Plum wrestling places 11, takes second as a team at Buckeye Local
The Plum varsity wrestling team has made it a habit of competing at the early-February Buckeye Local tournament in Ohio, and the Mustangs also hope they can make Saturday's top team finish a habit, as well.
In a field of 22 teams, Plum placed second, and 11 of 12 Mustangs wrestlers earned top-eight medals.
For head coach Mike Supak, Saturday's strong performance was nice to see as the team continues its march to the Section 3-AAA tournament on Feb. 23.
“It was a really nice day, and everyone worked hard,” Supak said. “There were some big wins against some really tough kids. Sections is a one-day tournament, and you have to keep winning to improve your chances at WPIALs. The Buckeye Local is a similar-type atmosphere. You have to keep winning in your pool to improve your placement on the podium stand.”
Plum placed second only to Brooke, W.Va., and the Mustangs were the top-finishing team among the nine Pittsburgh area squads.
Teams from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia made up the tournament field, and six of the top 10 in the standings were WPIAL schools.
Plum finished with 234 points, and it bested Chartiers Valley (199.5) for second.
DiGuilio went 4-0 in the 195-pound bracket and earned the Mustangs' lone first-place individual finish. He now is 20-8 on the season.
DiGuilio placed second at the West Mifflin Tournament in late December and third at both the New Oxford and Eastern Area tournaments.
A late takedown in the championship match against Brooke's Nathan Dawson, the top seed, broke a 1-1 tie and gave DiGuilio a 3-1 triumph.
“It was probably the best feeling I've had all year,” DiGuilio said.
“I got a takedown with about five seconds left. It took about 15 seconds for the referee to call it. I made the move with 20 seconds left, and he didn't call it until it was clearly shown I got the takedown. I kept looking at the ref waiting for him to give me the two. When I got the two, it was like a big weight lifted off my shoulders.”
Juniors Eric Green (138) and Andrew McRandal (170) each placed second, while freshman Tommy Zummo (120) and sophomore Nate Turchick (182) captured thirds.
Freshman Tony DiNinno (106) stood on the fourth-place spot on the medals podium, and senior Anthony Zummo (145) and junior Hunter Fenk (160) came away with fifth-place medals.
Sophomore Zach Martin (152) recorded a sixth-place finish, while freshman Nate Hoff (220) and junior Stephen Turchick (285) both came in eighth.
Tommy Zummo, Green, McRandal and Martin joined DiGuilio as winners of 20-plus matches this season. Zummo, Green and McRandal each went 4-1 in their brackets and are 23-10, 22-9 and 22-8, respectively.
Martin won three of five tournament bouts and now is 22-11 overall, while Nate Turchick recorded a 3-1 tournament mark to up his season record to 19-8.
Plum was scheduled to host West Mifflin on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m., but the Titans scheduled a second match on that date, and the match with the Mustangs was canceled.
Senior night was slated for that evening, and Supak said the team is trying to schedule a home match.
Anthony Zummo and DiGuilio are this year's seniors.
“They have put in a lot for our team that past four years,” Supak said.
“They've done well as an example in the classroom. Anthony's been a scholar-athlete every year, and Jake also has been on the honor roll and a scholar-athlete. They are both captains, because they have great work ethic and are able to show the other kids what they need to get done. When they have success or their teammates have success, they are just has happy. They've really helped bring the team together.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.