Young wrestlers getting off to a hot start for Plum

Tuesday, January 26, 2021 | 7:39 PM

When Plum wrestling coach Mike Supak was heading into this season, he knew he was going to have a talented wrestler returning in 132-pounder Vincent Citrano, but he also knew that he was going to have a special class of freshmen coming up through the junior high program.

So far this season, those freshmen have been as advertised.

In their first year on the varsity level, Antonino Walker, Sam Snyder and Carson Yocca have all impressed through the first month of the season.

Walker, who has wrestled at 113 and 120 this season, has put together a record of 8-1 with three pins, three forfeits, a major decision and a decision. Snyder, who has wrestled at 106 and 113, has earned a record of 6-3 with three forfeits and three pins.

In limited action, Yocca has also produced a record of 4-0 with two pins and two forfeits. Although it’s still early in the season, Supak has been happy with how they’ve been able to perform.

“I expected Nino (Walker), Carson and Sam to have some success because they’ve been doing it for a while and we’ve been coaching them for a while, like when I was coaching the junior high,” Supak said. “They go and do the extra work. They drive themselves, they set goals, and they go out there and try to achieve them. They don’t really take any time off either.”

Snyder and Walker have had the opportunity to test themselves against some of the best wrestlers in the WPIAL as well.

Walker’s only loss this season came against Seneca Valley’s Tyler Chappell, who is fourth in the Trib HSSN 113-pound rankings. The young Mustang took Chappell into the third overtime period during their match at the Seneca Valley Duals on Jan. 16 before losing, 2-1. Although he lost, Walker said he was able to take a lot away from the match.

“It just helps you know what you’re getting into and who you are wrestling throughout the year in case you get them at the end of the year,” Walker said.

Two of Snyder’s three losses have come against top-ranked WPIAL wrestlers as well. He lost to Quaker Valley’s Jack Kazalas, who is the No. 1 106-pounder in Class AA, and he also fell to Seneca Valley’s Connor Smith, who is ranked No. 2 in Class AAA.

He lost to Kazalas via a 7-3 decision and was pinned by Smith in 1 minute, 50 seconds. As a young wrestler, Snyder said matches like those will calm him down in the future.

“It helps with my nerves,” Snyder said. “I get nervous before a lot of my matches, but knowing that I can hang with those guys calms me down a lot.”

The young Mustangs have shown promise this season in their first month of varsity wrestling, and it’s due in part to their work ethic outside of the wrestling room. Supak said all three wrestle with club teams and put in the work on their own time to keep improving throughout the season.

“They are here after practice. They go from here to another practice and they run. They put in all the extra work,” Supak said. “They are always asking questions, like they are true students of the sport and they are always looking to learn. They do all the extra stuff.”

With three young wrestlers like Walker, Yocca and Snyder, along with a few older wrestlers like Citrano, sophomore Andrew Claassen and a few others, the future looks bright at Plum. Supak is happy to see the direction the program is heading.

“It’s a bright spot for us,” Supak said. “With Vinny and a couple of the other guys that are older up top, then having another group come through that helps demonstrate a right model of the right behavior for practices for everybody else solidifies what’s the right way to drill and what helps hone your craft.”

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


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