Led by 3-time WPIAL champ, Derry wrestlers gunning for playoff return

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | 5:15 PM

As the Derry wrestling team prepares to open the season Saturday, the district and coach Mike Weinell have one common theme: Don’t look too far ahead.

“You can’t,” Weinell said. “With this pandemic, things change by the minute. We just have to worry about today and hope we can practice tomorrow.”

Derry (7-9, 2-3 Section 3B) missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2015.

The Trojans are looking to return this season as they compete with Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland, newcomer Ligonier Valley, Yough and Elizabeth Forward in Section 3B.

Derry returns 13 wrestlers who competed in more than 10 matches in 2019-20, including eight starters.

Heading the list is three-time WPIAL champion Ty Cymmerman. The senior is a two-time PIAA placewinner, finishing fourth in 2019 and sixth in 2020.

Cymmerman went a disappointing 3-3 in the 2020 state tournament in a very tough weight class.

Cymmerman (121-22, 39-8) is looking to become the next wrestler to hang his jersey in the Derry wrestling room for winning a state title at 145 pounds.

“That’s my goal,” Cymmerman said last season. “I just have to continue to work hard and hopefully get the chance to do it.”

Other starters returning are senior Xavier Merlin (126), sophomore Alex Cole (132), senior Nick Reeping (138), junior Connor Lucas (152), junior Eric Catone (172), junior Brayden Mickinac (189) and junior Noah Cymmerman (285).

Mickinac (11-6) qualified for the PIAA Southwest Regional after finishing seventh in the WPIAL.

“I believe we’ll compete for the sub-section title and a spot in the playoffs,” Weinell said. “I also expect big things from Ty. He knows what he has to do.”

But like everything, Cymmerman and Weinell continue to pray the season is held with little disruption.

“We’re moving forward,” Weinell said. “The school is going full remote this week, but we’re able to practice. We moved out of the wrestling room and moved into one of the auxiliary gyms so we have more space and we can separate better. It’s different, but it’s nice.

“We’re planning on wrestling, and we’re planning to hold our tournament in the spring. The administration is very supportive.”

Derry opens the season Saturday in the Monroeville Mat Madness event against some powerhouse squads — Waynesburg (No. 1 in Class AAA), Seneca Valley (No. 3 in AAA), Connellsville (No. 6 in AAA), Butler (No. 10 in AAA) and Burrell (No. 1 in AA).

“It’s going to be tough, but hopefully it will make us better,” Weinell said.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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