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DeAugustino Wrestling Classic at West Mifflin wide open

| Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, 10:36 p.m.

After Bermudian Springs claimed five straight Steve DeAugustino Holiday Wrestling Classic titles at West Mifflin from 2005-09, the event has been a model of parity since.

The 2013 edition looks to be no different.

“I would imagine it's going to be real competitive at the top five or six places,” West Mifflin wrestling coach Tony Salopek said. “It doesn't seem to me like any of the teams are really going to run away with it that I can tell. I would think that there's some balance at the top end.”

The last three team champions — North Hills, host West Mifflin and Upper St. Clair — return to the mat this year from Dec. 27 and 28, along with 28 other teams hoping to claim the tournament title.

While this year's field is wide open, defending champion North Hills looks like one of the squads in the mix for a title.

The Indians feature two individual champions from last season in 106-pounder Gage Curry and 160-pounder Jonathan Avon.

“They have some pretty good top end wrestlers and then they're pretty solid,” Salopek said.

North Hills topped last year's top five, followed by Belle Vernon, South Fayette, Plum and Mt. Lebanon. Of that group, only North Hills and Plum return, but the tournament has added several new teams to round out a strong field with some of the top wrestlers in the area.

“It's nice to be able to provide a place where we can have that kind of competition and it's nice for our kids to get that kind of competition and not have to travel,” Salopek said.

The event begins with weigh-ins at 8:30 a.m. Friday followed by the opening, initial consolation and quarterfinal rounds. The tournament will conclude Saturday with later consolation rounds, semifinals and championship finals, which are estimated to begin at 5 p.m.

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.

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