Hluschak hopes to carry on tradition
JOE SEREMULA/Special to THE TIMES NEWS The Northern Lehigh wrestling team for the 2013-14 season coached by Steve Hluschak Jr.
Steve Hluschak left Northern Lehigh in 2000 as a three-time district champ and state medalist.
Hluschak experienced plenty of success in a talented Bulldogs' program, which was also a state runner-up as a team in 1998.
After taking over the reigns when long-time coach Todd Herzog resigned at the end of last season, Hluschak has his heart set on developing his own pack of Bulldogs this season into potential champions.
Hluschak also wants his team to carry on the tradition that he was a part of.
"In term of team goals, we would love to compete for the Colonial League Championship," Hluschak said. "I know there's going to be some quality teams like there is every year, but we're always going to strive to win our league. That's first and foremost.
"From there, we would like to compete on the district level as a team and individually. "We'd like to get some guys moving onto regionals and states as well. It's been awhile since Northern Lehigh didn't have a guy at states. We would really like to keep that tradition alive. There's a lot of kids who definitely can make the tournament.
"I don't think there's necessarily any kid on our team right now we can say is an absolute lock, however. So, that's something we're striving for - to represent our school in the postseason."
While the current roster takes a hit with the graduation of Ty Herzog, a two-time state medalist, Cody Bowman and Tom Nesfeder, Hluschak has the luxury of welcoming back plenty of returnees.
Seniors Theo Young (182 pounds) and Zach Leiby (145) return looking to make some noise in their final season, while juniors Nate Farber (160), Austin Arnold (170) and Steve Scheib (195) return with plenty of mat time. Sophomores Colton Rex (106) and Matt Schmall (126) return for another year after breaking the lineup as freshmen a year ago.
Hluschak also feels the likes of sophomore Cameron Kates (heavyweight) and a group of freshmen - Ryan Farber (138), Austin Hemingway (120), Jakob Kistler (113) and Jason Schaffer (220) - have the capability of doing good things this season.
"I think consistency will be our strength throughout the entire lineup," Hluschak said. "I don't think there is necessarily one general area that is weaker or stronger than the other areas. We do have some kids returning from last year that have worked real hard over the course of the summer and in the off-season in general. We're looking forward to seeing them progress and win more matches than they did last year."
Hluschak and his coaching staff also welcome back a few individuals who were away from the sport for a year.
"I think just the technique of the guys, who didn't wrestle last year is a concern," said Hluschak. "It is going to help us fill a lineup and allow us to put a quality athlete at most weight classes.. We need to work on the technique again with those guys. They lost a lot of time on the mat and we need to continue to work with them and get them back maybe to where they were before they decided to take a year off."
"Right now, their work ethic has been commendable," Hluschak said. "We know it's not easy, both mentally and physically, but these kids have done exactly what was asked of them.
"With that being said, if they continue this positive progress, I think we can definitely be successful this year and surprise some people."