It may be spring, but wrestling is taking center stage for one former area standout.
Luke Pletcher, a three-time state champion at Greater Latrobe High School who’s now a volunteer assistant at the University of Pittsburgh, recently qualified for the upcoming World Team Trials.
A four-time NCAA qualifier and two-time All-American at Ohio State, where he won a Big Ten Conference title at 141 pounds as a senior after finishing as runner-up the previous two years, Pletcher secured a berth in the World Team Trials with his place-finish in the recent UWW Senior Freestyle Nationals in Coralville, Iowa.
Pletcher placed fourth at 65 kilos (143) to earn a spot in the trials. He lost to eventual champion Jaydin Eierman of Iowa, 9-5, in the semifinals.
At Ohio State, Pletcher compiled a 108-21 career record, including 26-1 as a senior. During his high school days, he also was a two-time Super 32 champion.
Micky Phillippi (Derry Area), a redshirt junior at Pitt, also participated in the UWW Senior Freestyle Nationals at 61 kilos. After receiving a bye, Phillippi — a three-time state champion in high school — won his round-of-16 match before falling in the quarterfinals.
Just like his team did, Zach Kokoska (Greater Latrobe) had three big games in Kansas State’s recent three-game, non-conference sweep of Texas Southern.
Kokoska had two hits in the series opener, three in the second game while also driving in a pair of runs, and went 2-for-2 with a double and his team-leading 13th home run in the third contest. In doing so, the junior outfielder extended his career-best, on-base streak to 39 games and has hit safely in 27 of his last 29 games for Kansas State (27-16).
This season, Kokoska is now batting .371 (59 of 159) with 39 runs batted in, 14 doubles and 23 walks with slugging and on-base percentages of .704 and .435, respectively. His fielding percentage stands at .979.
Jared Kollar (Greater Latrobe), a senior right-handed pitcher at Seton Hill, has appeared in three games — all wins — this season, tossing 13 innings with 23 strikeouts and only six walks and six hits allowed.
Despite striking out six batters in as many innings, senior Ryan Shawley (Greater Latrobe) suffered the loss in Chatham’s 7-3 non-conference loss to Grove City. He allowed four earned runs (three earned).
Chatham (9-21) dropped three of four games to Grove City. In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, a 5-1 victory for Chatham, Shawley had a two-run single.
Shawley has pitched a total of 39 innings this season with 32 strikeouts (17 walks). He’s given up 52 hits and 25 earned runs.
At the plate, Shawley is 13 of 40 (.325) with seven RBI and one double. He’s also drawn 10 walks.
Jake Bradish (Greater Latrobe), a freshman right-hander for Penn State-Altoona, has now pitched more than 13 innings in four games — two of them starts — with eight strikeouts, four walks and an 8.10 ERA. He’s surrendered 18 hits and 16 runs.
Matt Henderson and Logan Gustafson, both from Greater Latrobe, appeared in separate games of Westmoreland County Community College’s recent doubleheader against Kent State-Tuscarawas.
A sophomore infielder/pitcher, Henderson had one hit in three at-bats in WCCC’s 13-3 win. In 28 games played, he is batting .222 (14 of 63) with 14 RBI and seven runs scored. On the mound, Henderson is 0-4 in nearly 19 innings with 19 strikeouts (27 walks) and 34 earned runs.
Gustafson pitched four innings in the Wolfpack’s 15-14 victory, but did not get the decision. He gave up five runs (three earned) and five hits.
A freshman left-hander, Gustafson (1-4) has appeared in eight games with six starts. In 34 innings, he’s allowed 59 hits and 40 earned runs with 16 strikeouts (26 walks). He has 32 at-bats with four hits.
Ashley Noel (Greater Latrobe) and Taylor Bojtos (Ligonier Valley) both figured in Pitt-Greensburg’s two games with Medaille and Hilbert.
Bojtos, a freshman, posted a team-best four hits in the doubleheader against Medaille, but Pitt-Greensburg dropped both games, 7-6 and 6-2. She also had a double and four runs as the Bobcats swept Hilbert, 11-5 and 7-1.
Noel, a sophomore, had an RBI-double in the opener vs. Hilbert.
Chelsea Bisi (Derry Area) had a single in Penn State’s 7-1 home defeat to No. 19-ranked Michigan.
Having started 14 games, the junior infielder is seven of 38 (.184) with three RBI, one double and one walk.
Rebecca Tatone (Greater Latrobe), a junior pitcher, appeared in two games for Gannon against Pitt-Johnstown, earning her 10th win and third shutout of the season. She limited Pitt-Johnstown to only two hits in the Golden Knights’ 10-0 victory in the opener.
Tatone then made her 12th start of the season, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits in Gannon’s 7-4 win in the nightcap.
Then, in a 2-1 triumph over Tiffin, Tatone, earned a save with two strikeouts and a pair of walks. She was named Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Athlete of the Week following victories against Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Gannon now enters the PSAC playoffs as the No. 2 seed. The Knights host No. 3 seed California University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
Lexie Petrof (Ligonier Valley), a redshirt sophomore pitcher, helped Akron secure two Mid-American Conference wins over Western Michigan.
Getting the start for the Zips (6-33, 5-20) in the first game, Petrof struck out five batters in 2.1 innings in a 7-2 victory. She also pitched in the team’s 9-4 win.
This season, Petrof is 2-7, giving up 66 hits and 26 earned runs in more than 62 innings. She’s also struck out 46 batters (24 walks).
Sophomore Kiley Myers (Greater Latrobe) has pitched in two games for Marist. In nearly 12 innings, she’s struck out 10 and walked four while giving up 10 hits and seven earned runs.
TRACK AND FIELD
Jacob Burkey (Greater Latrobe), a sophomore for the Seton Hill men’s team, placed fourth in the javelin at the West Virginia University Twilight on Saturday.
Next up for Seton Hill is the PSAC Championships, which start on Thursday.