A-K Valley Class AAA wrestling preview: Kiski Area ready to live up to expectations
Tuesday, December 3, 2019 | 7:29 PM
For the past three years, Kiski Area has been the team to beat in Class AAA.
The Cavaliers (19-1) are the three-time defending WPIAL Class AAA champions, and they have placed in the top four of the state tournament the past three years.
But, just like many high school teams do, the Cavaliers lost a ton of talent to graduation. This past year, it was state champion Darren Miller (126 pounds) and WPIAL champion Cam Connor (152). Although they lost a lot, the Cavaliers are still ready to live up to the high expectations that they have set for themselves.
“Every year you don’t want to be that team to lose, so you want to come in and win,” Kiski Area senior Jack Blumer said. “I think the expectation for us is pretty high this year. We have never had a state championship team, so we want to be a part of that. That’s my main goal, and that’s the goal of everyone in that room.”
Blumer is the only WPIAL champion returning from last year. He defeated Mars’ Jake Richardson by a 4-0 decision in the 160-pound championship, and then worked his way to a fourth-place finish in the PIAA tournament. He won 46 matches as a junior and has amassed 111 wins in his high school career.
Bucknell commit Nick Delp is another top wrestler returning from last season’s WPIAL championship team. He won 44 matches as a junior, earned a third-place finish at WPIALs and placed eighth at states in the 170-pound bracket.
“There are a lot of goals this year for the team and myself,” Delp said.
Although Blumer and Delp will lead the way for the Cavaliers in their charge for another WPIAL team championship, wrestling is a team sport and Kiski Area is filled with talent from top to bottom.
Dom Giordano (32-13) and Jared Curcio (37-35 career record) are two other seniors who will contribute. Last year, Curcio cut weight and wrestled at 138 for the majority of this season but will jump up to 182 this year and Kiski Area coach Chris Heater is excited to see what he can do.
“He did that (the weight jump) the right way. He did it in the weight room lifting for football,” Heater said. “He’s put a nice body together for himself and I’m happy for him that he’s at a weight where he can just go out and wrestle.”
Sophomores Stone Joseph and Enzo Morlacci are back after solid freshmen seasons where they won a combined 54 matches. Juniors Brayden Roscosky and Sammy Star also return to the mat and are looking to improve on their respectable 35- and 28-win sophomore seasons.
Lone freshman Ryan Klingensmith will also contribute for a Cavaliers team looking to produce another winning season. But, overall, Heater is happy with the talent that the Cavaliers have this year.
“We’re very excited for this season and to see what we can do with the new group,” he said.
The Cavaliers will start their season at Gateway on Friday and Saturday as they compete at the Eastern Area Wrestling Invitational.
A year after going 4-11 overall, Knoch returns a roster filled with experience after only losing two seniors.
Guy DeLeonardis is back for his senior season after finishing third in the 152-pound bracket at last year’s section tournament. He went 25-8 last season and has a career record of 53-32.
Heavyweight Eli Reese finished third at the sectional tournament last season and capped off the season with a 19-12 overall record. Kam Grassi is another Knight to watch this season. He went 8-4 last year but has a career record of 40-19.
Fox Chapel (8-9)
Fox Chapel lost a lot from last season. Section runner-up Avery Bursick, Jordana Matamoros, James Patterson, Sean Mahon and Stephen Cano have all graduated, leaving the Foxes with a lot of inexperience throughout the lineup.
Three wrestlers to watch will be seniors Josh Miller, Alex Wecht and Eddie Farrell. Miller wrestled at 152 pounds last year and finished fourth in the section. He also came up just short of a .500 overall record.
Wecht wrestled at 160 for the Foxes, went 21-15 and placed fourth at the section tournament.
Farrell led the team in win last year, improving his career record to 61-30. He finished seventh at the WPIAL tournament last year and racked up 16 pins.
The Citrano brothers led the way for the Mustangs last season. Younger brother Vinny, a freshman last year, finished with a record of 30-6 and placed fifth at the WPIAL tournament, coming up just shy of punching his ticket to the state tournament in the 106-pound weight class.
Jared, who will be a senior this year, went 20-11 to improve his career record to 27-18. Coach Mike Supak believes Jared and fellow senior Cole Yocca will play crucial leadership roles this season as well.
“This season should be one that will be exciting to see growth and to build on the experiences of last year,” Supak said.”
Apollo-Ridge junior Logan Harmon is the final wrestler from the A-K Valley competing in Class AAA. Last year, he competed with the Armstrong River Hawks in a co-op agreement and finished with an overall record of 22-6.
He wrestled at 195 pounds, placing second in the section tournament and fifth at WPIALs, and recorded 12 pins.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
Tags: Kiski Area
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