Pitt-Johnstown’s Eddins, Allesandro eye DII national titles
Greensburg Salem graduate Chris Eddins has come a long way since high school.
He left the Golden Lions with a 138-35 career record, was a WPIAL champion in 2016 and placed sixth in the PIAA Class AAA state tournament.
But he stepped up his game at Pitt-Johnstown. He earned a starting spot at 141 pounds his freshman season, finished 27-10 and advanced to the NCAA Division II national tournament.
He took it a step higher his sophomore season, winning a national title at 141 by defeating McKendree’s Darren Wynn, 4-2.
“I was in shock,” Eddins said. “I couldn’t believe, now I’m going back to defend my title.”
This time, however, the bull’s-eye is on Eddins (19-0) chest.
The NCAA Division II national tournament begins Friday at Cleveland State, and Eddins is ready to go.
He’s prepared all season for this moment.
“I’ve been working on different things to get better,” Eddins said. “I know I have to wrestle at my best if I want to win another title.”
He’s seeded and ranked No. 1 at 149. He opens the tournament against Belmont Abbey’s John Gahagan (15-4). His second-round match could be against high school teammate at Greensburg Salem and Seton Hill junior Austin Shaw.
Eddins defeated Shaw in the regional final two weeks ago.
“There are a lot of good wrestlers in the weight class,” Eddins said. “I just have to stay focused on my match. It would be great to win another title.”
Teammate Joey Alessandro, a Hempfield grad who was a runner-up at Seton Hill in 2017, is looking for his first national title after missing out two years ago. A late-season injury in ‘18 prevented him from competing in the tournament.
“This is my last shot,” Alessandro said. “I just have to go out and see if I can get the job done.”
Alessandro (18-2) is competing at 141 pounds. He will face Belmont Abbey’s Troy Gregor (16-1) in the opening round.
He transferred to Pitt-Johnstown after the 2018 season. He hopes the different environment helps achieve his goal.
“I’ve worked hard, and I believe I’m ready,” Alessandro said. “I just have to wrestle my style and go after it.”
Penn-Trafford Devin Austin also is at Pitt-Johnstown. He’s wrestling at 165 and will face Ashland’s Bret Romanzak.
Shaw (19-9) is one of four Seton Hill wrestlers to qualify. He’s joined by Alan Diltz (12-8) at 133, Burrell grad Damon Greenwald (17-13) at 174 and Nathan Bowlen (14-6) at 184.
Shaw faces Lindenwood’s Gavin Londoff. Diltz will face San Francisco State’s Jordan Gurrola in a preliminary-round match. Greenwald’s opponent has not been decided, and Bowlen faces St. Cloud State’s Chance Helmick.
Greensburg Salem grad Derek Berberick (14-7) qualified as a heavyweight from Shippensburg. He gets Lindenwood’s Courvoisie Morrow.
Gannon’s Jacob Dunlop, a Belle Vernon grad, meets McKendree’s Marcus Povlick at 125.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .