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Trib East wrestling all-stars

| Sunday, March 24, 2002

Wrestler of the Year

  • Who: Matt Cassidy

  • School: Plum

  • Class: Senior

  • Weight: 189 pounds

  • Notables: Cassidy may have opened the season among the favorites to win a PIAA championship, but he took on more of an underdog's role in the state semifinals against two-time silver medalist Adam LoPiccolo, a junior from Susquehanna, who had dropped from heavyweight a month earlier.

    Cassidy beat LoPiccolo, 3-2, on the way to winning a state championship. He also won his second consecutive Southwest Regional championship and finished his senior year 34-1, earning his place as Tribune-Review East Wrestler of the Year.

    "Everybody was talking about LoPiccolo," Plum wrestling coach Chuck Froelich said. "Matt wanted to wrestle him. He wanted that challenge."

    Early in his career, Cassidy had heard comparisons to his uncle, Steve Cassidy, who won a 140-pound state championship for Plum in 1990. It was Steve Cassidy that got Matt involved in the sport at an early age.

    Matt Cassidy became only the second Plum wrestler to win 100 career matches, finishing second to Bill Closson in victories with a record of 109-23. Cassidy went to states three times, finishing fourth at 171 pounds as a junior.

    Cassidy devoted more of this past off-season to wrestling than he had in the past, competing in summer tournaments instead of playing baseball.

    He went 3-2 at the U.S Junior National Freestyle Championships at Fargo, N.D.

    Cassidy's only loss this season came was an overtime defeat to Central Catholic's Nic San Doval in the 189-pound finals at the Allegheny County tournament, when Cassidy was penalized for an illegal move.

    Cassidy avenged that loss in the finals of the Montour Tournament three weeks later. Cassidy said he has no college scholarship offers yet, but he has already taken a visit to Pitt and will go to Lehigh and the University of Virginia next month. He may also visit North Carolina and Northwestern, but he has nothing set up yet with those two.

    Cassidy is a three-sport star at Plum. He was the top running back and a star defensive back for the football team this past fall and is an all-section outfielder for the Mustangs' baseball team.

    "He's just an all-around great athlete, first of all," Froehlich said. "He's great on his feet. He didn't give up a take-down or a reversal all year. He makes people wrestle his match."

    East All-Stars

  • Bill Spencer, Jr., Highlands, 103 pounds — Finished fourth in first trip to PIAA Class AAA championships. Won Section 4-AAA title and took fourth at regionals. Finished with 29-7 record for the season, upping his mark for the last two years to 57-10.

  • Sean Clair, Fr., Plum, 112 pounds — Finished seventh in the PIAA Class AAA championships, finishing freshman season with a 36-6 record. Won Section 4-AAA title and finished fourth at regionals.

  • Joe Makara, Jr., Burrell, 119 pounds — Won PIAA, Southwest Regional and WPIAL Class AA championships. Career record is 102-15. Makara has three state medals. He was second at 103 pounds as a freshman and fourth at 112 pounds as a sophomore.

  • Jeff Ruffini, Sr., Kiski Area, 125 pounds — Placed fifth in his second trip to the PIAA Class AAA championships. Finished 35-8 this season, giving him 110 career victories. Won Section 4-AAA championship and took third at regionals.

  • Will Tedder, Sr., Plum, 135 pounds — Lost opening match in PIAA Class AAA tournament, but battled through loser's bracket to finish fourth. Finished third at regionals. Had 39-5 record this season, bringing career mark to 106-40. Led Plum with 113 take-downs.

  • Adam Brochetti, Sr., Kittanning, 152 pounds —- Won PIAA Southwest Regional Class AAA championship, then took sixth at the state meet. Finished 34-3 for the season after winning his first 34 matches. Finished career with record of 111-10.

  • Dave Gardner, Jr., Norwin, 160 pounds — Finished fourth in PIAA Class AAA finals and ended season with 33-5 record. Finished second in regional finals for second consecutive season.

  • Logan Downes, Fr., Valley, 160 pounds — Qualified for Class AAA state meet and racked up 32-9 record in his freshman season, but went 1-2 at the PIAA finals. Finished third at regionals after winning Section 4-AAA championship.

  • Scott McKillop, Sr., Kiski Area, 189 pounds — Finished senior season 29-9, earning first trip to PIAA Class AAA championships in very tough weight class. Went 1-2 at states. Finished second to state champion Matt Cassidy at regionals and in Section 4-AAA.

  • Dan Boden, Sr., Gateway, 189 pounds — Earned first trip to PIAA Class AAA finals, going 1-2 at states. Took third at regionals, finishing senior season with 29-8 record.

  • Coach of the Year: Chuck Froehlich, Plum, sixth year — Led Mustangs to WPIAL Class AAA team playoffs and coached three state medalists — 189-pound champion Matt Cassidy, 135-pound fourth-place winner Will Tedder and freshman Sean Clair, who took seventh at 112 pounds.

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