Cummings rolled all the way to Hershey

Whether he asked for it or not, Downingtown East’s Wade Cummings had a lot of pressure on him entering his junior season. Son of a wrestling coach after arriving to high school with many youth-level accolades, Cummings (126 pounds) not only had high expectations from himself, but his team and even the Ches-Mont League.

After rolling through the regular season with just two losses, Cummings had the best postseason of his career, capping it with a fourth-place finish in the Class AAA PIAA tournament in Hershey.

For that, Cummings is the 2015 Daily Local News All-Area Wrestler of the Year.

“I think it was a nice step up after making states the year before but not medaling,’ Cummings said. “To come back and build off of that and do better was nice and now I can build off of that for next year.’

Cummings was dominant as a junior, winning 49 of 53 bouts. He is 21 wins away from breaking the Chester County public school record of 154 set by West Chester Rustin’s Corey McQuiston. He was once again the biggest cog to the East team that won its fourth straight Ches-Mont National Division championship.

Much of the regular season was a glorified warmup for Cummings, and until he reached the Southeast Regional tournament, the postseason was much of the same. He had three pins and two technical falls in the league and district tournaments, and was named the District 1 Central Outstanding Wrestler.

“It was a really fun journey, starting all the way back to the state loses last year,’ East coach Joe Horvath said. “It set the stage in the offseason, and his training built all the way up to the regular season. He kept his eye on the prize and focused on the postseason and it was icing on the cake when he medaled at states.’

Cummings punched his second ticket to states with a dramatic 3-2 win over Council Rock South’s Zack Trampe in the regional final.

Finally in Hershey, Cummings fell to the eventual two-time state champion, Luke Karam of Bethlehem Catholic, in the second round. In a do-or-die consolation bout, Cummings knocked off Parkland’s returning fifth-place medalist, Jacob Lizak. He won his next two as well before falling to Ethan McCoy of Greater Latrobe. Karam and McCoy were the only wrestlers to beat Cummings in the regular season, also.

The top 10 ranked wrestlers at 126 are all underclassmen, so Cummings will likely be seeing some of the same foes if he can make a third and final trip to Hershey as a senior.

“I see myself around the same weight, either 126 or 132,’ Cummings said. “I’m comfortable there and I don’t have to kill myself there, and I got some good experience in a deep weight so that helps.’

Sometimes the biggest proof of a wrestler’s ability is how his teammates grow at the same time. Not coincidentally, Nik Zimmerman, East’s 120-pounder, went from 16-17 as a sophomore to 32-12 with a regionals appearance as a junior.

“Wade has raised the bar with his winning percentage and his win totals and now a state medal,’ Horvath said. “He’s set some really new and high expectations for the program and for the individuals. It’s something we’re proud of and the object now is not only for him to progress but for the team to show the same progress.’

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