Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ringgold Senior Wrestler Focuses on Job at Hand

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ringgold Senior Wrestler Focuses on Job at Hand

Article excerpt

His performance in the WPIAL Class AAA championships has come up a little short for three years now.

Ringgold's Mitch Pankiewicz knows that if he is to advance beyond the District 7 wrestling tournament and gain a berth in the PIAA championships this season, it will take a bit more commitment, additional attention to detail and some luck.

Pankiewicz, who enters this season with 84 career victories, thinks all the factors can converge to earn him a trip to the Giant Center in Hershey.

"It's my senior year," Pankiewicz said. "I've been at this since ninth grade. I know what to expect. I have the experience."

Pankiewicz also wants to wrestle his way into the PIAA championships more than ever.

"I do want it a lot more now," he said. "I'm working out before and after practice just to get extra work in. This is my last chance. I know that.

"I came the closest to qualifying for state as a freshman. The last couple of years, it's been fifth or sixth. At that level of competition, it's all in your mind. I have the ability. When you get to that part of the season, it's more mental than physical. I need to get into the right mind set and stay there until the season is over."

That Pankiewicz understands that is huge progress, according to Ringgold coach Bob Bove.

"He's working really hard," Bove said. "I've been really impressed with him. Mitch is a phenomenal athlete. The thing that has kept him back in the past is his work ethic and mental approach.

"This season is by far the most self-motivated I have ever seen him. In the past, he hasn't had that kind of motivation. He has tremendous natural ability. He knows he's good enough to wrestle at that level and to wrestle in college."

Pankiewicz needs just eight wins to break Joel Rullo's mark for most career wins at Ringgold with 91.

He is focused on reaching the 100-victory milestone, which would separate him from all other Rams' wrestlers.

Pankiewicz, who will start out at 135 pounds, also can become Ringgold's first WPIAL champion. …

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