Kiski Area wrestlers roll past Plum in Section 1 match
By: Doug Gulasy
Wednesday, January 9, 2019 | 10:45 PM
Kiski Area has a busy week of wrestling ahead, and the Cavaliers wasted little time in starting it off the right way.
Top-ranked Kiski Area used a run of pins and forfeits on its way to a 78-4 victory over host Plum in a Section 1-AAA match Wednesday night.
“This is all practice for the playoffs,” said Kiski Area freshman Enzo Morlacci, who had one of the Cavaliers’ eight pins. “This is just getting ready, honing in your skills and getting ready to win.”
Two-time defending WPIAL champion Kiski Area (5-0, 3-0) can clinch another postseason berth with a win Saturday over Central Catholic. Between now and then, the Cavaliers have their annual nonsection match against Class AA No. 1 Burrell on Friday and a nonsection match against Connellsville on Saturday.
“We’ve been in a couple of tough tournaments here with Powerade and counties, so we’re kind of getting out of the tournament circuit now and into the duals,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “We’re looking forward to that. Usually by this point we have 11 or 12 dual meets in, and this is our fifth one.
“We love the dual meets, and we enjoy those. We’re looking forward to getting in a stretch of wrestling dual meets now, guys wrestling for each other and stuff. It’s a different environment.”
Right now, the environment matters little for Kiski Area, which won the Westmoreland County team championship for a fourth consecutive season and finished as the top-placing team at the Powerade Christmas Tournament in late December.
Wednesday, the Cavaliers won eight of nine contested bouts, all by pin, and picked up an additional five forfeits. Just two bouts lasted beyond the first period, and Kiski Area finished off its victory in a tidy 26 minutes.
“It sounds weird, but we dominate,” Morlacci said. “It’s not for any reason other than how hard we work in the practice room. Everything we get, we practice for and we train for, so this has been a long time coming.”
Plum (2-2, 2-2), dealing with low numbers and inexperience, got a match-opening major decision by freshman Vince Citrano at 106 pounds but not much after that.
“With that many forfeits, I know number-wise we’re not going to win the match,” Plum coach Steve Stremple said. “And the fact that they have several kids ranked in the state, we started four freshmen, two who are first-year wrestlers. That’s about half our team. I just told our team all week if you wrestle your match, if you push the pace, I want to see everyone go forward on the attack, working on things they can improve on.
“All our guys, the first step off the whistle was forward, and almost every single one of our kids got a shot in. Whether we scored on it or not, that’s a positive for us.”
Kiski Area won the final 13 bouts of the match after Citrano opened with a major decision. The Cavaliers got pins from Julian Jones, Dom Giordano, Darren Miller, Sammy Starr, Morlacci, Cam Connor, Jack Blumer and Nick Delp. The pins by Miller, Starr, Blumer and Delp all came within a minute.
“Some of the guys were looking to try to wrestle a little bit, but if you get a takedown and end up taking a guy to his back right away, it’s OK to finish and get out of there,” Heater said. “I wish those guys luck — I know they have their county tournament coming up.
“We’re starting to finally head in the right direction and getting healthy. We’re getting a lot of our guys back. It was nice during introductions to see all our guys out there, and all our guys are just about good to go and ready to wrestle and contribute to the team.”
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.