Was there ever a doubt that Montana DeLawder would close her scholastic career in style?
The Gettysburg senior stamped an exclamation point on her historic run as a Warrior at the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic last Friday. Not only did DeLawder take out the top-ranked female wrestler in the country at 127 pounds, but she did it with a pin.
Oh, and that pin happened to be the only one of the match, won by Team Pennsylvania over Team USA, 27-23. The victory was the first for the Keystone State squad over a collection of the nation’s finest scholastic wrestlers since 2012.
DeLawder, who won 85 matches during her varsity career at Gettysburg – including 46 by fall – was chosen to compete against Adrienna Turner of California. DeLawder struck first with a takedown at the 1:17 mark of the opening period and led 2-0 into the second.
Turner chose down, was hit for stalling, and then was flattened by DeLawder at 3:08.
DeLawder, a four-time PA girls’ state champ who has accepted a scholarship to wrestle at King University, has seemingly made history every step of the way during her career as a Warrior. It’s a safe bet that she’s not done yet.
HAINES HONORED: Gettysburg head coach Chris Haines was recently named the Pennsylvania USA Wrestling Girls Wrestling Coach of the Year. Haines was a co-winner, sharing the honor with North Allegheny’s Dan Heckert.
Gettysburg has been at the forefront of the push to sanction girls’ wrestling as a varsity sport in Pennsylvania. Last October, Gettysburg approved the formation of a girls’ wrestling team. Females have competed for the Warriors since 2014, but Gettysburg became the eighth school in the state to officially sanction a team.
One hundred schools must approve girls’ wrestling before it will be sanctioned by the PIAA.
NOT MISSING A BEAT: Biglerville junior Levi Haines isn’t one to sit around, even after winning a state championship. Haines was back in action on March 28 in the King of the Keystone hosted by the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club in State College. The event pitted top Class 3A wrestlers against their 2A counterpart. Haines, who won a 2A state title at 145 pounds, was pitted against Norwin senior John Altieri in a 150-pound bout.
Altieri (124-33 career) was a 3A state runner-up at 145 this year after finishing fourth at 138 as a junior. Altieri, a Clarion University recruit, was no match for Haines.
The Canner rolled to an 8-1 decision, putting three points on the board for the Class 2A squad, which ultimately fell 19-15.
Haines will carry a 100-5 career record into his senior season.
HECKARD RETIRES: Longtime Cumberland Valley head coach Dave Heckard announced his retirement on Wednesday, closing a coaching career that spanned 17 years at his alma mater.
Heckard guided the Eagles to 272 dual-meet victories during his illustrious tenure, making CV one of the state’s premier Class 3A programs. Heckard coached four individual state champions, including Jake Lucas who won gold at 215 pounds in March.
The Eagles claimed five District 3 Team Championship titles and qualified for the state team tournament 14 times under Heckard’s watch.
Heckard won a state championship competing for CV in 1996.
PA REPPING TEAM USA: A pair of Pennsylvania products have earned spots on the United State men’s wrestling team for the upcoming 2022 Summer Olympics.
Jordan Oliver, a three-time state champion from Easton High School, won the freestyle title at 65 kilograms. Oliver defeated former Ohio State star Joey McKenna in a best-of-three series by scores of 3-0 and 5-2.
Oliver, who also won two NCAA crowns at Oklahoma State, still has work to do in order to compete in Tokyo because the United States has not qualified his weight. He will compete in a Last Chance Olympic Qualifier on May 6-9 in Bulgaria, where the top two finishers at each weight will qualify their respective countries for the Games.
John Stefanowicz, a Kennard-Dale High School graduate, won the spot at 87 kilograms for the Greco-Roman team.
Stefanowicz took out top-seeded Joe Rau in the final series at Fort Worth to earn the spot. A remarkable achievement for the U.S. Marine who never qualified for the state tournament during his scholastic career.
Stefanowicz is the older brother of former Kennard-Dale star Chance Marsteller, who was an undefeated four-time PIAA champ for the Rams. Marsteller did not earn a top-three finish at 74 kilograms in freestyle at the Trials.