The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

Standout Wrestler From Greater Latrobe Places 5th at States

Willochell gets win in WPIAL Semifinal

On Saturday, March 2nd standout junior for The Greater Latrobe Wrestling Team, Luke Willochell won his third straight WPIAL title. Luke defeated a familiar opponent in Tyler Kapusta from Franklin Regional 1-0 for the title. It was a hard-fought match with defense and grit, fending off Kapusta to become 6-0 all-time against him. 


Luke Willochell has been a standout wrestler for the Wildcats since his freshman year. Willochell was a state runner-up in his freshman season and last year he placed 5th at states. These great feats have allowed Luke to commit to the University Of Wyoming which wrestles out of the Big 12. Luke looked to come into WPIALs and capture his third straight title. 


Willochell started off the tournament very smoothly, not spending much time on the mats. In his first two matches, Willochell spent around 25 seconds wrestling before he pinned both his opponents.

Willochell locks up cradle leading to his 2nd round pin at WPIALs


Things would get tougher from here as WPIALs is one of the hardest wrestling tournaments in the country. He had some tough matches, but he was going for first, so he was ready for any challenge. In the semi-final match, Willochell had to deal with Cannon McMillan’s 121lb wrestler who was 23-7 on the season. Willochell had his toughest match of the tournament but still was able to fight for the 8-4 win by decision. 


Willochell made it to the finals going up against Tyler Kapusta. “You know sometimes people get upset they have a hard section match. I think having a harder section match sets people up for WPIALs,” said Willochell. These two had met five times before with Luke winning all five matches, but they always have very good battles. Just the week before these two went at it in the section finals. Kapusta had forced overtime in that match but Luke still came out with the victory. “I’m very confident, but at the same time, my head’s not getting too big. But if I win a third title, it sets me up to win a fourth, which no one has ever done at Latrobe,” said Luke.  


In the WPIAL championships, the two went scoreless through the first period. In the second period, Kapusta took top and Willochell got out to head into the third period up 1-0. In the final period, Willochell rode Kapusta for the entire two-minute period to capture the 1-0 win and his third straight WPIAL title. 


This win for Willochell capped off a great season as he moved into the PIAA State Championships. Willochell entered the state tournament with an overall record of 31-1.  The WPIAL finals win over Kapusta proved to be a large one for overall seeding in the state championships. As the state tournament bracket is pre-seeded, he got placed on the bottom half of the bracket, keeping him away from some strong wrestlers on the top half of the bracket. Willochell being such a high seed, allowed him to have easier matches in the first few rounds of the tournament. 


Willochell breezed into the semi-finals before meeting wrestler Keanu Dillard. This proved to be a very tough match for Luke as he fell in overtime in the semi-finals, putting him into the consolation bracket with another tough draw. As Kapusta defeated top-seeded wrestler, Mason Ziegler, out of Quakertown. Willochell was up against Ziegler in the constellations where Ziegler won 11-8 putting Luke back into the 5th and 6th place match. Willochell defeated his opponent in the 5th place match, getting 5th place at his second straight state championships. 

A look at Luke’s brother Gabe’s plaque at the high school


One thing that has helped Luke get to this point in his career was becoming a state runner-up in his freshman year. Kapusta, who Willochell is now 6-0 against, lost to Dillard 3-1 by decision in the state championships. Willochell had a tough draw in the state bracket, but with a loss to the overall one seed, and an overtime loss to the state champion, it shows that Luke was better than 5th this year at states and makes his push for his first state title next year even more in reach. If Willochell is able to have a successful season next year, winning counties, sections, WPIALs, and placing at states, he would be the first wrestler in Latrobe history to win those tournaments and place at states in all 4 years of his high school career. That would put him in a group of excellent wrestlers to go to Latrobe like Zach Zavatsky who finished his high school career with a record of 166-18. Gabe Willochell finished high school with a record of 134-27 and is wrestling at the University of Wyoming right now. And Luke Pletcher who was in 166-5  high school and wrestled at Ohio St. University, and qualified for the national tournament 4 times. 

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About the Contributor
Ryan Baughman
Ryan Baughman, Staff Writer
Ryan Baughman is a junior at Greater Latrobe highschool. He is 16 years old and is part of the Highpost team at Latrobe. Ryan is a huge sports fan and is able to contribute to the highpost team with many posts about the sporting events going on at school. Ryan is also apart of the Golf team here at Latrobe and is able to write and post about matches and other news regarding the team. Ryan plans on going to a college after highschool to major in journalism and hopes to later on in life continue to write about sports for a bigger audience like he does now for the high post team. This is Ryan’s first year on the high post team and is very excited to learn the ways to write good stories and learn his place on this talented high post team. Ryan works outside of school at Giannilli’s restaurant, he started working there just a few weeks ago. Ryan enjoys golfing for fun outside of school as well and spends most of his nights at the course trying to improve for school matches. He also enjoys spending time with family and friends on the weekends and sitting down to watch college football and NFL games. His favorite teams are the Penn state Nittany Lions and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ryan can’t wait to get this year started and share all of his work throughout the next few months. 

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