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Hopewell’s Isaiah Pisano Advances to PIAA Wrestling Quarterfinals After 1st Round Win

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(This story was contributed to Hopewell Sports Nation by Steve Rotstein).

HERSHEY– Hopewell’s Isaiah Pisano had never won a match in the winner’s bracket in his two previous trips to the PIAA individual wrestling tournament.

You know what they say- third time’s a charm.

Locked in a 1-1 tie with 30 seconds left in the third period of his first-round match against Loyalsock’s Braden Vincenzes (37-6), Pisano used an outside trip to secure the go-ahead takedown before turning Vincenzes to his back for a three-point near-fall. Knowing the match was in hand, Pisano nodded and smiled toward his coaches while holding Vincenzes in place until time expired on his 6-1 victory, sending him into the Class 2A 160-pound quarterfinals.

“It feels good,” Pisano said. “I lost my first match last year, and it was hard to battle back. This year, I’m more confident after getting that first-round win. I’m going to walk into the quarters tomorrow morning nice and early. I’m ready to wrestle.”

A Pitt-Johnstown recruit, Pisano (39-3) is coming off his first WPIAL title, followed by a runner-up finish at last week’s Southwest Regional championships. He said both of those bouts served him well in Thursday’s opening match, boosting his confidence and providing vital big-match experience going into his final state tournament.

“I hadn’t been to the championship match at either of those tournaments,” Pisano said. “Winning the WPIAL was huge for me…I had a tough finals match (against Bishop McCort’s Devon Magro) at regionals., but I still feel confident.”

Looking ahead to Friday morning, Pisano will square off with Faith Christian Academy sophomore Cael Weidemoyer for a berth in the semifinals and a guaranteed spot on the podium. A two-time Southeast Regional champion, Weidemoyer (21-2) defeated Kane’s Reece Bechakas, 5-0, in his first-round match on Thursday. He finished third in the state as a freshman in 2023.

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Isaiah Pisano

Based on Weidemoyer’s track record, Pisano will likely be a sizable underdog in the eyes of many when he takes the mat on Friday. Don’t expect that to stop him from letting it fly, though.

“I wasn’t opening up enough with my offense on my feet (in my first match), but I found a way,” Pisano said. “I’m just going to relax and then get ready for tomorrow morning.”

Pisano was in eighth grade the last time Hopewell crowned a PIAA wrestling champion, when Jacob Ealy won the 2019 Class 2A 138-pound title to become the Vikings first and only state champ. Even though he wasn’t on the high school team yet, Pisano vividly remembers training at club practices alongside Ealy, who is now a three-time All-American at UPJ.

Pisano will soon follow in Ealy’s footsteps at the next level, wrestling for the Mountain Cats under legendary coach Pat Pecora, the winning coach in the history of college wrestling. First, he hopes to follow Ealy to the top of the podium in Hershey as Hopewell’s second state champion.

That may seem like a lofty goal, but Pisano has never been one to shy away from a challenge.

“The goal is definitely to get on that podium,” Pisano said. “I haven’t done it yet, but there’s nothing wrong with getting to that championship match. I’m totally ready for it.”

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