PG North: Shady Side Academy senior's main goal is to win another PIAA wrestling title
Shady Side Academy's Frank Martellotti hopes to be celebrating in Hershey, Pa., when this season ends in March.
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Frank Martellotti could have waited and had his choice of several scholarship offers, but this Shady Side Academy senior wanted to continue his wrestling career at Penn State.
It didn't matter that Nittany Lions coach Cael Sanderson didn't have a scholarship available.
"I visited State College just over a month ago and immediately felt it was the right place for me," Martellotti said. "I've always wanted to wrestle at Penn State. I will get that chance next year."
Martellotti is a three-time PIAA Class AA place-winner and one-time champion. He is also a three-time WPIAL finalist and two-time champion.
"I loved everything about my visit," Martellotti said. "I was most impressed by the coaching staff and its dedication to being the best through hard work and practice."
Martellotti has a chance to become only the second Shady Side Academy wrestler to become a four-time PIAA place-winner. The first was Dane Johnson, who graduated last spring after winning his third consecutive PIAA title and placing for the fourth time.
"I will be a walk-on at either 133 or 141," Martellotti said. "Cael [Sanderson] told me that if I worked hard and earned a spot in the starting lineup, he would hook me up with scholarship money."
Martellotti realizes that earning a spot in Penn State's starting lineup will be no easy task.
"I could have gone to other Division I schools and received a scholarship, but the challenge of wrestling for Penn State really intrigued me. It will show me what I'm made of."
Martellotti made his Shady Side Academy debut as a 103-pound freshman and captured WPIAL and PIAA titles. He finished the season with a near perfect 42-1 record.
As a sophomore, Martellotti moved up to 112 pounds and fell short of defending both titles, while posting a 50-11 record. He lost in overtime in the WPIAL title match to Keystone Oaks' Anthony Zanetta, then finished fourth in the Southwest Region, and third in the PIAA.
Last season, Martellotti moved up to the 130-pound weight class and won WPIAL and Southwest Region titles. He advanced to the PIAA semifinals, where he dropped a 4-2 overtime decision to Wyomissing's Nick Hodgkins, the eventual champion.
"It's been such a disappointment to finish third the past two years after winning the title as a freshman," Martellotti said. "I should have done things better the last couple years."
Martellotti finished his junior season with a 31-7 record and enters his final season with a 123-19 career record.
"Winning a second PIAA title is even more important this year, because it's my last chance," Martellotti said. "Winning as a freshman will not mean as much if I can't win a second state title."
Martellotti, who will be competing at 130 during the regular season, was sidelined for a couple months over the summer.
"I broke my collarbone in a snowboarding accident in Colorado a month or so after the high school season ended," he said. "I didn't need any surgery, but my parents were not too happy."
It did keep Martellotti from wrestling in the summer.
"I had planned to wrestle for a club team at the Disney Duals in July, but I didn't get a medical clearance until the day the team left for Florida."
Fortunately the collarbone has healed and Martellotti is healthy and ready to go.
"We're opening the season this weekend at the Ironman Tournament [in Ohio]," Martellotti said. "The Ironman is the second strongest tournament in the country.
"I placed eighth at the Ironman last year, but had to forfeit my last two matches due to a back injury."
Shady Side Academy placed second in the WPIAL and PIAA team tournaments last season.
"It would be nice to finally win a team tournament title," Martelloti said.
Shady Side Academy did claim a pair of team championships at the PIAA individual tournaments.
"It was pretty cool to win a second team title at the individual tournament," Martellotti.
"But winning another individual title at Hershey is my biggest goal."
First Published December 10, 2009 12:00 am