Plum wrestlers prep with trips to WPIALs at stake Saturday
The team and invitational-tournament portion of the season has concluded, and Plum varsity wrestlers now turn their attention to the individual postseason.
The first step in the journey is Saturday with the Section 3-AAA tournament at Fox Chapel High School.
The Mustangs will join the 11 other teams from the section in tournament action that begins at 9:30 a.m. and continues into the evening.
The top five finishers in each weight class will advance to the WPIAL/Southwest Regional AAA tournament at Canon-McMillan from Feb. 27 to March 1.
“The guys want to win section titles, but finishing in the top five is the key,” Plum head coach Mike Supak said.
Supak said it is important to land in the top three. Barring a major upset or injury to a highly seeded wrestler at a section tournament, those who finish fourth or fifth at sections usually draw one of four one-and-done pigtail bouts at WPIALs.
Plum will have several highly seeded wrestlers Saturday.
The last Mustangs section championship came in 2011, as Anthony DiLonardo captured the Section 1 heavyweight title with a 1-0 win over Franklin Regional grad Luke Fleck.
DiLonardo wrestles at Penn, while Fleck is on the team at the University of Pittsburgh.
Plum will wrestle in the Section 3 tournament for the second year after moving over from Section 1.
The Mustangs enter sections with seven wrestlers who own at least 20 wins.
Senior Hunter Fenk (182) and junior Nathan Turchick (195) are 28-4 and 28-3, respectively, while sophomore Tommy Zummo (126) is 27-4.
Sophomore Anthony DiNinno (106) and senior Eric Green (145) have identical 27-6 records.
Senior Stephen Turchick (285) brings a 25-8 mark into his final section tournament, while freshman Dom Davido (120) comes into his first section tournament with a record of 25-10.
Also in the mix for Plum at sections are seniors Andy McRandal (10-4 at 170), Zeke Bonura (11-16 at 152) and Thomas McCoy (6-11 at 160), juniors Anthony Borrasso (13-16 at 113) and Nick Myers (7-17 at 138) and sophomore Nate Hoff (10-15 at 220).
Zummo went 12-0 against wrestlers from teams in Section 3.
He scored nine wins on the mat, and he was the recipient of three forfeits.
Nate Turchick was 9-1, with his only loss coming to North Allegheny's Zach Smith at the Allegheny County Tournament.
Fenk was 9-4 against those from Section 3, and his losses were to Butler's Ryan Hannon, Clay Byerly from North Allegheny and Elliot King (twice) from North Hills. Fenk also owns a win against Byerly and two against King.
The Mustangs had six wrestlers move on to WPIALs from last year's section tournament.
Green at 138, Nathan Turchick at 182 and the graduated Jake DiGuilio at 220 claimed third-place finishes, while Zummo (at 120), junior Zach Martin (152) and Stephen Turchick (285) placed fourth.
Martin, who has battled injury throughout the year, will not compete in the individual postseason.
Sophomore Ronny Amato, who has competed at 132 this season, also is recovering and resting from injury and will not be entered in the section tournament.
McRandal also has been battling his share of injuries this season, but he will wrestle Saturday, Supak said.
He is hoping to bounce back from a tough outcome last year, as injury dashed his hopes of qualifying for WPIALs.
McRandal won his first two bouts at sections in 2013, and he suffered a close 1-0 loss to Hannon, the eventual champ, in the semifinals.
But he had to injury default in both of his consolation bouts and finished sixth, one spot away from a trip to WPIALs.