Luke Willochell defeating his opponent at home against Hemfield
Luke Willochell defeating his opponent at home against Hemfield

Luke Willochell the leader of the pack

The Wildcat varsity wrestling team will start the first round of team playoffs with a dual meet at Franklin Regional against West Allegheny. If they win that match they will then go against the winner of the Pine Richland or Hempfield.  

Luke Willochell ,wrestling at 121 ,is climbing up the rankings in the wrestling world. After Luke went 38-4 last year, he decided this season was going to be even better. At this moment Willochell’s record this year is 23-1 with 23 pins and it is just going to keep getting better as he races to the Giant Center.The average high school wrestler gets about 120 matches, give or take and roughly should get around 30 pins. Willochell has almost hit 30 pins in one single season. Luke is a great leader of the team and is working to not only make himself better but also make his team better along the way. 

“The main goal for me is to get a state title, but it would be amazing to see the team make it to states.” Said Willichell, “We are all becoming better wrestlers and it’s really showing.”

The team has worked so hard for the place they are at and hope to finish first. 

      Luke isn’t the first Willochell to help lead his team to the top. Gabe Willochell is a 2020 Greater Latrobe graduate who had an overall high school record of 134-28 and got 6th at states as a sophomore, 4th as a junior and finished off his high school career getting 3rd as a senior.

Luke’s oldest brother, Jake Willochell, is a Greater Latrobe 2015 graduate who had an overall record of 69-44 and his senior year he was 3rd in the section. The rivalry in the Willochell house is crazy as they each reach to beat the other brother. 

“I tend to try and put Jakes technique and Gabe’s technique and put them together, I feel like I am a mix of them both and I don’t really have a style, so I just go out there and just let it fly but a lot of people ask ‘What brother do you shape your style to be?’ I just tell them both.” On November 11th, 2023 Luke announced his commitment to continue his academic and athletic career as a Wyoming Cowboy, following in his brother,Gabe’s, footsteps. Luke was only in 8th grade when Gabe graduated, so he fell a year short to get to wrestle alongside his brother, but lucky for those boys they will get to wrestle on the same team for one season as Cowboys. 

Luke continues every day to push himself and be a better wrestler than he was the day before and he truly is proving it to the fans. Even though Willochell has more than the average amount of pins but the match against Connellsvile almost costed Luke him to get pinned for the first time this season, “I was on my back,usually when I’m on my back I close my eyes and so I was just trying to fight with my eyes closed. I opened my eyes up and the whole crowd was going crazy so I was just trying not to get pinned, because I stress to my team how important it is not to get pinned so I got in that position and I would have never thought I would be in that position. I did it for my team and myself.” 

This match determined the rest of the season for the team. If they win they will continue the season and keep battling for states, but if they lose they will all be competing individually. 

Best of luck to Luke and the rest of the team as they all race to The Giant Center!

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