Following a rare photo-less year, Kiski Area is striving to make this wrestling season picture perfect.
For the Cavaliers, it's all about earning a framed team photo in the school's wrestling room. Only PIAA-qualifying teams or individuals earn the immortal honor.
“Our coach always makes us a deal with us — if we make it to states, we get a picture up on the wall of the wrestling room,” senior Cole Landowski said. “We always have something to look forward to and a goal in mind. We always want to have goals when you compete in a wrestling season, and that's what we always want to strive for.”
The seniors on this season's team were part of Kiski Area squads that earned themselves some camera time in 2010 and '11. Last season, the Cavaliers appeared well on their way to another trip to Hershey after finishing the regular season undefeated in dual matches — but Kiski Area in the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals to North Allegheny.
“The team goal is definitely to bounce back from last year — because we were so close — and make it to states as a team,” junior heavyweight Shane Kuhn said.
Heading into a critical Section 1-AAA match against Franklin Regional on Wednesday, the Cavaliers are 8-0 in duals and were champions of the Eastern Area Invitational early last month.
They also placed fourth at the Manheim Holiday Wrestling Tournament last week, a solid showing considering Kiski Area was without junior 120-pounder Ryan Hardaway.
“Like always, everyone's come together as a team, and we're wrestling really strong as individuals,” Kuhn said.
Nowhere is Kiski Area more solid than at 195 pounds, where reigning PIAA champion and Penn State recruit Matt McCutcheon wrestles.
“He's just a great kid — off the mat and on the mat,” senior Kyle Skelly said. “No matter where he's at, he's always in a great mood and always just great to be around.
“And he's very influential on his teammates. He's a great wrestler and a good practice partner.”
At 152 pounds, Skelly joins McCutcheon, Landowski and Jake McClarnon (220 pounds) and Shawn McGowan (160) as seniors who start for Kiski Area.
Landowski was a PIAA qualifier at 138 pounds last season. This season, he hopes to do even better at 145 pounds.
Freshmen Jake York (106 pounds) and Tyler Worthing (182) are striving for successful seasons.
Kuhn was the WPIAL runner-up at 285 pounds as a sophomore last season. He headlines a talented junior class that includes Hardaway, 113-pounder Mitch Nagy and 132-pounder Jake Ardellicz. Vaughn Curcio (126 pounds), Garrett Fitzsimmons (138 pounds) and Dakota Lang (170 pounds) are sophomores in Kiski Area's lineup.
“Overall, they're a great group of kids,” Cavaliers coach Chuck Tursky said. “When you have kids like this, it's just a pleasure to coach. I can't ask for anything more than that.”
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.