Plum wrestlers prep for section tournament
By: Michael Love
Monday, February 12, 2018 | 11:00 PM
The WPIAL Class AAA wrestling section tournaments are just over a week away, and Plum's group of eight, coach Steve Stremple said, is getting a lot of work done in the practice room ahead of the postseason.
“The guys are just focusing on some of the little things that will help them take it to the next level,” Stremple said. “The guys are pushing the pace a little bit. They are looking for that small tweak that can take them from losing by one point in a match to a win.”
The regular-season schedule concluded with the Penn-Trafford tournament Feb. 3 and last Thursday's dual with Hampton.
“There was a lot of tough, physical wrestling at Penn-Trafford,” Stremple said. “We were a little beat up after it, but we're getting past that. It's nice we have this time before sections to get some guys healed up.”
The Section 1 tournament will be Feb. 24 at Kiski Area. Matches begin at 9:30 a.m., and the top five from each weight class will advance to the WPIAL championships/Southwest Regional on March 2 at Canon-McMillan.
Sophomore Cole Yocca (10 6⁄113 pounds) went 3-1 and won his weight class at the Penn-Trafford tournament and added a victory against Hampton.
He is 18-8 on the season with 49 takedowns and five pins.
“Cole has really turned it on and picked up some nice wins,” Stremple said. “He's really gearing up for sections.”
Junior Tallon Auth (132), is second on the team in wins (16-15) and has six pins and 36 takedowns. He recorded a seventh-place finish at the Allegheny County tournament a couple of weeks ago.
“Tallon's wrestled some seriously tough opponents the last couple of matches, and that's good for him to get that work,” Stremple said. “Even though he lost some, he's really pushed the pace and went on the offensive against guys who are not used to people attacking them.”
Seniors Joe (12-12) and Mike (13-18) Delpino are hoping to cap their careers with strong postseason runs. Mike Delpino, at 145, leads the team in pinfall victories with nine. Joe Delpino is wrestling at 138.
“Joe has really come on strong,” Stremple said. “He's moving his feet a lot more and making good decisions on the mat. Mike's right on the cusp. He lost a couple of really tough ones down the stretch. They were real close one-point, two-point matches. He just has to tweak a couple of little things.”
Sophomore Gavin James (126) is hoping to qualify for the WPIAL tournament for the second year in a row.
James, 15-12 overall, placed fourth at 113 at last year's Section 1 tournament to punch his ticket to the next round. He was the only Plum wrestler among the returnees this season to make it to WPIALs.
Joe Delpino fell one win short at sections last year, taking sixth at 132.
Stremple said he is confident James can make that return trip to WPIALs and hopes to see others make the jump.
Sophomore Jarrod Citrano (6-5 at 152) and juniors Colin Stecik (12-11 at 160) and Spencer Wilson (4-14 at 170) also are hoping for good things at the section tournament.
Citrano finished as the 152-pound runner-up at the Penn-Trafford tournament. He posted four wins in five matches.
“Section 1 is one of the toughest in the WPIAL, but the guys are looking forward to seeing how they stack up at this point in the season,” Stremple said.