South Xtra: New coach in charge at Upper St. Clair

HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING

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When Upper St. Clair wrestling coach Emil Deliere decided to step down after 18 seasons, he recommended Sean O'Rourke as his successor.

"Sean was a volunteer assistant the past two years," Deliere said. "He wrestled for Hampton and had good experience. He's a gentleman and has a good rapport with the kids. He also works at the high school, which is a big advantage. When I decided to step down, Sean was my recommendation to our athletic department."

Deliere is a doctor at Pittsburgh Pulmonary Associates, which is located at Jefferson Hospital.

"We have fewer partners than when I first started it, and we're going to have even fewer in a short period of time," Deliere said. "The hours just aren't there to coach. I couldn't guarantee that I could be there during every day of the week or on weekends, and I didn't want to short-change the kids."

Deliere has agreed to stay on as a volunteer assistant.

"Emil has been to some of our practices and he came [Dec. 8 to the second day of the] Chartiers-Houston Tournament," O'Rourke said.

"It's great to still have him in the picture. Having him around if I have any questions has made the transition very easy."

Deliere is one of 62 WPIAL coaches who recorded 140 or more wins in his career. He finished with a 143-145 record.

"I have a whole lot of memories," Deliere said. "There were so many good memories."

Deliere didn't want to list those memories, but did have a special affection for last year's senior class.

"Last year's team was especially memorable," Deliere said. "We had five seniors who were very good, and were also gentlemen. Four of the five are in college, including three who are wrestling at college."

O'Rourke, a 2004 graduate of Hampton High School, won a section title in his senior year.

"I attended Grove City College and graduated with an English degree," O'Rourke said. "I started working at Upper St. Clair the following September. This is my fifth year as a ninth-grade English teacher."

O'Rourke began wrestling in third grade, but put his career on hold during college because Grove City doesn't have a wrestling team.

"I volunteered the last two years and learned a lot from coach Deliere," O'Rourke said. "It's a great honor to follow in his footsteps."

O'Rourke made his head coaching debut at the Chartiers-Houston Tournament. The Panthers had four place-winners, including D.J. Wilding, who won the 160-pound weight class title.

New coach at Charleroi, too

Charleroi Area High School also has a new varsity coach -- Chad Alexis has replaced Dave Nelson.

"I was Dave Nelson's assistant last year," Alexis said. "I've also worked with Junior Olympics programs."

Alexis graduated in 2005 from Kane High School in McKean County. He attained undergraduate and graduate degrees at California University of Pennsylvania.

"I'm still looking for a teaching position," Alexis said. "I've been working as a personal trainer for athletes."

Alexis takes over a program that has struggled for numbers the past several years.

"We finished with eight kids last season," Alexis said. "This year, we have 10. We're young and inexperienced with only three kids from last year's team [returning].

"It's a challenge that my assistant, Tamba Marenah, and I are looking forward to."

Alexis made his head coaching debut at the Chartiers Houston Tournament this past weekend.

The Cougars had one place-winner as Nick Gavazzi claimed the 145-pound title.

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