Two former Bentworth High School standouts have helped Mercyhurst to back-to-to-back PSAC wrestling championships and a national ranking of No. 7 in NCAA Division II.
Brothers Gus and Francis Mizia have combined for 44 wins, sparking the Lakers to an 18-1 overall record and 7-0 mark against PSAC rivals.
Gus Mizia is a 174-pound redshirt sophomore who has a 21-4 record, including 16-2 in dual meets. He became the first Mercyhurst wrestler to ever advance to the finals of the PSAC Championships, and he placed second in Mercyhurst’s Laker Open. Mizia is tied for third on the team with six pins and is second with five victories by major decision. Mizia has scored 101 team points, which is the second-best total for the Lakers.
Francis Mizia is a 157-pound redshirt freshman who has compiled an impressive 23-4 record and has lost only one time in 15 dual meets. His seven victories via technical fall are three more than any other wrestler on the roster. He also has a team-high 33 two-point nearfalls. Mizia was a third-place finisher at the Laker Open and was fourth in the PSAC tournament.
The brothers each won their bouts during Mercyhurst’s 23-15 victory over 15th-ranked Pitt-Johnstown on Feb. 19. The win clinched the PSAC championship for the Lakers. Franci Mizia won a 10-1 major decision and Gus Mizia scored the only fall of the match, pinning UPJ’s John Blankenship in 1:30.
Dylan Pounds, a freshman from Chartiers-Houston, made an instant impact in his collegiate debut for West Liberty last weekend. Pounds, who is playing second base for the Hilltoppers, was 8-for-11 in a season-opening three-game series against St. Augustine in Cary, N.C.
In his first collegiate game, Pounds went 4-for-4 with a double and two RBI in a 5-4 loss. In the second game of the doubleheader, Pounds went 2-for-3, drew a walk and broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the seventh inning with an RBI-single, which sent West Liberty to victory.
The next day, Pounds concluded the series by going 2-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases in West Liberty’s 6-1 win.
Joby Lapkowicz, a two-time all-state pitcher while in high school at Carmichaels, is back on the mound after transferring from Slippery Rock to West Virginia.
Lapkowicz is a redshirt senior and is pitching this spring for the first time since 2012, when he suffered a season-ending injury while at Slippery Rock. Lapkowicz has been used as a relief pitcher by WVU, appearing in two of the Mountaineers’ first six games.
Devin Young, a 6-9 senior middle blocker from McMurray and a Peters Township graduate, is one of the reasons Brigham Young is off to a 10-3 start and vying for a return trip to the Final Four.
Young leads the Cougars with 55 blocks and is third on the team with 82 kills. He had one of the best games of his career in BYU’s upset of No. 1-ranked Long Beach State, when he had seven kills and eight blocks. He also registered eight kills and five blocks against Stanford, and a season-high nine kills against Cal-Irvine.
John Flaherty, a senior at Swarthmore, had second- and third-place finishes at the Centennial Conference Championships in Lancaster. A senior from Peters Township, Flaherty finished second in the 400 individual medley in 4:07.69, lowering his school-record time in the event by more than two seconds. He also placed third in the 200 butterfly, swimming a personal-best 1:55.49 in the finals.
Flaherty was one of three Swarthmore men’s swimmers to be named all-conference. He also was selected to the Centennial Conference All-Sportsmanship team for the second time in three years.
Grove City’s Kristi Riesmeyer, a freshman from McMurray and Peters Township High School, was named second team on the All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference team. Riesmeyer placed sixth in the in the 200 butterfly (2:15.02) at the recent PAC Championships, helping the Wolverines to the women’s team title.
Trinity graduate Josh Valentic, a junior guard from Washington, finished the season as the second-leading scorer for Allegheny. Valentic averaged 12.0 points per game and was one of the Gators’ long-range threats, making 47 three-pointers. He shot 35 percent from behind the arc and 74 percent from the free-throw line.