Plum’s Citrano, Stecik cap season at WPIAL wrestling championships
Friday, March 8, 2019 | 7:33 PM
As a freshman this year, Plum’s Vinny Citrano believed in himself every time he stepped on a mat, and it showed in his results. But before his first match at the WPIAL individual championships Feb. 28, the magnitude of the event set in.
“There were definitely some butterflies in my stomach that first match, because I didn’t know what to expect,” Citrano said. “I was confident, but there were still some nerves there.”
Citrano went on to win by technical fall, 15-0 over Ambridge’s Tyler Holman in the first round and ended up winning three matches to place in the top eight in the 106-pound weight class at WPIAL’s last weekend at Canon-McMillan.
Colin Stecik, a senior, also represented Plum at WPIALs, making his second consecutive appearance at the tournament. He fell in the first round in a 9-3 decision to Indiana’s Bradley Petras.
After Citrano defeated Holman, he lost a tight 1-0 decision to Canon McMillan’s Costa Moore but responded with a pair of victories in the consolation bracket. He scored a 12-2 major decision over Kiski Area’s Antonio Giordano and a 9-7 decision over Penn-Trafford’s Troy Hohman to advance to the consolation semifinals.
Citrano dropped a 5-1 decision to Connellsville’s Mason Prinkey in the consolation semifinals, which ended his tournament.
Citrano narrowly missed reaching his goal of earning a berth at the PIAA tournament, but still showed he’ll be a force to be dealt with for years to come. He finished with a 30-6 record and had a runner-up finish to Franklin Regional’s Carter Dibert at the individual sectional tournament.
“I feel like I left a pretty good mark, and I’m really looking forward to wrestling there again next year,” Citrano said.
Stecik made a decision to drop two weight classes from 160 to 145 prior to the Allegheny County tournament in January, because he felt the change provided the best chance for him to make it to WPIALs.
He cut out all fast food and snacks from his diet, stopped drinking soda and drank a lot of water to get down to his goal, and it turned out to be the correct decision.
Stecik won a fifth-place consolation match at the Section 1 individual tournament with a pin over Penn-Trafford’s Ryan Bacha to earn the final spot at WPIALs.
The win or have your high school career end implications of the match made a normally stoic Stecik become emotional after the win.
“Warming up, I kept saying to myself to go in there and give it my best shot and work my match,” Stecik said. “I didn’t want it to be my last match, so I kept telling myself that I was going to win. It was pretty exciting. I don’t really show much emotion after winning, but I got pretty excited after that one.”
Stecik found himself becoming emotional again after losing at WPIALs, while coming to terms that his high school career was over. He finished the season with a 16-17 record and was happy to be among the WPIAL’s elite for a second consecutive season.
“The competition there is on another level,” Stecik said. “There are so many good wrestlers there that could go to the state tournament, but don’t make it because of the area we are in.”
Citrano credit his older brother, Jarrod, a junior on the Mustangs wrestling team, with helping him get through his freshman season, but also got advice from Stecik
The pair became pretty good friends during the season, and Citrano appreciated the help he received along the way.
“(Colin) was kind of like another big brother this year,” Citrano said. “He showed me things I never knew before, and he told me that this year was going to be tough. He helped me get through it.”
Stecik is looking forward to following Citrano’s progress the next three years and expects him to reach some major heights in the future.
“Vinny is really talented,” Stecik said. “To be one match away from making states as a freshman is really impressive. I’m sure by his senior year or sooner he’ll be placing at states. I have no doubt about that.”
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer
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