Plum wrestler Vinny Citrano eager to take first steps on road to Hershey
Wednesday, January 6, 2021 | 6:00 PM
For Vinny Citrano, the return to the Plum wrestling room this week was a welcome change.
The Plum junior is using his work on the mat to move past any frustrations born of the recent shutdown of high school athletic activities ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf.
“It was tough because we really wanted to get going and wanted to compete really bad,” said Citrano, who is a combined 57-10 in two varsity season with the Mustangs.
“At the same time, we didn’t skip a beat. We were all in a text message to see who wanted to go for a run or do a workout to keep in shape. We were trying to stay focused as best we could.”
Plum athletics didn’t get going until the week of Dec. 7. The team had a few workouts before the shutdown went into effect Dec. 12.
Citrano, who fell one win short of a trip to states in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, said it was a great feeling to get back in the room with his teammates.
“We’re all a brotherhood here,” he said. “We were so excited to see each other. We practiced really hard. We understand we can’t waste any time.”
Citrano said he got in as much work as possible in the offseason and tested his mettle at the Super 32 Challenge tournament Oct. 24-25 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He finished 1-2 at 120 pounds, winning in the round of 128 before suffering a pair of close decision losses.
“It wasn’t my best wrestling, but it’s a very tough tournament,” Citrano said. “It showed me how rusty I really was. It was a gauge to show me what I needed to do.”
Plum coach Mike Supak said Citrano’s work ethic and attention to detail will help him and motivate him as he works to build toward what he hopes is a trip to Hershey in his third varsity season.
“Vinny looks really good right now,” Supak said. “He put in a lot of work in the offseason despite all the stuff with covid slowing things down. He’s looking forward to getting on the mat and seeing where he is and what he needs to still work on.”
Citrano is now at 126 pounds after splitting time last year between 113 and 120. Plum is scheduled to open competition next Wednesday with two matches at a Penn-Trafford quad meet.
“It’s going to be really nice to get that first competition in and see where we stand individually and as a team,” said Citrano, who finished 27-4 last year with 11 technical falls, eight pins and a major decision.
“I think 126 will be stacked, as all the weight classes are. I just want to do my thing and go out and compete to my best ability.”
Citrano was at 113 for last year’s postseason and started his run with a 3-1 record and third-place finish at the Section 1-AAA tournament behind champion Carter Dibert from Franklin Regional and Ethan Berginc from Hempfield.
At the WPIAL/Southwest Regional tournament, he posted a 1-1 mark in the championship bracket and captured two wins in the consolation rounds before running into Berginc again in the consolation semifinals.
Berginc scored a 5-0 win and denied Citrano the trip to Chocolatetown. Only the top four from each weight class advanced.
“I was down on myself after both of those losses in the blood round at WPIALs the last two years, but after a couple of days, I got back on the horse and saw what I could do to keep on going,” Citrano said. “There is a lot of motivation to now put myself in the position to win those big pressure matches and get past that wall.”
Supak said that despite all of his personal goals, Citrano doesn’t forget his value to his teammates in the practice room.
“When we want to start our practices, I say, ‘Vinny, get them moving,’” Supak said. “When we are demonstrating moves, he will watch things closely. If he sees something going wrong with somebody, he will jump in and help them.
“We want him to concentrate on how to do things correctly within his group so they can see how it is supposed to be done. He is working hard on his own things, but he also understands his place as a leader in helping others get better.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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