Dylan Evans did more than rewrite the record books, he and his teammate Brady Joling elevated the wrestling program at Chartiers Valley High School.
“There is one thing abundantly clear from their accomplishments,” said CV mat boss Bill Evans. “You can 100% thrive and succeed here at Chartiers Valley. You don’t need to look elsewhere. We have the tradition, facilities, coaching, and school/community support for every member of our program to accomplish whatever goals that they set for themselves.”
Since he was 5, Evans set the bar high and achieved greatness. “He’s accomplished a ton,” said Coach Evans.
Evans ended his scholastic career as the all-time winningest wrestler in school history with a 139-28 mark. He capped a 37-4 senior season with a second straight state championship, another school mark.
“It’s pretty special to have those achievements but I know I couldn’t have accomplished any of it without outstanding people in my corner. My parents, my coaches, my training partners, my club and coaches. The school. The community” said the son of Merrie and Bill Evans. “You can’t do things by yourself. I am so grateful for all the help I have had along the way.”
On his high school journey, Evans racked up a plethora of awards.
He was a four-time section finalists, winning two titles and taking runner-up laurels twice. He was a four-time WPIAL medalist and four-time Southwest Regional place winner. He earned four PIAA medals.
After reaching eighth and fourth on the podium at states his freshman and sophomore seasons, he won back-to-back PIAA championships at 152 and 160 respectively. Both were hard-fought, 3-2, decisions in the finals against Cathedral Prep’s Kaemen Smith in 2022 and West Allegheny’s Shawn Taylor by ultimate tiebreaker in 2023.
The two state finals, Evans said differed in degrees of difficulty. The bout against Smith was harder because of nerves. “It was more tense,” Evans said because he was in the finals for the first time. The bout against Taylor strained his brain more than his physique. “It was harder in the sense that I had to be smarter,” he said. “I had to pick and choice my battles and since it was my last final I had to make sure I had no regrets. I blocked everything out and focused on what was ahead for me.”
On the horizon for Evans is graduation and matriculation to the University of Pittsburgh. He will continue his wrestling career for the Panthers while pursuing a degree in business.
“I’m really excited about Pitt. They have a wonderful team and it’s a Top 10 program that just produced a national champion,” Evans said referencing Pitt’s 197-pound NCAA winner in Nino Bonaccorsi from Bethel Park.
An NCAA title is Evans’ objective. He noted that nothing is guaranteed just because he won a state title and had a decorated high school wrestling career.
“It’s not an easy feat to accomplish and as much as I want to say I want to do that, I really have to improve. It’s going to take a lot of dedication and work when no one is watching,” he said.
While many looked on, Evans demonstrated flashes as to why he was a Division I recruit. Recently, he competed in the prestigious Wrestling Classic held March 25 at the AHN Arena in McMurray.
Evans wrestled for the Pennsylvania All-Stars, and for the 10th time in 11 years the squad lost to the United States all-star squad, 33-9. Evans lost his 160-pound bout, 5-3, to Ethan Stiles. The Nebraska recruit was a three-time state champion from Illinois.
“I was so blessed to participate and be part of the Pennsylvania team,” said Evans. “It was exciting to wrestle and see how the match played out. It was another honor and I am appreciative of all the awards that I receive.”
Evans adds another feather in his cap. For the third year in a row, he has been named Most Valuable Grappler and headlines The Almanac All-Star Wrestling Team.
“That’s pretty cool,” he said. “Accolades are nice and I’m glad to be recognized as a pretty good wrestler but I have had great support behind me and I couldn’t have done this without all the people in my corner who have backed me all these years.”
Joling joined Evans on the All-Star list. The CV senior and Davidson recruit capped his career with a fourth-place finish and a spot on the podium at the PIAA championships.
A member of CV’s Century Club, he finished his career with a 109-48 record that included 53 falls. Joling was 36-10 on the season. He placed fourth in the section and was the WPIAL/Southwest Regional runner-up.
Coach Evans noted that Joling was a “bit of a slow starter” although he began wrestling in eighth grade. He did not get out of sections his freshman or sophomore season.
“He never lost faith in himself and we didn’t either,” Coach Evans said. “He did all of the right things. He worked all year long, wrestled in tough competitions, had a white belt mentality throughout the entire process. As a result, he ended his career about as well as you can end it — on the podium at the toughest state tournament in the country.”
Indians net 5Chris Cibrone leads a list of five Peters Township wrestlers on the all-star squad. A junior, he compiled a 30-13 slate this winter and stands a 76-28 overall for his career.
Cibrone, who excels as the quarterback on the football team, dominated at 145 and led the Indians in victories this season. He ranked second in win percentage and third with 12 pins.
After collecting bronze medals at sectionals and regionals, Cibrone earned a spot in the PIAA tournament where he scored a major decision in the first round of competition before dropping out of action with consecutive losses.
Isaac Meyers ranked among the area’s best 114-pound grapplers. A junior, he placed sixth in the section and qualified for the WPIAL tournament.
John Radnor posted a 23-15 record at 127. The sophomore placed fifth in the section. He recorded 11 falls this season.
Parker Nave racked up 16 victories, nine of them by fall, this season at 172. The sophomore placed fourth in the section and advanced to the WPIAL/Regional tournament.
At heavyweight, Zack Stromock posted a 25-15 record. The sophomore tied Darius McMillon with most pins (14). Stromock was a section runner-up. He also earned a spot on the podium at the WPIAL championships, finishing eighth.
Four follow for BPBethel Park follows Peters Township with four representatives on the all-star team: Mason Kernan, Ethan Higgins, Landon Hartman and Hunter Goelz.
Kernan led the team as well as the WPIAL with most technical falls and tied for first in the state in that category. A junior, owned a 33-5 record this winter. He is 85-14 in his career.
A section champion, Kernan was sixth in the WPIAL. He finished fifth at Powerade and was an Eastern Area champion.
A sophomore, Higgins was 25-13 this year. He owns a 49-31 career record. He was a section runner-up and a sixth-place finisher in the WPIAL. In addition he was an Allegheny County runner-up and Eastern Area finalist.
A junior Hartman racked up a 26-7 record. He placed fourth in the section and was a runner-up in the county as well as at Eastern Areas.
A sophomore, Goelz was 23-15. He took the bronze in the sectional at 189.
Two represent LeboA pair of Mt. Lebanon grapplers garnered all-star recognition. Ejiro Montoya dominated the 107-pound weight class while Cole Gibbons claimed Almanac Rookie of the Year honors.
A junior, Montoya compiled a 33-8 record this winter. He was a section runner-up, fourth-place finisher in the district and region and a PIAA state qualifier.
“Ejiro had a great year. He works really hard and is coachable and wants to improve,” said Lebo skipper Marc Allemang. “That attitude and perspective will help him make the jump he needs to take that next step.
A freshman, Gibbons racked up 31 wins against 10 losses this season. The Almanac Rookie of the Year finished fourth at sectionals and placed sixth at the regional.
“Cole has really been a joy to watch,” Allemang said. “He has great confidence in himself and knows he can compete. I am really excited for him and his future.”
Cedar caps team
Ben Cedar completes the list of all-stars. A senior, he posted a 33-10 record this winter. During an injury-riddled career, Cedar managed to mount an 85-44 career record. He was a bronzed medalist at the Southmoreland and Burgettstown Tournaments. He finished fourth at the Allegheny County Tournament. He qualified for the WPIAL/Southwest Regional tournaments after finishing third in the section.
“Ben was a tremendous role model for our young and inexperienced team,” said USC mat boss Chris Tarr. “His hard work and determination was infectious throughout our entire team. He was a great example of how hard work, determination, and commitment can lead to success.”
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