Tribe wrestling has youth & experience
ED HEDES/TIMES NEWS Members of the Lehighton wrestling team for this season include, front row from left, Ezra Neff, Antonio Lorenzo, Cody Semmel, Zach Kemmerer, Tegan Durishin, Grant Wetzel; middle row, Josh Gornick, Kerry Galanos, Anthony Yerger, Chris Kurdziel, Chris Clay, Anthony Farano, Dustin Koons; back row, Tyler Cann, Dominik Mystkowski, Connor Frey, Perry Didyoung, Logan Berger, Erik Scrinkosky, Alexander Smith and Joel Kuneck.
Youth and experience.
In the sports world, those two words are rarely found together.
At Lehighton, however, they're the perfect combination to describe this year's wrestling team.
Blessed with a talented sophomore class, the Indians and head coach Dan Williams are looking forward to a successful season.
"When you talk about Lehighton's wrestling program you have to talk about the sophomores," said Williams. "They're a group of kids who have been together since the knee-high level and they're good kids. They're not only athletic but they're smart. They do well in the classroom, and they do well in the wrestling room.
"They're the guys who are going to be taking this program and propelling it forward. There's no doubt about it. I think this year is the year for them to do that, take that next step forward."
Three of the dozen sophomores on the squad not only have experience at the varisty level, but also postseason experience. Zach Kemmerer, who will be at 120 pounds, finished fifth at districts as a freshman and advanced to regionals. Tegan Durishin, at 126, also placed fifth at districts in a very tough weight class while Connor Frey, at 182 this season, took a fourth at districts and a sixth at regionals.
"Those guys made some noise in the postseason for us last year," said Williams. "We're looking for them to do some really big things for us this season.
"Our goal is always medals out at Hershey. I'm really looking forward to seeing these kids grow and get even better as they move forward. They've set the bar high already as freshmen going into their sophomore year. I'm looking for them to take it to the next level."
The trio aren't the only sophomores that will be in Williams' lineup. Tyler Cann started a year ago before getting hurt and will man the 152-pound spot. Erik Skrincosky could slide in at 195 while Logan Berger and Zander Smith are possibilities in the upper weights.
"It's nice because that group gets to grow together," said Williams. "There's really only one senior on the team with experience so next year we're going to have all those guys back for another year to grow together. It's a nice situation to be in."
That lone senior is Anthony Farano, a three-year letterwinner. Farano will be at 145 and helps form a strong middle of the lineup, which should also include juniors Josh Gornick (132) and Dominick Mystkowski (160).
"Farano is our senior with experience," said Williams. "This is his fourth year in our lineup. He's been stepping up as a leader for us. Two kids that did a good job in the offseason were Gornick and Mystkowski. They were in the weight room and it shows.
"I think we're going to have an opportunity, if we bump people here and there, to fill the lineup. I think once we get to the early middle of our lineup, 120, there's going to be a good stretch of wins. There could be a string of 5-6 wins there in any match. That's the momentum-builder that can turn a match around for you."
Lehighton will face question marks at some spots. Three freshmen (Ezra Neff, Antonio Lorenzo and Grant Wetzel) could occupy the first two weight classes while no one is slated at 138 or 220 right now. Joel Kunek, a junior, could battle Smith for the heavyweight spot while freshman Perry Didyoung might pull down the starting assignment at 170.
"I think a couple of the teams that were doing really well (in the MVC) are down a bit," said Williams. "This is our opportunity to take a step forward. We've been at the bottom of the MVC the last couple years but we've been building and I think this is our opportunity to move toward the top. I can't say I think we're going to win it outright but I think it's an opportunity for us to challenge."