Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Usc's Hawk One Tough, Big Bird

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Usc's Hawk One Tough, Big Bird

Article excerpt

Upper St. Clair coach Emil Deliere remembers the first few years of Zach Hawk's wrestling career.

"I coached with our youth program when Zach was in first, second, and third grade," said Deliere. "The thing that impressed me the most was that he was unintimidated and aggressive.

"Some kids get timid when they face a big name, but that was never the case with Zach. He never worried about who he was wrestling. We went out and gave it everything he had."

With that in mind, Deliere started Hawk with wrestlers who were in many cases older and more experienced.

"Zach lost more matches than he should have, but I wanted him to face the best competition. That experience Zach gained in our youth program has really helped him."

When Hawk became a freshman at Upper St. Clair, Deliere had no reservations about moving him up to varsity. Hawk responded with a 21-11 record, while competing at 145 pounds, and earned a berth in the WPIAL Class AAA tournament by placing third in Section 5.

"It was a big step, moving from the middle school up to the varsity," said Hawk. "It was tough because the kids were older and stronger than me, but I think I adjusted well. I learned a lot that year."

Hawk moved up to 160 pounds as a sophomore and posted a 24-9 record, which included a second-place finish in the section and another trip to the WPIAL tournament.

"Zach is fast and fairly strong," said Deliere. "He's got all the right moves. When he's on top, he's one of the toughest pinners in the WPIAL."

Hawk showed his knack for pinning opponents last season. As a 171- pound junior, Hawk pinned 25 opponents en route to a 30-6 record. He finished third in the section to earn a third consecutive WPIAL berth, but fell short of a PIAA berth after posting a 2-2 record.

"When he's on top, Zach reminds me of a crazed shark that smells blood," said Deliere. …

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