Indian grapplers looking to make noise
The last thing Lehighton's Dan Williams will have to do this season is look for some leaders on his team.
With four solid seniors returning from successful years, the Indians' wrestling coach is hoping to make some noise not only in the Mountain Valley Conference, but also in the postseason.
"We have a really good group of seniors coming back," said Williams. "I've been with these guys since they were in seventh grade from coaching middle school. I'm looking for big things out of them.
"Of all the seniors, Michael Balliet, Zach Coleman, Anthony Farole and Jacob Hoats, those are really the core guys on this team. I'm looking for all of them to contend for a district title and I expect all those guys to be regional qualifiers."
Farole went 35-9 a year ago, taking third at districts and regionals to earn a trip to the state tournament at Hershey.
"Anthony's goal should be to get back and get a state medal at Hershey," said Williams. "He's one of the guys in the heart of our lineup. That's going to be the spot where we hopefully will take over some of our dual meets."
After Farole at 152, there's a good chance opponents will get Coleman at 160 and Balliet at 170. Coleman posted a 23-12 record last year while Balliet went 27-9 and took fifth at districts.
"In the lighter weights, it's a tough mix of youth and inexperience," said Williams. "Once we get through those weight classes and we hit 45, 52, 60, 70, 82 that's really where we have the heart of our lineup."
Hoats may not fit into the heart of the order, but he gives Williams some strength in the lighter weights. The senior went 26-8 a year ago.
"I think we could challenge for an MVC title this year," said Williams. "We have it within us. If we ... fill the lineup the way we're trying to ... I think we've got a shot."
That chance would be even better if Mitch Moyer was healthy. Another senior on the squad, Moyer turned in a 26-13 record last year. He's injured, though, and may not make it back this season.
Williams will look to some others, though, to step in and succeed.
Colton Davidson (5-23) took some lumps during his first year of wrestling, but his head coach says the senior could turn things around this season at 220. Williams is also looking at sophomore Nick Schaeffer (10-15) to step up in the lighter weights.
Those who will probably get a chance to contribute include sophomore Kurt Brownmiller (12-13), freshman Josh Gornick, junior Ian Zimmerman (3-8), junior Dylan Flexer (5-17) and junior Ron Piekarski. Still others looking to find their way into the lineup include Chris Bosco, Zach Rex, Jeremy Rehrig, Dominick Mystkowski, Alex Rankovich, Conner Smith, James Scott and Joe Smith.
"I have a luxury this year that I didn't have last year," Williams said. "Last year it wasn't about inexperience, I just didn't have anybody at times. Now at least I have kids that I can put out, and some of those kids do have past experience which is nice."