Latrobe freshman wrestler proving Powerade seedings wrong

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Luke Pletcher was a little surprised to see that he wasn't seeded among the top eight wrestlers in his weight class at the Powerade Christmas Tournament, which began Friday at Canon-McMillan High School.

But it didn't bother the Latrobe High School freshman. In fact, it gave him more incentive to show the tournament directors why he's ranked No. 2 in the country by Amateur Wrestling News.

Pletcher recorded a pin, a technical fall, and a major decision to advance to the 106-pound semifinals.

"It gave me the incentive to work a little harder," said Pletcher, who earned his national ranking by placing third at Flo Nationals and third at the Super 32, two highly regarded offseason tournaments. "This tournament is awesome. The competition is excellent."

Pletcher is one of seven Powerade participants who are ranked No. 1 or No. 2 nationally by Amateur Wrestling News. And two are entered at 170 pounds.

Chance Marsteller, a two-time PIAA Class AAA champion from Kennard-Dale, is ranked No. 1 at 170. Marsteller, a junior who entered the tournament with a 90-0 career record, recorded a technical fall and two pins to make his third consecutive semifinal appearance.

Canon-McMillan's Cody Wiercioch, a Pitt recruit, is ranked No. 2, and registered two falls and a technical fall to earn a fourth consecutive semifinal berth.

Marsteller is a two-time Powerade champion at 152 and 160. Wiercioch, a two-time PIAA champion, is a three-time Powerade finalist and the defending champion at 170.

"I've never wrestled Chance before, but we have been on the same team over the summer a couple times," Wiercioch said. "If we meet in the finals, it should be a good match."

Kyle Snyder of Maryland's Good Counsel is No. 2 at 220. Snyder is making his Powerade debut and advanced to the semifinals with a pair of pins and a technical fall. Benton's Zain Retherford, a Penn State recruit, is No. 1 at 138 pounds. Retherford, a PIAA Class AA champion in 2010 while attending Line Mountain, earned his semifinal berth with three pins.

Anthony Collica of Solon, Ohio, is ranked No. 1 at 152 pounds and advanced to the semifinals for the second year in a row with two pins and a major decision. Blair Academy's Brooks Black, an Illinois recruit, is ranked No. 2 at 285 pounds and earned his semifinal berth with three consecutive pins.

Wiercioch is one of four Canon-McMillan wrestlers in the semifinals. The others are Dalton Macri (120), Connor Schram (126), Alex Campbell (220).

Franklin Regional also has four semifinalists: Michael Kemerer (126), Tyler Smith (132), Josh Maruca (138), and Josh Shields (145).

Tournament semifinals start at 11:30 a.m. today and championship matches start at 7:30 p.m.