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North Allegheny takes positives from county tournament

Josh Rizzo
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North Allegheny’s Jon Hoover pins Carlynton’s Collin Milko in the 170lbs bout during the ACWT at Fox Chapel Area High School.

North Allegheny senior wrestler Jon Hoover put in a full day’s work at the Allegheny County wrestling tournament.

The 170-pounder was more efficient than anyone else in the field.

Everyone who wrestled Hoover met a similar, fastidious exit.

Hoover, who was the Tigers’ lone champion, pinned all five of his opponents in a combined 2 minutes, 59 seconds.

“I honestly had no clue who I’d be wrestling,” Hoover said. “I try not to look into the brackets and just go out and wrestle against whomever is across from me.”

North Allegheny finished second with a score of 168, finishing 2.5 points behind Thomas Jefferson. Hoover, who collected his 100th win during the tournament, pinned Carlynton’s Dillon Miltko in 39 seconds in the finals.

“He was dominant and was on another level this weekend,” Tigers assistant coach Dan Heckert said. “He was crisp, aggressive and went out there and took it to his opponents.”

All of the experience gained will be valuable for Hoover and his teammates, who are getting ready to switch gears to the postseason, both individual and team.

At the county tournament, the Tigers gained plenty of valuable experience. Five North Allegheny wrestlers — Dylan Coy (106 pounds), Brad Stipetich (113), Freddy Junko (126), Max Stedeford (132) and Ben Grafton (220) — placed third.

“I think I did well at counties, but I still have much room for improvement,” Hoover said. “As for WPIALs, I will continue to work hard and refine my skills in the practice room so that I’m as ready as possible when it comes time to wrestle.”

North Allegheny (10-2) took down Butler finished in a 33-33 tie in the Section 3 tournament semifinals, but the Tigers won 8-6 on criteria of most matches won. The Tigers lost to Seneca Valley, 56-18, in the finals.

Against Butler, the Tigers won despite having to forfeit three weight classes. North Allegheny sophomore Brady Leczo helped turn the match by scoring a pin in overtime at 152 pounds.

North Allegheny’s roster, however, has been beset by injuries that will make things tough in the district playoffs.

“It’s going to be a big boost for them this year, giving them some extra matches and showing them what it takes to win close matches,” Heckert said. “They are learning for next year how to get up to the next level. It can provide the confidence they need to go to the next level individually.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.