Plum wrestlers earn 4 medals at Allegheny County tourney
The Plum varsity wrestling team made its mark at the West Mifflin Tournament at the end of December and took away several medals from the 30-plus team competition.
The Mustangs again faced a large field of teams at Friday and Saturday's Allegheny County tournament, and head coach Mike Supak said he was impressed with the way his wrestlers competed, whether they earned medals or not.
Plum had 12 wrestlers in action, and the Mustangs finished seventh in the team standings.
“It was definitely a true team effort,” Supak said. “We had about 20 pins in the tournament, and a lot of them came on the first night. Taking 12 there to participate and coming back with 10 on Saturday was big. That might be the most we've had back in a while.”
Of the 12 Plum wrestlers who competed, nine of them — Tony DiNinno (106), Tommy Zummo (120), Eric Green (138), Zach Martin (152), Hunter Fenk (160), Andy McRandal (170), Nate Turchick (182), Jake DiGuilio (220) and Stephen Turchick (285) — earned pinfall victories in their first matches.
Four individuals — Martin (fourth), Tommy Zummo (fifth), McRandal (sixth) and DiGuilio (seventh) – earned top- eight medals.
Martin, seeded sixth at 152, avenged a loss with a win in the consolation semifinals and almost did the same in third-place match.
Fox Chapel's Tyler Heasley, seeded fifth, beat Martin, 5-3 in a dual meet, but Martin turned that around with a 3-1 overtime victory to stay alive in the consolation bracket.
“I just had to keep the match close until the end and wait for my moment to get something,” Martin said.
“Zach adjusted his style for Heasley, who is more of a counter wrestler,” Supak said. “Zach didn't take as many crazy shots. He made every shot clean and solid and made sure he got in deep so he could score as many points as he could. He stayed in control of the match, even though it went into overtime. He dictated the pace and was able to take advantage of that at the end.”
Hampton's Zach Kocak upended Martin, 3-2, in the third-place match and Martin ended his tournament run with a 16-7 overall record.
“Kocak's a good wrestler, but I could've done more,” Martin said. “I was in on a couple of singles, but I didn't work hard enough to finish them. It was a tough loss.”
Zummo, a freshman in his first Allegheny County tournament, went 4-2 as the seventh seed at 120 and earned fifth with a 5-2 decision victory over Thomas Jefferson's Braden Flinn in the fifth-place match.
Zummo scored a fall over fourth-seeded Sam White of Mt. Lebanon in the sixth round of consolations to stay alive for a medal.
He then took down another higher seed — sixth seed Cameron Zuber of McKeesport — by a 5-1 score in the consolation quarterfinals.
“Tommy really wrestled at a high level,” Supak said.
“He lost to some really good wrestlers and rose to the occasion in the consolation bracket.”
Zummo finished with five wins in seven tournament matches and improved to 15-8 overall.
The fifth-place match at 170 held true to the seeding, as fifth seed De'Andre Caviness of Obama defeated McRandal, the sixth seed, by a 7-4 score.
McRandal's bid for a county title ended with a 5-1 loss to No. 3 seed Noah Wilps of Chartiers Valley in the championship quarterfinals, but McRandal bounced back to defeat No. 8 seed Colt Balardia of Elizabeth Forward in his first consolation bout.
A tough 1-0 loss in the consolation semifinals to Hampton's Brandon Olszewski, the fourth seed, denied McRandal a shot at third place.
McRandal went 4-3 and improved to 14-6 on the season.
“Andy had a really good start that took him into the quarterfinals,” Supak said.
“He lost against a quality kid in a tough match, but he bounced back to have a good match to make sure he got into the medal round. Overall, he wrestled pretty tough.”
DiGuilio, the veteran of the group who wrestled at the Allegheny County tournament for the third time, earned another medal at the event.
He placed fifth at 220 in 2012, and, seeded seventh this season, DiGuilio earned a seventh-place medal with a 4-2 victory over No. 9 seed Moe Slinger of Upper St. Clair.
DiGuilio came close to moving into the champion- ship semifinals, but he came up short in a 1-0 loss to No. 2 seed Cole Macek of Montour in the quarterfinals.
A Macek escape in the second period was the difference. With Macek in control in the third period, DiGuilio wasn't able to get out or get a reversal, and Macek held on.
“Every time he was close to getting out, they went out of bounds,” Supak said.
“He battled hard. The same thing happened to him against Jimmy Keys. Jake needed just one more escape and he wasn't able to get it.”
DiGuilio lost to Keys, the No. 6-seeded West Mifflin wrestler, 4-3 in overtime of their bout in the consolation quarterfinals.
DiGuilio went 4-2 at the tournament, and he improved to 14-6 overall.
“He lost to two quality kids, and he knew that,” Supak said. “He was going to end up with a lower place than he's had in a while, but begin one of the leaders and a veteran on the team, he went out and had a solid match against (Slinger) and finished up strong.”
Plum stood in good position to qualify for the Section 3-AAA playoffs as it wrestled Pittsburgh Central Catholic on Wednesday in a match that was to be contested past the deadline for this week's edition.
The Mustangs went into the match with the Vikings at 2-2 in the 3A subsection.
Hampton led the subsection at 4-0, while Central Catholic was 3-1.
The top three teams from each of the two subsections will wrestle in the section playoffs on Jan. 23.
The top two from each subsection will claim one of the top four spots from the section and enter the 20-team WPIAL-playoff tournament.
The two third-place teams will compete for the fifth slot from the section and also punch a ticket to WPIALs. The top five teams from each of the four AAA sections qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.