After strong finish at Allegheny County tournament, Plum looks forward to postseason

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Sunday, January 23, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Few teams at the Allegheny County tournament Jan. 14 and 15 at Fox Chapel High School had the overall performance the Plum wrestling team produced.

Led by senior Vinny Citrano, who placed first at 132 pounds, and sophomore Rylen Campbell, runner-up at 106, the Mustangs took third overall.

It was a continuation of a strong December of performances that have carried over into the New Year.

“The guys did so good at counties,” Plum coach Mike Supak said. “We took 14, and 13 of them scored points. We were the only team to bring back everyone (to Saturday) who weighed in originally on Friday. That was a strong sign. We had 11 place winners, which was the most out of anyone in the tournament. I am really proud of the way the guys wrestled. They continued to work hard and improve, and the county tournament was a great test for them.”

Supak said he likes the where the team sits at this point in the season. Plum was 3-2 in Section 1 matches through a 69-3 victory over Gateway on Jan. 19.

The Mustangs also placed third as a team at the season-opening Eastern Area tournament at Gateway, took second at the Southmoreland Holiday Classic and finished third at the Bo Wood Tournament Jan. 8 at Indiana High School.

“They all are involved in the practice room and are getting better,” Supak said.

“You can see that on the mat as they are all battling and competing and trying to dominate and win. They understand where we are in the season and what they need to do over the next couple weeks as the (championship) tournaments approach.”

Plum’s continued rise in the ranks, both as individuals and as a team, comes as the lineup still is young with only two seniors on the roster: Citrano and Lucas Heath (189 pounds).

Citrano, now 18-0 after five wins at the county tournament and a victory by fall against Gateway, was No. 2 at 132 pounds in the Trib HSSN Class 3A rankings released Jan. 17.

He was behind only Waynesburg’s Mac Church on the rankings list.

Citrano, at 91-17 for his career after the Gateway match, is closing in on an exclusive club of Plum 100-match winners.

He rolled to the county tournament finals and claimed the title with a 3-2 victory over Thomas Jefferson’s Maddox Shaw, the top 126 pounder in the Trib 3A rankings.

“Over the two days, I was just relentless, always scoring the first point and being super stingy with every point I gave or didn’t give up,” Citrano said.

“I had to stay in good position the whole match, for six minutes. I felt really good and got the results I wanted.”

Plum finished third at the county tournament behind North Allegheny and Quaker Valley.

Helping secure the place finish were nine other individual place winners in sophomore Antonio Walker (fourth at 126), sophomore Jack Tongel (fifth at 160), junior Andrew Claassen (fifth at 172), junior Ollie Freeman (seventh at 285), sophomore Sam Snyder (seventh at 113), junior Frank Macioce (eighth at 215), sophomore Carson Yocca (eighth at 113), sophomore Charlie Campbell (eighth at 138) and junior Dakoda Pisano (eighth at 145).

“It took a whole team effort to place third,” Supak said. “Every match counted, and everyone just went after it.”

Coming out of the match with Gateway last week, eight Plum wrestlers sported at least 15 wins: Citrano, Rylen Campbell (19-4), Walker (19-5), Tongel (18-10), Snyder (17-6), Claassen (16-9), Yocca (16-10) and Macioce (16-10).

Plum again will test its mettle at the 31st Buckeye Local Panther Classic on Jan. 29.

In the past, the Mustangs have fared well at the one-day tournament with teams from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. That success includes several champions and numerous place winners.

“We are still a young team with just the two seniors, but it is a reflection of the program overall to be resilient enough to bounce back when numbers were low and build it back up,” Supak said.

“The kids have put in the work, and it is paying off on the mat. They sometimes get frustrated because it might be a different guy each day who is starting to get an edge or an advantage. That pushes everyone harder, and they compete with each other very well.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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