Joe Pecaitis

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  • January 11, 2024
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Wrestling is one of the oldest sports known to mankind and dating back to the first Olympiad held in Athens, Greece. It is a fierce individual combat sport requiring a combination of strength, endurance and discipline to compete. Joe Pecaitis did elect to compete and follow in the footsteps of his father and brother and become a wrestler. After more than 25 years of dedication as both a wrestler and a coach, the Kulpmont native has amassed and impressive 209 victories as a wrestler and coach on the high school and college levels

Joe’s distinguished athletic career began at Mount Carmel Area High School where he won 75 matches in PIAA and AAU competition. In 1982, he finished second in District IV competition to eventual state champion Nate Carter of Shikellamy. He eventually reached the state quarterfinals before losing in overtime to the defending state champion. In 1983, he became the first wrestler in MCA history to qualify for the state tournament for two consecutive years by winning the District IV 155lb championship, finishing third in Northeast Regional competition and repeating as a state quarterfinalist. He was a Susquehanna Valley League All Star and was the recipient of the D’Angelo Memorial Award as well as the Lou Grayson Award.

After graduation, Joe won first place in the Region III qualifying Tourney and won a bronze medal at the Keystone State Games. He also finished second in the 190lb open division at the Middle Atlantic AAU fall freestyle wrestling championships.

joe earned an athletic scholarship to Lock Haven University, where he went on to win 49 matches against some of the stiffest competition in the nation. Joe finished third at the prestigious Mat-Town Usa tournament and was a runner-up and third place finisher at 177lb at the Naval Academy Turkey Bowl Invitational. He also place 3rd and 6th at the Sheridan Tournament at Lehigh University and 7th at 190lbs at the Midwest Open held at Iowa State University.

Following graduation, Joe went on to pursue a teaching and coaching career as an assistant at Gettysburg College and helped the “Bullets” record 36 wins from 1989-1993 in the MAC conference. Joe moved onto the scholastic ranks as an assistant at Gettysburg High School from 1995-2000,where the Warriors won 49 duet meets and recorded the best season in school history. That 1999 squad won the District III Championship and Mid-Penn League Championship.

Off the mat, Joe has earned a B.S. in education with emphasis on the mentally and physically handicapped from Lock Haven. He later earned a Masters Degree in Physical Education and Principal Certificate from Western Maryland College in 1999. He is currently employed as a Department Head for Middle School Education at Gettysburg Area School District. He is married to the former Michele Cassis of Lock Haven and is the father of two children, Madison 6, and Joseph 4, and currently resides in Gettysburg.

Categories: 2004 Hall of Fame