The Allderdice wrestling team has two City League titles under its belt and an even loftier goal.
"We had our first regional finalist and first PIAA qualifier last year," said Allderdice coach Mike Shaw, referring to senior Ean DiSilvio. "This year, we're hoping to have a second, and maybe a third PIAA qualifier."
Shaw's comments came after Allderdice (14-4) claimed its second consecutive City League team title with last Thursday's convincing 54-18 win against Perry Traditional Academy.
"Our first goal was to defend our City League team title," Shaw said. "The second is to be the top finisher at the City League individual tournament. And the third is to have more than one PIAA qualifier."
Allderdice won 11 of the 14 weight classes in the City title match, including seven via falls: Josh Zinkovsky (126), Ryan Campbell (132), DiSilvio (145), Cameron Jacobson (152), Jaylen Wilkins (182), Ranier Smith (195) and Pat Ferguson (285).
"I was surprised with the margin of victory," Shaw said. "I expected the match to be much closer, since one of our top kids [Dillion Mulvihill] was out of the lineup. The kids did a great job."
The victory earned Allderdice its second consecutive berth in the PIAA Class AAA tournament, which began Monday. The Dragons faced WPIAL third-place finisher North Allegheny in a preliminary-round match and Allderdice lost, 72-7.
"I had hoped that we would do better than we did against North Allegheny, but we were missing a couple kids for various reasons," said Shaw, who pointed out the Dragons won only two of the 14 bouts.
Shaw wants the Dragons to put the North Allegheny match behind them and concentrate on the upcoming City League individual tournament, which will take place Feb. 16 at Carrick High School.
"The top two finishers in each weight class qualify for the Northwest Region tournament," Shaw said. "Our hope is to have at least nine kids qualify."
Allderdice had nine wrestlers advance to the City League finals last year. Two were seniors and three were underclassmen who are no longer with the team.
"It hurt not having those guys back, but we've done very well without them," Shaw said.
DiSilvio is the only returning City League champion who has a chance to join the elite four-time champions list. Shaw is quite familiar with this list, considering he's a member. He won four City League titles from 1997-2000 while attending Carrick.
The other four-time champions are Carrick's Tom Ford (1991-93), Allderdice's Harry Ducarme (2004-07), Brashear's Jonathan Hanna (2007-10) and Brashear's Damian Link (2007-10).
"Ean has been competing at 138 all season, but he might drop to 132 for the City League tournament," Shaw said. "The same is true for Brian Estep. He's been at 152, but will most likely be dropping to 145. I should know by the end of the week."
DiSilvio (27-4) was the first Allderdice wrestler to advance to the Northwest Region finals and the first to qualify for the PIAA tournament. Estep (30-2) is a transfer who started the past three years at Hampton.
"Brian has been a good addition to our team," Shaw said. "I expect him to do well at both the City League and Northwest Region tournaments."
Mulvihill (12-3 at 145) and Dorion Long-Devaugh (17-2 at 113) are also returning City League champions.
"Dillion [Mulvihill] has been out since suffering a concussion at the Allegheny County tournament," Shaw said. "We're hoping to have him back, but we'll just have to wait and see."
Long-Devaugh returns at the same weight. Mulvihill would move to 152 if he returns.
Other Allderdice wrestlers expected to do well at the City League tournament are Isaiah Slappy (10-7 at 120), Jacobson (21-11 at 145), Wilkins (19-7 at 170), Smith (13-4 at 195) and Ferguson (19-7 at 285).