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Historic Trio of TJ Wrestlers Win Titles at WPIAL 3A Championships

TJ's trio of WPIAL Champions, (from L to R): Bode Marlow (160 lbs.), Shep Turk (285 lbs) and Maddox Shaw (139 lbs). Photo courtesy WJHSD

It was a historic day for the Thomas Jefferson High School wrestling team on March 2, 2024 as a trio of Jaguars won titles to lead TJ to a second-place finish at the WPIAL Class 3A Wrestling Championships.

The second-place finish and having multiple champions were firsts for Thomas Jefferson in the WPIAL Championships, which were contested at Canon-McMillan High School. The Jaguars placed second with 105.5 points. Connellsville was the 3A winner with 146.5 points and Greater Latrobe was third with 101.

All three of the Jaguars’ WPIAL titlists are juniors: Maddox Shaw (139 lbs.), Bode Marlow (160) and Shep Turk (285). Thomas Jefferson was the only school that had multiple WPIAL champions, doing so for the first time in program history. TJ has won at least one WPIAL title in each of the past three tournaments. 

Shaw (39-3) pinned Pine-Richland’s Dominic Ferraro in 49 seconds to earn his second consecutive WPIAL crown, becoming the first Jaguar with multiple WPIAL titles. He won all four of his WPIAL bouts by first period fall. Shaw also became TJ’s career victories leader with 124 with his WPIAL quarterfinal win on Friday, surpassing Brian Finnerty, who had 121 wins, capped by a 2022 PIAA title at 215 lbs.

“It’s an honor,” Shaw stated. “I set a lot of goals and this was one of them. I’m thankful for every step; I just want to be the best I can be. This shows the caliber of the guys we have in the (wrestling) room.”

Marlow (35-6) delivered his first WPIAL title with an 11-7 victory over Lonzy Vielma of Connellsville. Marlow took a commanding 11-2 lead en route to the crown and had two falls during the tournament.

“I’m grateful to be here,” Marlow said. “We work hard in there (wrestling room). It’s a good feeling; last year I didn’t get what I wanted (at WPIALs). It means a lot. It’s kind of cool how you evolve from one year to the next.”

Turk used a second period escape to take a 1-0 lead and got a third period takedown to defeat Waynesburg’s Roan Tustin, 3-0. Turk is TJ’s first WPIAL heavyweight champion and won three of his matches by fall. 

“It’s a good feeling; I had fun,” Turk stated. “That (three TJ champs) feels great; they’re two of my best friends.”

“The kids drove it; they set the goals,” said TJ coach Michael Ladick. “It feels amazing. This is a testament to our schedule; our guys have been battle-tested. This is what they train for. The only expectation is the match in front of you. I’m appreciative of the support from Cherp (AD Bill Cherpak) and the administration; we have great assistant coaches.”

Maddox Shaw Wins PIAA 3A Wrestling Championship.  

Maddox Shaw
Maddox Shaw stands atop the PIAA podium in the 1st Place position. and Bode Marlow (left) and Maddox Shaw after today's PIAA finals.

Marlow Brings Home Bronze.


TJHS junior Maddox Shaw captured the PIAA state wrestling championship on Saturday, March 9 in Hershey as he defeated Central Mountain’s Dalton Perry in overtime, to claim the title at 139 lbs.

The top seed at 139, Shaw (43-3) and Perry were tied, 1-1, heading into overtime and Shaw got a takedown to end the match. Shaw won (two) of his four PIAA bouts by fall. He becomes TJ’s second PIAA Champion in the past three years and second all-time under Coach Michael Ladick. In 2022, TJ's Brian Finnerty was the PIAA champ at 215 lbs. Finnerty was the Jaguars’ previous career wins leader, with 121 from 2019-22. 

A two-time WPIAL Champion, Shaw added to his school record victory total, which stands at 128 entering his senior season.

Thomas Jefferson junior Bode Marlow captured third place at 160 lbs. in the PIAA Championships. The No. 3 seed, Marlow (39-7) earned a 3-1 sudden victory decision over Pottsville’s Nick Kunstek to grab the bronze medal. Marlow captured his first WPIAL title on March 2.


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