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State champs look to sign with top schools

When the high school wrestling season begins next month, two local senior wrestlers won’t have to worry about their futures.

That’s because Jake Kemerer of Hempfield and Shane Young of Penn-Trafford will sign letter of intents on Wednesday to twp of the top wrestling programs in the country.

Kemerer, a returning PIAA champion, has decided to attend the University of Oklahoma.

Young, a two-time PIAA champion, has decided to stay closer to home. He selected West Virginia University.

Other WPIAL wrestlers who are expected to sign early are Joe Waltko of North Allegheny and James Fleming of West Mifflin with Clarion University, Zack Benzio of Connellsville with Northern Illinois, John Prezzia of South Side Beaver with Wisconsin and Anthony Zanetta of Keystone Oaks with Pitt.

“I just liked Oklahoma the best,” Kemerer said. “They wrestle my kind of style.”

He selected the Sooners over Hofstra and Kent State.

“I’ve always liked Oklahoma,” Kemerer said. “I just felt comfortable.”

Kemerer, who was 46-1 last season and is 126-21 in his career, spent his summer weightlifting and running. He did little wrestling.

“Jake earned every penny of his scholarship,” Hempfield coach Vince DeAugustine said. “He’s done it though hard work. In my 23 years of being involved in wrestling, I’ve never seen some work so hard.

“He lives by this quote. ‘If you give 100 percent all the time, things will work out.’ ”

Kemerer is ranked No. 4 in the country at the 171-pound weight class by WIN magazine.

He defeated State College’s Steve Bozak, 6-5, in the 160-pound final.

Young (44-0, 111-18) enters the season riding a 90-match winning streak. He won 46 matches as a sophomore.

He selected West Virginia over Virginia Tech and Nebraska.

“I like to be close to home.” Young said. “It was a hard decision until I visited WVU. It just felt like home.”

Young finished second to Ryan Mango of St. Louis in the Junior National at Fargo, N.D. He is currently ranked fourth in the country at 119 pounds by WIN.

Young easily defeated Taylor Brown of Emmaus in the 112-pound final last year. He knocked off Mark Rappo of Council Rock South to win the 103 title in 2007.

“Winning that first state title was special because I defeated someone I’d never beaten before,” Young said. “The second one was also just as sweet.

“Now I’m shooting for a third. I just have to keep training and do the things I did well last year, but even a little better.”

Paul Schofield

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