O-R Athlete of the Week: Phil Mary, Peters Township
Name: Phil Mary
School: Peters Township
Weight: 126 pounds
Mary’s week: Mary entered the week as the No. 2 seed at 126 pounds in the Chartiers-Houston Wrestling Tournament and won the weight class. He opened the tournament a pin in 58 seconds of Ken Azzarello of Avonworth and followed it up with a 7-4 decision over Keagan Lawson of North Hills.
In the semifinals, Mary stopped Vinny Palm of Upper St. Clair, 10-2. Then, he overwhelemed Connor Foust of Butler, pinning him in 3:26. Foust was the top seed.
The four wins pushed Mary’s career record to 56-20 and puts him on track to become a member of the Century Club next season. The last wrestler to accomplish that for Peters Township was Tyler Buckiso, who finished last year with 102 wins.
Bigger and stronger: One look at Mary tells you how much work he put in the offseason. His body is more defined. His arms are toned and muscular.
He put that newly developed strength on display in the finals against Foust.
“I had a personal trainer, Chris Mitchell, come in and work with me,” said Mary, a section runner-up and fifth-place finisher in the WPIAL last season. “I did a lot of work with my legs and arms. I also worked a lot on my flexibility. Those were weaknesses for me last year. I also worked on conditioning.”
Mary looks more comfortable on the mat, moving with more fluidity.
“I just feel more confident,” he said. “I wrestled (Foust) last year, and I wasn’t as strong. I beat him 2-0 at WPIALs.”
Family matters: Like many wrestlers, Mary comes from a successful wrestling family. His father, Phil, was a two-time state champion for Chartiers-Houston, and his uncle, Chris, just led Canon-McMillan to three of the most successful seasons in that program’s history, winning five state team tournament titles.
“It’s nice having them there for me,” said Mary. “My uncle texted me during this tournament. They support me. When I need advice, I go to them.”
His other sport: Mary is a member of the Peters Township baseball team, playing outfielder, infield and pitcher. He carries around a little secret that he didn’t mind sharing.
“My dad will probably kill me to say it, but I really like baseball best,” said Mary with a laugh.
Mary is open to either sport, whichever presents the best opportunity.
He was headed to a baseball camp in West Virginia the day after winning his title at Chartiers-Houston. He is looking forward to the spring season, and plays on the Steel City Wildcats in the summer.
“I want to get exposure to colleges,” he said. “It’s three Sundays in a row. I know there will be a lot of college recruiters there.”
– Compiled by Joe Tuscano