South Allegheny wrestlers shooting for more this season
By Alex Oltmanns
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 10:30 p.m.
After losing in the first two rounds of the WPIAL playoffs each of the last two seasons, the South Allegheny wrestling team is looking for more this season.
The Gladiators finished fourth in Section 3-AA last season before falling to South Fayette in the playoffs, and coach Anthony DiGiorgio wants to see his team step up once it comes time for the playoffs.
While the team has several goals such as sending a handful of wrestlers to the PIAA Southwest Regional and winning its sub-section, a playoff push is the Gladiators' ultimate goal.
“We need to get our feet wet in these playoffs and start actually winning in these playoffs and that is the benchmark that I need to achieve, to make some noise and become legitimate,” DiGiorgio said.
A team full of talented underclassmen, South Allegheny will look to sophomore 126-pounder Justo Hernandez (31-10 last season) and 220-pound junior Seth Hitchens (28-13) to turn in repeat performances from a year ago. Both advanced to the PIAA Southwest Regional.
“I expect both of them to go even further this year,” DiGiorgio said. “I would hope they would make states.”
The Gladiators may have been able to boast a third regional qualifier last season if it weren't for sophomore Noah Stoker (120 pounds) suffering a broken elbow at the Allegheny County Wrestling Tournament a year ago.
“That's a tough kid,” DiGiorgio said. “He didn't even shed a tear when it (the injury) happened. He was more worried about not being able to finish the year than he was about his elbow being broken. That's a testament to the kind of character he has.”
Despite being just a sophomore, Stoker is being counted upon to provide leadership for the Gladiators as they get set to compete against section foes such as Burrell, Valley, Kittanning and Avonworth.
“He's a born leader on this team,” DiGiorgio said. “If I had 14 of him on my roster I would have a state champion team. He's the guy that shows up for everything, does everything he's asked, never complains and pushes these guys and he's only a sophomore.”
South Allegheny also welcomes freshmen Liam Czerniak (113) and Cody Jenkins (138), who both will be counted on to contribute.
DiGiorgio said focus and toughness will be two keys to success this year, two qualities another underclassman showed in the team's opening match against Carrick.
Freshman Alyssa Kennedy, wrestling at 106 pounds, earned a pin in the first period of her match to help the Gladiators to a 46-21 victory.
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
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 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.
- Ligonier Valley wrestlers learn at regional tournament
- Penn-Trafford freshman Coy savors first state title
- Valley wrestlers take unprecedented step at PIAA tournament
- Franklin Regional finishes season with strong performance at PIAA tournament
- Eyeing gold, not chocolate, in Hershey
- Valley, Burrell advance 3 wrestlers each at state wrestling tournament
- Latrobe’s Pletcher, Zavatsky eye gold at PIAA championships
- For Class AA heavyweights, redemption at states
- Franklin Regional wrestler backs up his words with 1st state title
- Kiski Areas’s Worthing to face cross-state pal in PIAA quarterfinals