Wesley Koteski graduated from Washington & Jefferson in 2002 as the wrestling program's all-time wins leader with 108 victories against 29 losses.
Fifteen years later, the Plum graduate still ranks fourth in career wins. He also is one of just four wrestlers in W&J history to win four Presidents' Athletic Conference championships and was named PAC MVP his senior year.
Koteski's career at W&J recently was celebrated as he was inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame.
“I graduated in 2002, and to think 15 years later there are people who still remember that I had a pretty good collegiate wrestling career, it's pretty special,” said Koteski, who shared the hall-of-fame honor with his friends, parents and siblings, as well as his wife, Jennifer, and newborn son, Lincoln.
“My parents were so supportive from the very start of my wrestling career in fourth grade,” he said. “They were always there for all my matches in college, too. It was great they could spend that day with me.”
Koteski said when he started in wrestling, he had a solid role model to look up to in his older brother, Jon.
Jon Koteski was a three-time section champion at Plum who went on to wrestle at Division I Franklin & Marshall.
“He wasn't a national qualifier there, but he held his own,” Wesley Koteski said.
“He was very important in my career. He introduced me to wrestling. I always remember going up to the high school matches. I don't think I missed any of the home section matches. I looked up to him and wanted to be as good as he was. He would always encourage me.”
Koteski hopes when Lincoln is old enough — he is 4 months old — he will be able to share some of his memorable wrestling moments, both in high school and in college.
“Hopefully, I can take him back for a match or two and share some of my old wrestling videos when he understands it a little better,” he said.
Koteski helped W&J win the PAC team title his freshman year as he compiled a 24-10 record at 184 pounds.
He went 26-5 as a sophomore and placed second at the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament.
As a junior, Koteski produced a 28-6 record, claimed an NCAA regional championship and qualified for nationals. After the season, he was named team MVP.
The Presidents posted a 7-0 dual record his senior year, and he became just the second W&J wrestler to record 30 victories in a single season.
He returned to the NCAA tournament and earned his first victory at the championships.
“I'm surprised that I'm still fourth (on the all-time wins list),” Koteski said. “I'm glad I'm still up there. Everyone knows that western Pennsylvania has some of the best wresting around, and W&J has had their fair share of quality wrestlers. I'm sure as time goes on I will probably fall a little further down that list.”
Chuck Froehlich became Plum's varsity wrestling coach during Koteski's junior year and, he said, he was grateful for individuals like Koteski who helped build the program up at that time.
“He had an unbelievable work ethic,” Froehlich said. “It was nice to be able to coach a kid like that because it made my job easier. He was a natural leader.”
Froehlich, who also coached Koteski during the fall on the Plum football team, fondly remembers being in attendance at W&J to watch Koteski earn his 100th collegiate victory.
Koteski was the first W&J wrestler to reach 100 career wins.
“Wesley represented Plum High School and his community so well at W&J,” Froehlich said. “He was and is a great role model for younger kids to look up to.”
After his time at W&J, Koteski earned his master's from the Katz School of Business at Pitt.
The Murrysville resident is a project manager with Westinghouse.