No. 11 Pitt-Johnstown blanks Seton Hill on night PSAC honors Pecora

Jan. 27—On a night when the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference celebrated Pat Pecora, the longtime Pitt-Johnstown coach's wrestlers honored him by showcasing the aggressive style that he's preached for nearly five decades.

Isaiah Vance and Mason Myers pinned their opponents and Jacob Ealy and Noah Gnibus recorded technical falls as No. 11 Pitt-Johnstown beat Seton Hill 44-0.

Dozens of former Pitt-Johnstown wrestlers were in attendance for the school's Winterfest Weekend celebration, as were conference leaders, who honored Pecora as the PSAC male representative for the NCAA Division II 50th anniversary.

The honor caught Pecora by surprise.

"I'm looking around saying, 'I wonder why the PSAC brass is here?' They got me on that one," he said. "Abby Gearhart, she's the one that got that going. I appreciate what everyone does to make that award possible. It's a team. It's not just me. I have a great associate athletic director in Abby Gearhart. She does a great job. And having Tyler (Reinhart) as a full-time assistant coach helps me so much."

The Mountain Cats (11-2, 3-0 in PSAC) turned in the type of performance that Pecora demands, scoring bonus points in five of the 10 bouts and racking up 17 takedowns to one for Seton Hill.

"We wrestled well," Pecora said. "We were on the offense the whole time. It was alumni night. We had a great crowd.

"Any time you can get a shutout and come away with no injuries (it's good). We wrestled aggressively. We were in control of the match. I'm very, very satisfied with where we're at right now, but we want to keep getting better. That's what it's all about."

Vance, who is ranked third in the nation, pinned Lucas Allen in 2:09. It was the sixth consecutive first-period fall for Vance, who is 19-0 this season.

"I did want to put on a show because we did have a big crowd, and it's always good to get the crowd fired up, but it's that mindset that Coach talks about, pushing 110% every time, scoring points," Vance said.

A Hempfield Area High School graduate, Vance was wrestling against his former high school coaches, as Vince DeAugustine is now leading the Griffins (5-7, 1-3).

"I saw all three of my coaches from high school in a line," Vance said with a smile. "I was like, 'Dang, they're really not coaching me today! I went out and said 'All right, I'm going to show them. Even though we're on opposite teams, they did help me get to where I was. It allowed me to show them my level now to where I was in high school. I think that's a good homage to them and to me. And it showed Coach P that we have stepped up from down there to all the way up here."

Myers got the bonus-point barrage started with a first-period fall over Jacob Gardner at 141 pounds, and Ealy, who is ranked third nationally at 149 pounds, followed with a 17-1 technical fall over Nolan Daerr.

"Mason went out and took control and got the big-time pin," Pecora said. "Mason's coming along. He was off a whole year. I love the way he wrestles.

"And Jake Ealy's Jake Ealy."

Seton Hill's Christian Hirak gave Richland grad Cooper Warshel a competitive match into the third period before the Griffin suffered an apparent leg injury and was forced to default.

Gnibus added a 15-0 technical fall over Riley O'Mara at 184 pounds for Pitt-Johnstown's other bonus-point win.

Fifth-ranked Dakoda Rodgers gave up the opening takedown to Brendan Finnerty at 197 pounds — Seton Hill's only takedown of the night — but escaped and scored one of his own in a 6-3 victory. Dillon Keane added an 8-2 victory over Collin Hearn and Tony Salopek beat Kane Kettering 7-2 at 184.

Trevon Gray scored three first-period takedowns on his way to a 16-4 major decision victory over William Burgess at 125. Forest Hills graduate Byron Daubert followed with a 9-4 win over Kyle Burkholder at 133.

The Mountain Cats improved to 15-0 all time against Seton Hill. Combined with last weekend's victory over American International, Pitt-Johnstown has won its past two duals by a score of 100-0.