Chartiers-Houston's decorated senior tandem raising bar for team
The results of the Powerade wrestling tournament two weeks ago at Canon-McMillan have no direct bearing on a team's record or its section standing.
When Chartiers-Houston's Garrett Vulcano and Tanner Sutton both medaled at the prestigious event, the two individuals did so knowing they had solid showings at what is considered to be one of the top high school wrestling tournaments in the country. Vulcano placed fourth in the 195-pound weight class, and Sutton took sixth at 145 pounds.
Bucs coach Bill Sutton disputes the notion the medals won't do anything in terms of getting Chartiers-Houston deep into the WPIAL team tournament or to Hershey for the PIAA team tournament.
“What happened (that) weekend kind of helps us out (as a team), too,” said Bill Sutton, who is Tanner's father. “By far, Garrett and Tanner are the hardest workers in the room, and they only reinforced that by being the ones who got medals at Powerade.
“They're seniors, and they lead the team. We as coaches kind of direct them, and when they do something, everyone else does it. If they see Tanner and Garrett do it, it's easier for us to get them follow.”
The two were at it again this past weekend, as Vulcano took first and Sutton second at the Buzz Hill Wrestling tournament in Florida, leading the Bucs to a fourth-place finish out of 33 teams.
Tanner Sutton has placed in the top three of the WPIAL all three of his high school seasons — he's a reigning WPIAL champion at 145 pounds, placed third in the WPIAL at 130 pounds as a sophomore and second at 125 as a freshman. Vulcano is also a three-time WPIAL placewinner, having been the runner-up at 170 pounds last season, fourth at 160 pounds in 2011 and sixth at 145 in 2010.
They have been key parts of Chartiers-Houston teams that have advanced to the WPIAL semifinals each of the past three years. The Bucs were runners up in 2011.
“We've been through a lot in terms of experience, so in the practice room and on the mat, too, we try to set an example because we know when me or him are wrestling, all the guys are watching,” Tanner Sutton said. “We try to set a good example and wrestle hard.”
Six other seniors are contributing for Chartiers-Houston this season, including first-year wrestler David Kincaid. The leading rusher on the Bucs' football team, Kincaid always told Bill Sutton he would wrestle once his football career was over as a senior. He won the team's spot at 170 pounds.
Seniors Casey Dunkle and Josh Kraushaar have been holding their own despite being undersized at 220 pounds and heavyweight, respectively. Senior Jimmy Saieva (182 pounds) is in his second season as a starter.
Dylan Schultz-Terling worked to drop weight from the 195 he wrestled at last season, and Alvaro Luna has made great strides in his third year of organized wrestling.
“Our team is not quite where we were the last couple years, but we really like what we have, that's for sure, with the leaders we have,” Bill Sutton said.
Vulcano plans on pursuing a college career as a linebacker. Sutton will wrestle — he's looking at Clarion, Edinboro and Lock Haven.
But before they leave, each can put the finishing touches on high school careers that, barring injury, will end with Vulcano and Sutton ranking first and second on the program's career wins list.
They also want to graduate with more team accolades.
“I want to make states, to be honest,” Vulcano said. “Let's place high (at WPIALs) and get to Hershey.”
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.