Derry wrestling has unexpected holes to fill in quest for success in Class AA

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018 | 7:00 PM


If there was one team primed to end the Burrell’s 12-year run as WPIAL Class AA champions this season, it was Derry.

The Trojans were the WPIAL runners-up in 2018, wrestled in the PIAA team tournament in Hershey and were expected to return 11 starters, including a pair of PIAA qualifiers — sophomore Ty Cymmerman and senior Dom DeLuca.

But when six members of the football team decided not to wrestle for various reasons, Derry coach Mike Weinell went into scramble mode.

He scoured the halls at Derry Area Middle and High School to fill a roster.

“I was a little disappointed when they told me they weren’t going to wrestle,” Weinell said. “But I got some guys to come out that have previously wrestled. We’ll be OK.”

The Trojans (21-4) return eight starters.

Seniors Onreey Stewart, Colton Nemcheck, Hunter Hebenthal and Cullen Shawley, junior Max Malis and sophomore Amari Graham all chose not to wrestle this season. Stewart (138 pounds), Nemcheck (182) and Hebenthal (170) were starters while Shawley and Malis split time at heavyweight.

“I tried to get them, but now I’ve moved on,” Weinell said. “We’ll be able to fill out a lineup, and we’ll work around the eight starters.”

DeLuca (116-23, 48-5) was the 220-pound WPIAL champion and state runner-up. Cymmerman (42-6) was the WPIAL 120-pound champion.

Both have goals of becoming a state champion.

The other starters back are seniors Kace Sabedra (26-21) at 112, Jason Baker (35-13) at 132, Trey Weinell (23-13) at 152 and David Smith (5-26) at 195; as well as juniors Colton McCallen (20-17) at 106 and Garrett Lenhart (6-16) at 160.

DeLuca has college scholarship offers for football and wrestling. He plans on playing football in college and has Division I offers from Towson State and Robert Morris, and a Division II offer from Lake Erie. He said Albany has also shown a lot of interest.

His wrestling offers are from Bucknell, Clarion and George Mason.

“The goal is to be a state champion,” DeLuca said. “But I’ve learned you can’t look past anyone. I have to be better on my feet; it cost me in the state finals.”

DeLuca dropped a 16-8 decision to Bishop McCort’s Anthony Walters.

“I tried to get the football players to wrestle,” DeLuca said. “I told them that they’d regret it later in life.”

Cymmerman went 1-2 in the state tournament, which didn’t satisfy him.

“I’ll have more experience and know what to expect this time,” Cymmerman said. “I have to get to my offense quicker. I know if I want to be a state champion; it’s going to take a lot of hard work.”

Weinell said he knew a rebuilding year was coming, but he expected next year after the seniors graduated.

“I’m excited to see how the new guys fill in,” Weinell said. “We’re going to have a couple freshmen in the lineup (Eric Catone at 145, Brayden Mickinac at 182 and Noah Cymmerman at heavyweight).

“Our goals haven’t changed. We want to win our sub-section and challenge for the section and WPIAL titles. We still can win a lot of matches with this group. It’s going to be fun to watch them grow.”

The WPIAL wrestling committee made numerous changes to the three sections. Derry is now in Section 3 with Burrell, which is in sub-section A. Derry is joined in sub-section B by Elizabeth Forward, Frazier, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland and Yough.

“I truly believe our section is the strongest,” Weinell said. “Hopefully, the more times we wrestle Burrell, the better we’ll become.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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