Ken Wunderley reports that Mt. Lebanon graduate Kellan Stout will wrestle at Pitt after transferring from Penn State. Read his story below.
(Photo: Kellan Stout, right, won the PIAA Class AAA 182-pound title at Mt. Lebanon in 2015. Marc Billett/Tri-State Sports & News Service)
Kellan Stout celebrated two NCAA Division I team wrestling titles in his two years at Penn State University. And he could have been a part of another title team or two, as the Nittany Lions have all but one starter returning.
But Stout, a 2015 Mt. Lebanon graduate, wanted more.
“I had the choice of being a part of something, or becoming something,” said Stout, who redshirted his first year at Penn State and served as a backup last season. “I wanted a chance to become something. I had a better chance of doing that at Pitt.”
Stout posted an 11-3 record in his redshirt season, while competing in the 184-pound weight class. He moved up to the 197-pound weight class last season and posted a 6-5 record in a back-up role.
“There was a cluster of talent at 184 and 197 at Penn State,” said Stout, who served as backup to three-year starter and Kiski Area grad Matt McCutcheon last season. “And Matt McCutcheon still has another year of eligibility.”
Stout could have stayed at Penn State and collected another championship ring, or two, as the Nittany Lions, who have won six NCAA titles in seven years, have all but one starter returning.
“I didn’t want to sit another year,” Stout said. “I still have things to accomplish and felt Pitt was the best fit for me.”
After a talk with Penn State coach Cael Sanderson, Stout was given his release from Penn State.
“I considered the four schools I originally looked at before choosing Penn State,” said Stout, referring to Pitt, Virginia, North Carolina, and Lehigh. “I met with [Pitt’s new coach Keith Gavin] coach Gavin and his staff in May and decided that Pitt was the best fit for me to continue my academic and athletic career.”
Stout is eligible to wrestle this season since he transferred to a school that is not competing in the Big 10.
“I’m not bitter. There’s no hard feelings,” Stout said. “I grew as a wrestler and a person at State College. I have some great memories from my time at Penn State, but it’s time to move on.”
Pitt has a vacancy at 197, so Stout could move right into the starting lineup.
“It’s much different wrestling at 197,” Stout said. “197-pounders wrestle more like a heavyweight, so there’s more strategy involved. 184-pounders are more mobile and rely more on technique.”
Stout is actually quite familiar with Pitt wrestling and the Fitzgerald Field House.
“I used to work out with the Pitt Wrestling Club, even before I was in high school,” Stout said. “My dad [Bryan] was a volunteer assistant at Pitt and coach Gavin was wrestling at Pitt at the time. I remember watching him on TV in the NCAA finals. He lost to [Missouri’s] Ben Askren in the 2007 finals, then came back and beat a wrestler from Michigan [Steve Luke] in the 2008 finals.
“It’s great that he’s come back to Pitt as head coach. He’s come full circle.”
Pitt senior Dom Forys is glad to have Stout as a teammate.
“Kellen is a great asset to our program,” said Forys, a three-year starter and North Allegheny graduate. “I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do for us.”