Pinning down a good season

Norwin High School grapplers fight for success.


Mr. McLaughlin

Senior Conner Henning takes control over his McKeesport opponent.

     The Norwin High School Wrestling team welcomes their first full season since the start of the pandemic with a 3-1 record and multiple tournament successes. 

     The team has been working tirelessly to prepare for the start of this season, and their efforts showed early on at the Hampton Dawg Duals, where the team beat out 5 other schools for the first place win. 

     The team and coaching staff, led by Coach Kyle Martin, were proud of the win and hoped to use the tournament as a learning opportunity and a way to help improve before their first match.

     “I think the early wins help to give the guys a boost of confidence, but sometimes that is a double-edged sword,” Martin said. “When you win early you start resting on those wins. You have to keep the motivation to keep improving.”

Nathan Campbell - Wrestling
Sophomore Nate Campbell prepares for a quick match against his competitor. (Mr. McLaughlin)

     Fortunately, the team’s determination did not wear off and they were able to win their first and second dual meets of the season. They took down Greensburg Salem on Dec. 22 with a score of 48-24, while McKeesport was defeated on Jan. 5 ending with an astounding 72-6.

     The WCCA tournament at Kiski, however, provided a change of pace for the guys as it is one of the best wrestling counties in the entire country. They placed seventh out of 16 teams, losing to teams such as Greater Latrobe and Hempfield that would challenge them again later in the season. 

     The guys needed to remain tough, something the team as a whole can always improve at. 

Conboy Wrestling
Junior Gabe Conboy faces off against his opponent. (Abigail Knouse (Yearbook Staff))

     “Toughness needs to improve a lot, both mentally and physically,” Martin said. “Wrestling is a tough sport. It is brutal and physical. They have to be better at embracing that.”

     Despite an unfortunate 15-46 loss against Greater Latrobe on Jan. 11, the guys continued to work and improve. They each had their own goals, and worked through the losses to help get them there. 

     “Like any athlete, I want to make it to the State finals,” Conner Henning, 12, said. “Aside from that, I want to make the most of my last high school season and have fun.”

We are beginning to pave a new path that strives towards team cohesion and we are ready for a great year in the playoffs.

— Gabe Conboy, 11

     After returning from the Escape the Rock tournament at Council Rock South High School with a twenty-sixth place finish on Jan. 16, the guys returned for their most important match yet.

     On Jan. 19 Norwin faced off against Hempfield. Pins from seniors Carson Handra, Luke Passarelli and Chase Kranitz and a regular decision win in overtime by sophomore Albert Hewitt guaranteed the Knights’ win. With a close score of 37-31, the guys punched their ticket to the playoffs.

     Now the Knights begin preparations for the remainder of the season, sections, WPIALs and for some, States. 

     “As a team we are making improvements,” Luke Passarelli, 12, said. “Everybody’s showing up and giving their all. We’re on an upswing right now.”