Luke Stout never forgot the experience of standing on the podium at the PIAA individual wrestling championships.
So, the Mt. Lebanon senior used the experience of finishing in second-place a year ago at the Giant Center in Hershey to help drive him to win a PIAA title in 2020.
“I remember how it felt,” Stout said of last year’s defeat in the finals. “I hate to lose. So I used that this year. My secret to success was being relentless. Always preserving and never quitting.”
Stout capped an undefeated season with a 12-1 major decision against Luke Montgomery from Bethel Park in the 195-pound championship match.
“Finishing second last season really motivated Luke to want to get back and prove that he was the best in the state,” said Lebo head coach Marc Allemang. “He has been working for this state championship for the last few years.”
Actually, it has been longer than that. Stout said he’s dreamed of winning a PIAA title since he was a kid. His older brother, Kellan, won a PIAA championship in 2015 before he went on to wrestle at Pitt.
“It’s been my dream all these years,” Stout said. “To finally get it done means so much to me. It marks and caps off my career on a good note and I am extremely grateful.”
Opponents are happy to see Stout graduate this June. He posted a 42-0 record this season and won championships at the Eastern Area, Powerade, Allegheny County, sectional, WPIAL and Southwest Regional tournaments.
Stout won 153 matches over a four-year career.
Stout started his run in Hershey by pinning Logan Harmon from Armstrong (4:22) in the first round. He scored a 21-6 technical fall against Jackson Talbott from Central Dauphin in the quarterfinals then pinned Ryan Catka from Sun Valley (5:46) in the semifinals.
In the finals, Stout earned his sixth victory over Montgomery this season.
Stout noted his first and last matches were his hardest in the tournament.
“Luke had made some changes that forced me to make adjustments,” he said of the championship bout.
“The first match was hard, too, because I am a slow starter. Even after a good warm up, it’s hard for me to get moving. I’m sure it’s a little nerves and all mental, but once I get that first match over, I always wrestle better.”
Stout’s younger brother, Mac, also wrestled better as the tournament progressed.
The sophomore felled Andrew Vogelbacher in 5:36, won a 4-2 decision over Dominic Falcone and upset top-seeded Trey Kibe from Mifflin County 2-1 on the ultimate tiebreaker to reach the 170-pound finals. Stout held a 7-3 lead over Lenny Pinto from Stroudsburg before being pinned at 4:38.
“Mac’s bracket was loaded,” Allemang said. “There were multiple kids that could have made it through to the finals and Mac had to beat the returning state champion to get there.
“I know the results in the finals will hurt, but it will also fuel him to continue working. Mac is a special talent and I know he will rebound and not let the loss deter him from his goal of being a state champion.”