North Xtra: 3 Shaler wrestlers headed to nationals
June 20, 2013 4:00 AM
Shaler Area wrestler Jordan McGonigle, bottom, wrestles North Hills' Tyler Walker in a 126-pound match in January. McGonigle qualified June 1-2 for the USA Wrestling national championships, which will be held July 12-20.
By Ken Wunderley Tri-State Sports & News Service
It was triple fun for the Shaler High School wrestling program at the Pennsylvania Amateur Wrestling Federation state championships, which were held June 1-2 at Chambersburg High School.
"We had three kids qualify for Cadet Nationals," said Shaler coach Drew D'Agostino, referring to the USA Wrestling national championships, which will be held July 12-20 at North Dakota State University in Fargo.
"I can't remember the last time we had three kids going to Fargo," D'Agostino said. "In fact, the last Shaler wrestlers to compete at nationals were the Nelson twins, Matt and Nick. They went in 2006 [after their junior year at Shaler]."
Jordan McGonigle qualified in freestyle, while Titans teammates Jake Hartman and Jake Mikovitz qualified in Greco-Roman. McGonigle is a two-year starter who completed his sophomore year at Shaler.
"I've done a little freestyle wrestling the past few years, but didn't really take it seriously until this year," said McGonigle, who qualified in the 126-pound weight class by placing third in the state in freestyle.
"I considered entering the Greco-Roman tournament, but I don't really like greco, and I'm not very good at it. I do enjoy freestyle."
McGonigle placed third in the PAWF state championships, losing to Hayden Hidlay and Cameron Coy.
"This will be the biggest tournament I've ever wrestled in, by far," McGonigle said. "My goal is to win at least one match. If I can win one, who knows what could happen. I just want to take them one at a time and try not to worry about anything else. Just go out and have fun."
McGonigle placed second in Class AAA Section 3 as a 106-pound freshman in 2012, but was injured in the section title match and was forced to scratch at the WPIAL/Southwest Regional. He finished with a 26-5 record.
"It was really disappointing to make it to the section finals and then not participate in the WPIAL tournament," McGonigle said.
McGonigle moved to 126 pounds for his sophomore year at Shaler and posted a 28-9 record. He placed third in Section 3 and eighth in the WPIAL.
"My goal for the upcoming season is to qualify for the PIAA tournament and place," McGonigle said.
Hartman and Mikovitz broke into the starting lineup as freshmen this year, but both had their season end early due to injuries. Hartman had a 10-4 record competing at 132. Mikovitz had a 5-4 mark at 145.
"We lost Hartman at the start of January during a match at Plum," D'Agostino said. "Mikovitz was hurt at the Allegheny County tournament. It was really disappointing, because both were making good progress."
Hartman and Mikovitz qualified for the Cadet National Greco-Roman Championships at 132 and 138, respectively.
"They leave July 8 for training camp, and I leave July 12," said McGonigle, referring to the three-day intensive camp for all Pennsylvania wrestlers competing at Fargo. "They just told me to be ready for hard practices."
All three train at the Angry Fish Wrestling Club, which is coached by former North Allegheny standouts Ty Moore and Rich Catalano.
"All three kids have been working hard since the high school season ended," D'Agostino said. "Going to Fargo is a great opportunity for them."