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Plum wrestlers hope to use Allegheny County tourney to prep for postseason

Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Plum's Hunter Fenk takes down North Hills' Elliot King during the 182-pound match Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, in Plum.

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Dakota Lange

Kiski Area, Junior

Claim to fame: Lange (16-8) finished as runner-up at 170 pounds at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Wrestling tournament at Franklin Regional on Saturday after dropping a 2-1 decision to Belle Vernon's Milton Kobaly. Earlier in the season, Lange finished fourth at the Eastern Tournament.

“It's really excited to be in the finals for the first time in any tournament,” Lange said. “It was exciting, but I was disappointed to not win.”

To what do you owe your improvement this season?

I owe it definitely to the coaches and to the rest of my team. They are there every day pushing me. The wrestlers not starting are helping me improve with new shots and moves.

Who do you look up to as a wrestler?

I look up to a couple of guys on the team. I look up to Shane Kuhn and Ryan Hardaway. I look at Hardaway for his shots. I need to improve and get better at shooting.

What do you think you need to do to get on the podium at WPIALs?

Coach told me I'd be on top of my game when I find a shot or two. It's slowly coming along in practice. I just need to be more offensive individually.

— Andrew John

Wrestling rankings

Class AAA

Rec. Pvs.

1. Franklin Regional 7-1 1

2. Latrobe 7-0 2

3. North Allegheny 7-0 3

4. Canon-McMillan 10-0 4

5. Kiski Area 11-1 5

6. Connellsville 11-3 6

7. Peters Township 7-1 7

8. Belle Vernon 8-2 8

9. Hempfield 3-1 9

10. Greensburg Salem 3-1 10

Class AA

1. South Fayette 2-0 1

2. Burrell 3-1 2

3. Jefferson-Morgan 9-3 3

4. Bentworth 2-1 4

5. Burgettstown 4-0 5

Class AAA individuals

106: 1. Devin Brown, Franklin Regional (10-0); 2. Alex Lynch, Seneca Valley (12-2); 3. Kris Distefanis, Hempfield, (14-6).

113: 1. Spencer Lee, Franklin Regional (22-0); 2. Gage Curry, North Hills (16-0); 3. Ethan McCoy, Latrobe (18-4).

120: 1. Luke Pletcher, Latrobe (20-0); 2. Scotty Stossel, North Allegheny (12-2); 3. Ricky Cavallo, Hempfield (7-3).

126: 1. Dalton Macri, Canon-McMillan (23-2); 2. A. C. Headlee, Waynesburg (23-3); 3. Dom Forys, North Allegheny (18-2).

132: 1. Tyler Smith, Franklin Regional (15-0); 2. Sam Krivus, Hempfield (16-2); 3. Cameron Coy, Penn-Trafford (21-3).

138: 1. Michael Kemerer, Franklin Regional (19-1); 2. Vincenzo Joseph, Central Catholic (17-3); 3. Joey Alessandro, Hempfield (16-3).

145: 1. Solomon Chishko, Canon-McMillan (10-3); 2. Josh Maruca, Franklin Regional (16-3); 3. Jarod Verkleeren, Belle Vernon (4-1).

152: 1. Josh Shields, Franklin Regional (16-3); 2. Jake Shaffer, Latrobe (18-5); 3. Derek Verkleeren, Belle Vernon (18-4).

160: 1. Brendan Burnham, Pine-Richland (11-0); 2. Dom Scalise, Latrobe (17-4); 3. Devin Austin, Penn-Trafford (19-6).

170: 1. Noah Wilps, Chartiers Valley (12-1); 2. Devin Fallenstein, Ringgold (19-1); 3. Kyle Coniker, Central Catholic (12-3).

182: 1. Zack Zavatsky, Latrobe (19-0); 2. Kellan Stout, Mt. Lebanon (15-2); 3. Elliot King, North Hills (16-1).

195: 1. Ty Worthing, Kiski Area (21-1); 2. Drew Phipps, Norwin (6-0); 3. Zach Smith, NA (16-5).

220: 1. Cole Macek, Montour (11-0); 2. Fred Mantsch, Hempfield (17-4); 3. Chad Kuhn, Kiski Area (23-3).

285: 1. Shane Kuhn, Kiski Area (22-1); 2. Zaynel Zaynullayev, Mt. Lebanon (13-3); 3. Benji Kane, Shaler (10-0).

Class AA individuals

106: 1. Dallas Bulsak, South Park (9-2); 2. Hunter Neely, Bentworth (10-2); 3. Cole Lambie, Southmoreland (16-6).

113: 1. Brendon Howard, Jefferson-Morgan (15-2); 2. Austin Griffiths, Southmoreland (15-2); 3. Jihad Ratliff, Valley (13-4).

120: 1. George Phillippi, Derry (20-4); 2. Austin McDermitt, Burgettstown (11-1); 3. Jake Rothka, Bentworth (12-6).

126: 1. Patrick DeWitt, Valley (16-0); 2. Anthony Marra, Burrell (12-6); 3. Stone Kepple, Derry (17-5).

132: 1. John Demaske, Jefferson-Morgan (17-0); 2. Mike Carr, South Fayette (11-0); 3. Shane Gentry, South Side Beaver (9-1).

138: 1. Jake Wentzel, South Park (16-0); 2. Jason Miller, Jefferson-Morgan (14-1); 3. Shane Ging, South Fayette (12-5).

145: 1. Jason Nolf, Kittanning (18-0); 2. Nick Gavazzi, Charleroi (6-0); 3. Corey Falleroni, Burrell (13-4).

152: 1. Steven Edwards, Burrell (13-3); 2. Greg Bulsak, South Park (14-1); 3. Nolan Wise, Highlands (9-2).

160: 1. Grant Fetchet, South Fayette (12-0); 2. Ryan Zalar, Jefferson-Morgan (14-1); 3. Pete Provenzano, Chartiers-Houston (11-4).

170: 1. Jared Walker, South Fayette (12-0); 2. Bill Bowlen, Jefferson-Morgan (18-3); 3. Nico Brown, Beth-Center (11-3).

182: 1. Fred McKissick, Carlynton (6-0); 2. Terrell Fields, Valley (11-1); 3. Dalton Wildman, West Greene (11-3).

195: 1. Marcus Davenport, Valley (14-3); 2. Zach Walker, South Fayette (11-1); 3. Jacob Robb, Kittanning (23-5).

220: 1. Jake Temple, Avella (8-0); 2. Josh Lind, Mt. Pleasant (15-8); 3. Tom Sever, Yough (13-4).

285: 1. Allan Beattie, Burrell (13-4); 2. Jake Beistel, Southmoreland (17-2); 3. Ian Wolfe, Jefferson-Morgan (18-4).

Pin leaders

17: Shane Kuhn, Kiski Area

15: Jason Nolf, Kittanning

14: A.C. Headlee, Waynesburg; Zach Mattucci, Greensburg Salem

13: Ryan Hardaway, Kiski Area; George Phillippi, Derry; Spencer Lee, Franklin Regional; Gage Curry, North Hills; Jake Ardellitz, Kiski Area; Mike Sinclair, Ellwood City

— Paul Schofield

Top high school sports
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, 10:24 p.m.

A fifth-place finish at Gateway's season-opening Eastern Area Invitational emboldened Plum enough to help the Mustangs roll through December and the start of January with a perfect dual meet record and a team title from West Mifflin's Steve DeAugustino Holiday Classic.

The Allegheny County Wrestling Championships, which begin Friday and continue Saturday at Fox Chapel High School, might provide a similar springboard effect for the Mustangs (10-0) as they ready for the WPIAL Class AAA team postseason, which begins with section tournaments Jan. 22. Plum is certain to finish atop Section 3-AAA subdivision B and will start the playoffs against subdivision A's runner-up.

“At the beginning (of the season), it was just, ‘Let's do our best,' ” said senior heavyweight Steve Turchick, who has an 18-2 record and the No. 2 seed in the county championships. “But when we went to the first tournament, and we had many kids place high, we started saying that we've got a good team. And then when the confidence built up, it became a reality. So it's been a great surprise.”

Turchick is one of several Mustangs seeded in the top five of their respective weight class. His brother, junior Nate Turchick (16-2), is the No. 5 seed at 195 pounds. Senior Hunter Fenk (16-1) is No. 3 at 182. Junior Zach Martin (18-3) is No. 3 at 152. Sophomores Tommy Zummo (17-3) and Anthony Dininno (16-3) are No. 2 at 160 and 106, respectively. Freshman Dom Davido (16-6) is No. 4 at 120. And senior Eric Green (17-3) holds the top spot at 145.

“I saw the kids that are also in my bracket, and it seems like it won't be easy, but I definitely think I can win the title,” said Green, who went 3-2 as a 138-pounder in the tournament last season. “I've tried not to do so many crazy moves and just settle down in matches this year. … I'd always try to do things outside the box, and I'd get myself in trouble.”

The last Mustang to win a county title was John Marotto, who claimed the championship at 138 in 2012. Fenk, a sophomore at the time, spent that season as Marotto's practice partner.

“He had good technique, but being heavy on the head was his big thing,” Fenk said. “I kind of tried to model myself after him. … I definitely feel a lot more confident going into this tournament than I did for Eastern Area or West Mifflin.”

If Green, Fenk and a few others win championships or at least reach the finals, Plum stands a chance to top the county's other frontrunners, North Allegheny, Mt. Lebanon and South Fayette, for the team crown. North Allegheny, which shares Section 3-AAA with Plum but sits in the other subdivision, has six wrestlers seeded in the top five at the tournament, while Mt. Lebanon has five in the top five, and South Fayette, a Class AA team, also has five grapplers in the top five.

Plum has never won a county team title. The Mustangs placed second and had four individual champs in 2002, the tournament's inaugural year. And in 2007, they took third with the help of two title winners.

“It's starting to come around,” Green said of Plum, noting that more teammates now wrestle all year rather than just in the winter. “I had a feeling we were going to do this good. This year, we have so many seniors, and in the past, we always had one or two.”

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