Plum returns to Eastern Area tourney
One of the largest opening-weekend wrestling tournaments will whet the appetite of local high school wrestling fans, as the 35th annual Eastern Area Invitational Wrestling Tournament will be Friday and Saturday at Gateway High School.
Twenty teams will be in action, and Plum rejoins the field after wrestling at the St. Mary's (Pa.) Tournament last year.
“It's a nice tournament to begin the season,” Plum head coach Mike Supak said. “At St. Mary's, it was a pool format, so you wrestled more guys. It's double elimination at the Eastern Area tournament, but every team is quality, with quality wrestlers. It's good to be back at a more challenging tournament.”
Other teams in the tournament include Penn-Trafford, Penn Hills, Bethel Park, Pine-Richland, West Mifflin, Belle Vernon, Blackhawk, Kiski Area, North Allegheny, Norwin and Woodland Hills.
The quartet of seniors Jake DiGuilio (fifth at 215) and Anthony Zummo (sixth at 130) and juniors Andy McRandal (fifth at 145) and Mike Walkup (fifth at 119) competed at the 2010 tournament.
The Eastern Area tournament traditionally has fielded wrestlers who have made an impact at the WPIAL and PIAA championships that same season.
Kiski Area senior Matt McCutcheon won the 195-pound title at last year's tournament, and the Penn State recruit went on to capture WPIAL and PIAA gold at 182 pounds.
The Cavaliers will be gunning for their fourth team title in a row and their seventh since 2004. Penn-Trafford won the team title in 2007 and 2008.
Plum is a five-time Eastern Area team champion, having won in 1981, 1982, 1984, 1988 and 1989.
This year's tournament begins Friday at 4:30 p.m. with preliminary bouts. The first-round consolations will be at 8:30, with the quarterfinals set for 9:30.
Action resumes on Saturday at 10 a.m. with the second round of consolations. The semifinals and third-round consolations are set for 11:30, with the consolation semifinals at 2.
The consolation finals will be from 5 to 6, with the Parade of Champions and the championship finals at 6:15.
Michael Love is a sports writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org