Five Takeaways From The Southmoreland Holiday Classic

A month into the season, we might have found the most improved wrestler in the state. That’s one of the biggest takeaways from the Southmoreland Holiday Classic, which wrapped up on Friday.

Here’s what we learned at the two-day tournament, which Greensburg-Salem won:


Big Impression

The 195-pound weight class featured the Nos. 2, 5 and 17 wrestlers in the state, but it was an unseeded wrestler with a 0-0 record who walked away with the title.

Luke Montgomery, who burst onto the scene by winning The Surge title last month, made another splash here. Until then, the Bethel Park junior had flown under the radar. After going 25-14 as a freshman, he slipped to 13-12 last season.

So it wasn’t a surprise that Montgomery was unseeded going into the Southmoreland tournament. After a tech fall over Burgettstown’s Ethan Brothers in the first round, he stunned No. 2 Dominic Fundy of Beth-Center, 10-5, in the second-round. Montgomery needed just 58 seconds to pin Jefferson-Morgan’s Jonathan Wolfe in the quarterfinals, then took out Upper St. Clair’s Harvey Rauch – No. 17 in AAA – by a 12-5 score to reach the finals.

Montgomery capped his stunning run with a 5-0 victory over North Star’s Hunter Tremain – No. 5 in AA – in the finals.

After that performance, Montgomery is about to shoot up the rankings – and onto everyone’s radar.


Underdogs’ Day

Montgomery’s victory might have been the most extreme in overcoming odds to win a title, but he was far from the only underdog to leave Southmoreland with a championship.

Of the 14 champions only four – South Park’s Joey Fischer, Burgettstown’s Shane Kemper, Butler’s Jack Codispot and Beth-Center’s Jacob Baker – did it as the top seed.

A few of the wrestlers to fall from the top line were from outside of the Keystone State, and it’s often hard to determine where to seed those wrestlers. Some of it also is due to the fact that we’re still early in the season, and some very talented young wrestlers don’t yet have enough on their resumes to warrant a high seed.

Whatever the reason, it was a great tournament in which to have the odds stacked against you.


Pleasant Future

Mount Pleasant might not be the most formidable dual meet team, but the Vikings showed that they have some very strong individuals, and the program appears to be headed in the right direction.

Located just a few miles from Southmoreland, Mount Pleasant looked right at home in the Scotties’ gymnasium. Six of the seven Vikings entered in the event placed – including first-place finishes by Noah Gnibus (113), Noah Teeter (120) and Dayton Pitzer (182). Throw in Luke Geibig’s second-place finish at 106, and Mount Pleasant had a wrestler in more than a quarter of the finals.

Even more impressive is the fact that all four of those are freshmen. The Vikings haven’t had a single senior wrestle a match this season.


Cassidy’s Cruise

The 132-pound bracket wasn’t the strongest at Southmoreland, but Kaden Cassidy’s performance was still quite impressive. The Bedford junior went 4-0 with four technical falls, outscoring his opponents by a combined score of 62-0.

The George Mason recruit regularly scored first-period takedowns, and quickly built insurmountable leads with his top game. The scary part? Cassidy said he’s still not back to where he wants to be after missing almost all of last season with a thumb injury.

While he’s now healthy, Cassidy estimated that he’s only about 80 percent in terms of execution. He said he should be completely caught up to speed by mid-January – just in time for a possible rematch with Everett’s Garret Cornell, the only wrestler to beat him in 14 matches this season.



While Cassidy was teching his way to a title, Upper St. Clair’s Jake Slinger was pinning his way to a championship in one of the tournament’s toughest weight classes. The No. 3 heavyweight in AAA emphatically made his case for being best in the state.

A seventh-place finisher at 220 pounds a year ago, Slinger is now 15-0 with 14 falls and one win by injury default. On Saturday he pinned Burgettstown’s Riley Kemper and Meyersdale’s Jalen Stephens – ranked Nos. 17 and 15 in AA, respectively. The weight also included No. 2 Dave Schuffert, but Stephens upset the Valley heavyweight in the semifinals.



106 Joey Fischer (South Park) MD Luke Geibig (Mt. Pleasant), 13-2

113 Noah Gnibus (Mt. Pleasant) F Trevor Donaldson (Meyersdale), 3:31
120 Noah Teeter (Mt. Pleasant) F Hunter Armstrong (Marion Center), 4:42
126 William Burgess (Union City) DEC Carter Gill (Hickory), 5-0
132 Kaden Cassidy (Bedford) TF Ryan Harbert (Ligonier Valley), 16-0 2:26
138 Dajauhn Hertzog (Greensburg Salem) MD Ian Sherlock (Northern Bedford), 11-3
145 Shane Kemper (Burgettstown) DEC Ajay Cooper (South Side), 6-5
152 Alec Supanick (North Star) DEC Ian Ewing (Greensburg Salem), 7-5 SV
160 Jack Codispot (Butler) DEC Hunter Milligan (Albert Gallatin), 8-5
170 Cooper Baxter (Butler) DEC Marshall Vantassell (Union City), 4-2
182 Dayton Pitzer (Mt. Pleasant) DEC Austin Walley (Ellwood City), 9-6
195 Luke Montgomery (Bethel Park) DEC Hunter Tremain (North Star), 5-0
220 Trent Patrick (Greensburg Salem) F Jacob Baker (Beth Center), 0:44
285 Jake Slinger (Upper St. Clair) F Jalen Stephens (Meyersdale), 2:30

Third Place

106 Trevor Husick (Tussey Mountain) DEC Max Yegge (Indian Land, SC), 3-2
113 Travis Lasko (Valley) DEC Jacob Blough (North Star), 5-2
120 Eli Brougher (North Star) F Cody Kaufman (Greensburg Salem), 1:48
126 Damian George (Mt. Pleasant) DEC Jimmy Gwyer (Beth Center), 15-9
132 Nate Mcmaster (Butler) DEC Cameron Snoeberger (North Star), 5-1
138 Donavin Chambers (Ellwood City) DEC Brady Villa (Tussey Mountain), 3-1
145 Nathan Gabriel (Bedford) F Braelin Stewart (Hickory), 1:00
152 Grant Walnoha (Upper St. Clair) F Anthony Navarra (South Side), 1:46
160 Tyler Rios (Somerset) DEC Aaron Mcintyre (Fort Cherry), 1-0
170 Austin Mowry (Northern Bedford) DEC Kyrie Miller (Ligonier Valley), 4-2
182 Andy Aldrige (Lee-Davis) F Gavin Henry (Union City), 3:37
195 Harvey Rauch (Upper St. Clair) F John Meyers (Greensburg Salem), 3:00
220 Quinn Murray (Upper St. Clair) DEC Caleb Hartung (Butler), 3-0
285 Dave Schuffert (Valley) DEC Riley Kemper (Burgettstown), 4-0

Fifth Place

106 Gavin Stewart (Marion Center) F Shane Ilgenfritz (Burgettstown), 1:45
113 Brady Bolander (Lee-Davis) DEC Josh Augistine (Somerset), 6-1
120 Clayton Dressler (Butler) DEC Jacob Dawson (Bedford), 8-6
126 Matt Himes (Marion Center) F Ethan Hemminger (Somerset), 0:33
132 Noah Loving (Lee-Davis) FOR Jarrett Beatty (Marion Center)
138 Parker Loera (Bethel Park) DEC Todd Fisher (Beth Center), 5-0
145 Xavier Dreese (Indian Land, SC) F Steven Green (Butler), 3:30
152 Grant Sulser (Lee-Davis) DEC Markeith Drakeford (Indian Land, SC), 9-8 SV
160 Sean Martin (Upper St. Clair) F Colby Imler (Northern Bedford), 4:55
170 Dj Slovick (Burgettstown) F Dylan Dingle (Beth Center), 2:12
182 Riley O’mara (Bethel Park) TF Cole Weist (Tussey Mountain), 16-1 3:14
195 Damon Lemin (Tussey Mountain) F Robbie West (Fort Cherry), 2:45
220 Marc Mccullough (United) F Tyler Hedderick (Union City), 0:44
285 Matt Long (Union City) F Kyle Guyer (Northern Bedford), 0:39

Seventh Place

106 Nick Schaukowitsch (Butler) DEC Jacob Thomas (Frazier), 2-1
113 Roger Pieto (South Side) MD Quinten Hendderick (Union City), 11-2
120 Hunter Horton (Tussey Mountain) DEC Kyle Mccollum (Beth Center), 3-2
126 Ty Mazutis (Chartiers Houston) F Nasier Sutton (Fort Cherry), 4:49
132 Tallin Henry (Union City) F Nick Brumbaugh (Tussey Mountain), 0:54
138 Nick Yeskey (Southmoreland) DEC Gavin Habinak (Bedford), 5-2
145 Zach Pyle (Ligonier Valley) F Austin Jaquith (Union City), 4:24
152 Patrick Brewer (Mt. Pleasant) DEC Brayden Koontz (Bedford), 6-1
160 Sage Parsley (Greensburg Salem) DEC Jacob Housel (Beth Center), 5-3 SV
170 Lyle Moody (Meyersdale) F Jake Alwine (Greensburg Salem), 2:02
182 Tyler Krause (Somerset) F Caleb Chismar (Greensburg Salem), 3:51
195 Trever Lightner (Hickory) DEC Nick Kaday (Union City), 4-1
220 Raul Neil (Indian Land, SC) DEC Jay Ebersole (Northern Bedford), 7-1

285 Billy McChesney (Greensburg Salem) DEC Marvin Beatty (Marion Center), 6-2

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