Gavin Garcia Wins 7th PJW State Title

JOHNSTOWN – Gavin Garcia etched his name into Pennsylvania wrestling history on Sunday.

The Southern Columbia eighth-grader won his seventh Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling title, becoming just the fourth wrestler to hit that mark. He joins Cary Kolat (1988 Jefferson-Morgan) and Rocky Anderson (1997 Southmoreland/Mount Pleasant) with seven. Only Nico Cortese (2004 Franklin Regional) has more.

“It means a lot knowing that I’m one of the best to come out of this state,” Garcia after standing atop the podium at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown. “So I’ll just look forward to next year, where it really counts.”

While Cortese and Anderson each made the podium in Hershey, neither ever stood atop it. Garcia will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Kolat, who went undefeated on his way to four PIAA titles.

“That’s the goal: four-time state champ,” Garcia said. “Everybody’s saying that PJWs don’t mean stuff. We always have arguments. Just get ready for next year. Hopefully get that gold for the first year.”

Garcia’s family knows plenty about the PIAA championships. His father, Mike, was a three-time PIAA champion for Mount Carmel in the 1990s and his brother Gaige is ranked third at 182 pounds after placing fifth as a freshman in 2017.

Gavin Garcia qualified for the PJW tournament for the first time in 2010 but did not place. He hasn’t lost a match in it since. The only break in his string came in 2016, when he wasn’t eligible to compete because he had aged out of the 11-12-year-old category but wasn’t yet in junior high.

He went 5-0 at 147 pounds this weekend in Johnstown, with falls in each of his first two matches. He beat Latrobe’s Jack Pletcher 10-0 in the quarterfinals. A 6-1 victory over Alex Taylor of Bellwood-Antis moved Garcia to the finals, where he beat Solanco’s Nicholas Feldman 7-3 for his seventh title.

Southern Columbia’s Gavin Garcia stands atop the podium after winning his seventh PJW title.

“Just every year, doing the same thing,” Garcia said. “It doesn’t really matter what the score is as long as at the end of the match you get the win.”

He wasn’t the only Southern Coumbia wrestler to win a title. Teammate Kole Biscoe captured the 112-pound championship while Dyer Stine finished second at 252 pounds. Wesley Barnes was third at 140, helping the Tigers to a second-place finish in the team standings, just 1.5 points behind champion Waynesburg.

“Every day our team is doing a lot of extra, trying to be the best,” Garcia said. “Undefeated as a dual team, placed high at all of the tournaments – just a great team to work out with.”



77 Hunter Sloan (Central Bucks East) DEC Carson Wagner (Northampton), 4-2 TB2
82 Jacob Vandee (Union City) DEC Chad Ozias (Connellsville), 5-2
87 Tyler Kasak (Central Bucks East) F Conner Harer (Muncy), 2:21
92 Mac Church (Waynesburg) DEC Ty Watters (West Allegheny), 1-0
97 Jackson Arrington (Forest Hills) DEC Nico Taddy (West Allegheny), 7-1
102 Cole Homet (Waynesburg) DEC Levi Haines (Biglerville), 4-3
107 Rocco Welsh (Waynesburg) DEC Riley Bower (Williamsport), 3-2
112 Kole Biscoe (Southern Columbia) DEC Noah Teeter (Forest Hills), 5-0
117 Hunter Mays (Pennsbury) MD Nolan Daerr (Hempfield), 13-3
124 Jared Keslar (Connellsville) DEC Nick Foster (East Stroudsburg), 4-3
132 Grant Mackay (North Allegheny) DEC Jack Rimpa (Fort Leboeuf), 1-0
140 Erik Gibson (Forest Hills) DEC Mac Stout (Mount Lebanon), 6-4
147 Gavin Garcia (Southern Columbia) DEC Nicholas Feldman (Solanco), 7-3
157 Ty Nixon (Muncy) DEC Campbell Walls (Hollidaysburg), 12-5
167 Cole Weightman (Belle Vernon) DEC Elijah Sellinger (Jersey Shore), 4-1
187 Brayden Roscosky (Kiski Area) DEC Logan Harmon (Apollo Ridge), 4-3
212 Kolby Franklin (DuBois) TF Ty Banco (Trinity), 17-2 2:43
252 Trevor Manley (Altoona) F Dyer Stine (Southern Columbia), 4:11


Third Place

77 Zachary Jacaruso (Delaware Valley) DEC Nikolaus Oneill (Philadelphia), 3-2
82 Nic Allison (Mifflin County) DEC Levi Donnel (Butler), 3-0
87 Luke Simcox (Central Mountain) DEC Easton Toth (Forest Hills), 4-2
92 Scott Johnson (Muncy) DEC Chris Arciuolo (Bethlehem), 4-2
97 Dante Frinzi (Quakertown) DEC Connor Pierce (Harborcreek), 8-2
102 Braden Bower (Williamsport) DEC Jrake Burford (Highlands), 10-3
107 Rune Lawrence (Frazier) DEC Kelin Laffey (Pine Richland), 4-3
112 Brandon Chletsos (Easton) MD Dylan Bruce (Elizabeth Forward), 8-0
117 Colton Stoneking (Waynesburg) DEC Marek Seaman (West Chester Rustin), 3-1
124 Brian Allen (Abington) DEC Luke Moore (Chestnut Ridge), 3-2
132 Matthew Chase (Wilkes-Barre Area) DEC Isaiah Wright (Daniel Boone), 5-0
140 Wesley Barnes (Southern Columbia) MD Mark Mcgonigal (Clearfield), 11-3
147 Jack Pletcher (Latrobe) DEC Alex Taylor (Bellwood Antis), 9-5
157 Alijah Wheeler (Bermudian Springs) DEC Brock White jr. (Burrell), 3-0
167 Noah Tustin (Waynesburg) DEC John Campbell (Cathedral Prep), 8-3
187 Jeffrey Meader (Lake Lehman) DEC Oliver Billotte (Clearfield), 2-1
212 Brayden Crocker (Oil City) F Andrew Sampson (Moon), 0:37
252 Stone Joseph (Kiski Area) DEC Dakota Marion (Belle Vernon), 4-3 UTB


Fifth Place

77 Jake Doone (Nazareth) MD Logan Richey (Quaker Valley), 16-2
82 Luke Mentzer (Chambersburg Area) F Troy Hohman (Penn Trafford), 3:29
87 Vincent Citrano (Plum) DEC Nicholas Gorman (North Allegheny), 3-0
92 Calan Bollman (Chestnut Ridge) DEC Ganon Smith (Newport), 6-4
97 Nathan Roth (Latrobe) DEC Cooper Price (Wilkes Barre), 4-2
102 Costa Moore (Canon-McMillan) DEC Gabriel Golden (Latrobe), 2-1
107 Noah Gnibus (Mt. Pleasant) DEC Dylan Evans (Chartiers Valley), 4-2
112 Carter Gill (Hickory) MD Harley Morris (Kane), 13-0
117 Hayden Mann (Harry S. Truman) DEC Nicholas Velde (Emmaus), 8-1
124 Reagan Lefevre (Hempfield) DEC Brett Thompson (Bradford), 4-2
132 Chase Kranitz (Norwin) MD Ryan Weyandt (Forest Hills), 13-5
140 Savauri Shelton (Bermudian Springs) F Aiden Zimmerman (Johnsonburg), 3:34
147 Isaac Cory (Troy Area) DEC Dustin Flinn (Brockway), 10-3
157 Kaleb Stamm (Philipsburg-Osceola) F Maximus Madden (Shamokin Area), 0:00
167 Patrick Cutchember (Fox Chapel) FOR Conner Cummins (Hampton)
187 Joshua Sarasnick (Chartiers Valley) DEC Matthew Cruise (Easton), 2-1
212 Dale Moehring (Kiski Area) F Cael Black (Eisenhower), 2:00
252 Joshua Schaffer (Northern Lehigh) DEC Matthew Watkins (Tussey Mountain), 4-1


Seventh Place

77 Connor Demcher (Pottsville) MD Lane Whitmer (Trinity), 9-1
82 Jaden Pepe (Wyoming Area) DEC Briar Priest (Hempfield), 3-1
87 Kane Kettering (Reynolds) DEC Dominic Federici (Wyoming Seminary), 7-2
92 Luke Geibig (Gcc) DEC Matthew Repos (Palmyra), 3-2 TB2
97 Dylan Coy (North Allegheny) MD Bryson Vaughn (Easton), 9-0
102 Dagen Condomitti (Northampton) DEC Jakob Gilfoil (Central Dauphin), 2-0
107 Brandon Dami (Canon-McMillan) F Nolan Barr (Clearfield), 3:05
112 Colton Minerva (Norwin) DEC Gavin Richard (Daniel Boone), 4-2 SV
117 Caleb Canavan (Cathedral Prep) FOR Christopher Beatty (Chartiers Valley)
124 Jacob Cornelius (Fort Leboeuf) DEC Kobin Karper (South Middleton), 4-2
132 William Morrow (North Penn) DEC Christian Reed (Penncrest (Media)), 2-1
140 Jared Groller (Emmaus) DEC Kelyn Blossey (Fort Leboeuf), 7-4
147 Liam Volk-klos (Seneca Valley) F Bryce Molinaro (Hazleton area), 2:09
157 Ethan Hiester (Upper St. Clair) DEC Dennis Slovick (Burgettstown), 6-3
167 Hayden Linkerhof (Corry) DEC Parker Owens (Lampeter-Strasburg), 6-2
187 Nikolas Miller (Central Mountain) DEC Nick Domico (Clearfield), 4-2
212 Billy Mcchesney (Greensburg Salem) F Hunter Hertzog (Northern York County), 0:56
252 Dominic Sheidy (Governor Mifflin) DEC Bill Anderson (Warren), 1-0


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