Trio of A-K Valley wrestlers capture Allegheny County titles

Saturday, January 18, 2020 | 10:07 PM

Plum’s Vince Citrano just came up short at last season’s Allegheny County wrestling tournament.

That loss to South Park’s Joey Fischer in the 106-pound championship sat with Citrano for a year, and Saturday evening at Fox Chapel, the Mustangs sophomore got his chance at redemption.

Facing off against Moon’s Tyler Diggins in the 113-pound final, Citrano put on a show and pinned Diggins in 3 minutes, 47 seconds.

“This feels amazing,” Citrano said. “It feels really good, but I still have a lot of work to do in order to get that state title.”

Citrano was dominant throughout the weekend. He earned his first victory with a 19-4 technical fall in 3:12. Then, he pinned Hampton’s Camron Rakar in three minutes in their quarterfinal match after scoring 16 points.

During his semifinal match, Citrano ran up an 18-3 score on Quaker Valley’s Mike Carmody to earn a technical fall in 3:14.

“My pace was awesome, I was going after kids, pushing kids up, going after shots,” Citrano said. “I was just really active, and I like that. I like going after points.”

Citrano has a record of 15-1, and he’s nowhere near satisfied. On Monday, he will be back at work.

“There are other guys working towards being a state champ, too,” Citrano said. “So, I still have other guys I need to beat.”

Citrano wasn’t the only A-K Valley wrestler to win a first county title. Fox Chapel’s Ed Farrell got one in front of his hometown crowd at 220 pounds, and Highlands’ Jrake Burford won the 132-pound title.

The Golden Rams sophomore won in eye-catching fashion. Burford won the award for the most pins in the least amount of time, and he also joined a small group of Highlands wrestlers to a county title.

“I can’t remember the last time Highlands had an all-county champion,” Burford said. “So, this feels pretty good.”

From the No. 2 seed, Burford worked his way through the bracket, racking up five pins. Only one of his matches left the first period. His first pin came in 49 seconds, then he pinned South Fayette’s RJ Dewey in 1:18.

Burford pinned North Allegheny’s Aj Rohan in 2:34 to get to the semifinals.

Pine Richland’s Kelin Laffey entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed, and he had beat Burford twice before. But Burford flipped the script on Laffey in the title match and pinned him in 1:46.

“After wrestling him so many times, I knew he liked to stick to one side,” Burford said. “So I knew that if I was able to stop that, then he wouldn’t know what to do. I just wanted to stop the attack from that one side then continue to be aggressive.”

In front of a hometown crowd, Farrell took the mat first in the championship match, and he defeated McKeesport’s Andy Mellinger by a 3-1 decision. The Fox Chapel senior took advantage of a second-period escape and a third-period takedown with 34 seconds left to earn the victory.

“This has been my goal since seventh grade when I first started wrestling,” Farrell said. “I wanted to be on top of the podium at the Allegheny County tournament.”

Heading into the tournament, Farrell said he felt snubbed after receiving the No. 2 seed when he had pinned No. 1 seed Damon Thompson of North Hills on Wednesday in a section match. Farrell used it as extra motivation.

He earned a pin in 3:34 in his first-round match, then recorded an 11-1 major decision over Highlands’ Jeremiah Saunders. His semifinal victory came via pin of Montour’s Josh Sobeck in 1:58.

“After doing that (pinning Thompson), I was definitely a little confident coming in,” Farrell said. “But, I’m never overconfident.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .

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