P-R wrestlers gaining steam with Allegheny County tournament finish
After winning seven of its last nine WPIAL matches, the Pine-Richland wrestling team continued to solidify its upward trajectory with a strong finish at the 18th annual Allegheny County wrestling tournament held Jan. 18-19 at Fox Chapel.
The Rams (7-3, 2-3) finished fourth out of 37 teams at the tournament after placing four wrestlers in the top three of their respective weight classes and piling up 141.5 points.
“These guys, they’re coming along. I love it,” coach Caleb Kolb said. “Rob Hunt, one of my assistant coaches, was sending me some stats that show how much we’ve improved.
“Chartiers-Houston was our first tournament, and we went 17-15 overall on the mat and pinned six of our opponents.
“We got pinned 10 times. At the Allegheny County tournament, we were 32-15 as a team. We earned 22 falls as opposed to our guys getting pinned just six times. Seeing it on paper, it feels like we’re really improving.”
One of the Rams who improved on his finish from last season’s event was junior Nate Lukez, who took first place in the 138-pound division after collecting third at 120 last season.
Lukez earned a spotless 5-0 record, culminating in a 6-5 decision victory against Chartiers Valley’s Zachary Macy in the title match.
Lukez is 22-4 on the season.
“Nate is totally focused all the time, and it pays off,” Kolb said. “He wants to come in and practice before school. Then, he’ll go to school, go to our team practice, go home and do his homework, then go back and practice more at his club.
“He’s something else. I’m really pumped for him, and I think he’s going to continue to do big things.”
A pair of sophomores, Cole Spencer and Miguel Jackson, took third in their respective weight classes. Spencer went 4-1 at 152, and Jackson went 5-1 at 285.
Freshman Kelin Laffey turned in an impressive tournament, grabbing third at 120.
His 5-1 showing at the tournament boosted his record to 19-5.
The next match on Pine-Richland’s calendar is 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at Thomas Jefferson.
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.