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Hopewell’s Isaiah Pisano Looks To Finish His Senior Season With a WPIAL Wrestling Championship

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“I’m extremely excited for him. He’s prepared all year for this. Honestly, he’s prepared his whole life for this.”

Hopewell wrestling coach Brett Smith couldn’t have put it any better when describing his star wrestler Isaiah Pisano.

The WPIAL Wrestling Championships begin tomorrow evening at Chartiers Valley High School and Pisano will enter as the No. 1 seed in the 160-pound weight class.

Pisano earned that seed by winning the Northern Section Championship this past weekend and with what he displayed on the mat during the regular season.

“What’s pretty cool is that I coached Isaiah when he was in youth, so it’s a pretty cool full circle thing for me in order for me to be able to coach him during his season year, said Smith. “I was really excited when I got hired to be able to coach him again for one more year. He is healthy and is wrestling as well as any wrester in any weight class that I’ve seen wrestle this season within our section.”

Isaiah Pisano

Being talented doesn’t guarantee you success or championships in anything. Ultimately, a champion must also have a drive and a commitment to excellence something that Smith sees in Pisano every day.

“He puts in more time working to get better than most high school athletes outside of our practices. So, because of the time and work he puts in, I’m not really surprised by anything that he accomplishes. From an outside view it may look as though things come easy for him because of how talented he is but trust me, it isn’t easy. The kid has put in a lot of time to get better.”

Pisano’s athletic talent goes beyond the wrestling mat. He was an extremely gifted defensive back and wide receiver for the Hopewell Vikings football program the last two seasons. However, the one thing that’s prevented Isaiah from fulfilling his full potential has been injuries. Unfortunately, he’s had some bad luck with injuries and that’s something that Coach Smith wanted to be careful with this season, knowing Pisano had a chance to accomplish some pretty big things.

“With these contact sports like football and wrestling, freak injuries can happen all the time,” said Smith. “Like we do with all of our wrestlers but especially with someone of his caliber and knowing that he could make a deep postseason run to the state tournament, we took that into consideration with his training and backing it off when need be and ramping it up towards the end of the season.”

Isaiah Pisano

“Because he’s had injuries in the past, that’s been something we as a staff have been mindful of. That was my No. 1 thing coming into the season, to keep him as healthy as possible. He was considering dropping a weight class and going at 152, but we had a meeting and we said to him, let’s not worry about weight classes and cutting weight. Let’s worry about being as strong as you can and having consistency and being the best wrestler, you can. Let’s just concentrate on just wrestling and not cutting weight.”

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During my talk with Coach Smith, I asked him about an area in which Pisano has improved and that’s allowed him to have this much success in his final high school season and his answer was a bit surprising.

“His self-confidence,” said Smith. “He has all the talent in the world, has a tremendous work-ethic and it shows. You don’t have to know anything about wrestling, and you watch him wrestle and you immediately think, wow that kids got it. But this has gone all the way back to his youth days. He’s always been super talented, has always been one of the best athletes on the wrestling mats. He was talented enough physically to go and do anything he wanted but he’s not always been super confident in himself.”

“Since we’ve always had a great relationship, I just took a different approach with him and stayed really super positive with him. Tried to get his mental state of wrestling up to where his physical state is. Now, I think he believes in himself, he’s very confident now and it shows. He has a smile on his face before he goes out there and he’s never nervous. That’s the biggest thing. When he was little, I could see he got nervous for big matches, now it’s like he welcomes the big stage. He’s ready for it, he’s excited about it and he’s wrestling to win and not going out there not to lose.”

Pisano enters tomorrow with 98 career wins: 2 away from 100 career wins. That’s even more impressive considering he didn’t wrestle his freshman season.

Isaiah Pisano

“It goes without saying that having a WPIAL Champion is what everyone shoots for in this area, it’s a real big deal in District 7,” said Smith. “It would be huge for our program. He will be the No. 1 seed at 160. He’s walking in there with a little bit of pressure I guess since he’s the No. 1 seed and will have a target on his back but he’s ready to go.

Here are the 8 Hopewell wrestlers that qualified for this weekend’s WPIAL Championship.

Isaiah Pisano
Jacob Bauknight
Austin Gouza
Enzo Wright
Jacob Medich
Vincent Boris
Justin Obeldobel
Hank Berner

Hopewell Wrestling Program Has 8 Wrestlers Qualify For WPIAL Championships

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