Regional Tournament, ended his junior season with a 29-14 overall record and a 20-8 dual meet record.  His 29 overall wins and 20 dual meet victories were both third on the team.  Of his 29 wins, 19 came by was of decision.  Fowler also earned a runner-up finish at the 2005 Slippery Rock Open.  Senior Jason Jones (Irwin, Pa.) will battle Fowler to get time on the mat this season.  Red-shirt freshman Patrick Walsh could also see action at 197 lbs. if he doesn’t wrestle at 184 lbs.  A freshman in this weight class is 2006 PA AA State Fourth Place finisher Nathan Tomporoski (Natrona Heights, Pa.).
Heavyweight 
    With the graduation of three-year starter and three-time National Qualifier Zach Majocha (Upper Burrell, Pa.), sophomore Jon Neese (Chambersville, Pa.) is slated to take over the starting duties.  Neese, a former PA AA State Champion, ended his first year of collegiate wrestling with an 8-7 overall record and a 3-5 dual meet record in spot duty behind Majocha. Neese recorded five decisions, two major decisions and one fall.  Freshmen in this weight class include: 2006 PA AAA State Runner-Up Chris Dempsey (Sewickley, Pa.) and Tomporoski if he doesn’t wrestle at 197 lbs. 

     Once again the Mountain Cats are full of talent.  However, Coach Pecora will need to mix a blend of four returning All-Americans, a pair of National Qualifiers and a few newcomers to make another run at a NCAA Division II National Championship when the University of Nebraska-Kearney plays host to the 2007 National Tournament.
Last Reviewed: October 31, 2006