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Credit his uncle’s wedding soup, a staple around Norwin senior John Pezze’s house over the holidays. Or perhaps it’s the lack of schoolwork this time of year.

No matter the reason, something seems to have Pezze peaking at the Southmoreland Holiday Wrestling Classic, an event he has won the past two years.

“I don’t know what it is,” the 130-pounder said Wednesday. “After the holidays, I kick it up for this tournament.”

Pezze advanced to the semifinals by recording a pair of pins yesterday. He will face Chartiers Valley’s Ethan Howard for a spot in the finals, which start at 4:30 p.m. today.

As for his favorite Christmas treat, Pezze concedes he can’t stay away, though the soup is something he doesn’t truly enjoy until after the tournament.

“I can only have a little because we have to make weight,” he said. “But, being a senior, I have a strategy. I keep it under control.”

Carr looking for more

A loss in this event last year was a springboard of sorts for South Fayette’s Nick Carr.

Carr, wrestling at 145 pounds, lost to Central Catholic’s Jason Luster — then competing for The Kiski School — before rebounding to win WPIAL and PIAA titles.

“That was one of the best things that happened to him last year,” coach Michael Ladick said.

Now a 152-pounder, Carr did anything but struggle yesterday, winning his first bout by technical fall and his second by injury default.

Unfriendly hosts

Besides hosting one of the season’s most well-organized tournaments, Southmoreland coach Mike May had two things to be happy about last night.

Dakota Datz upset top-seeded Chris Gallaher at 171 pounds, the result of an injury default with Datz leading, 6-1. Jordan Kitta joined Datz in the semifinals with a 7-2 victory over higher-seeded Devon Hornebake of Forest Hills at 189.

“Those two kids are looking pretty solid,” May said.

Quick shots

Gateway’s A.J. Wilkins earned a 5-4 victory over top-seeded Austin Caldwell of Greensburg Salem at 103 pounds. Each of the top three seeds in that weight class lost to freshmen. … Norwin’s Heath Coles, expected to be the top seed at 135 pounds, was held out for disciplinary reasons, coach Todd Schuchert said. … The Kiski School, which placed second behind Greenville last winter, was replaced by Corry Area, a school near Erie that arrived with two top seeds: Austin Gillihan at 125 pounds and Nash Walters at 189.

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