Bombers depth to overshadow experience
Rich George/Special to the Times News The 2013-14 Palmerton wrestling team under coach Dave Lavin prepares for the upcoming season.
Palmerton head wrestling coach Dave Lavin has enjoyed some success the last couple of years that saw the Bombers reach the league playoffs and district duals.
With some experience through the middle of his lineup and from what he's seen through the first two weeks of practice, Lavin is hoping to keep the program up near the top of the Colonial League.
The biggest problem that Lavin has had to deal with is numbers and trying to fill some of the weight classes to try and make competing in the dual meets a little easier.
"It's going to be tough trying to fill a full lineup, but we're looking at picking up some bonus points from our more experienced guys to counter that," Evans said.
Two of the more experienced wrestlers that Evans is counting on are seniors Josh Evans and Zach Graver.
"Josh has had success ever since his freshman year and I know he was disappointed last year," Lavin said. "He put in a lot of hard work in the off-season. He's a different wrestler, at a different weight and he's very eager to make up for the finish last season.
"Zach traveled all over the country this summer from Florida to Fargo, North Dakota and was one match from being one of the top eight wrestlers in the country in his weight class. I can't wait to see how well he does this year."
Another wrestler that has worked hard in the off-season that Lavin is counting on is Zack Christman.
"He is another one that worked hard and is bigger this year," Lavin said. "He's a very offensive and very dangerous wrestler. There is no doubt in my mind those three should be capable of going pretty far in the post-season."
Looking at the lineup, the Bombers will have second-year wrestler Alex Hummel at 106, looking to get some more experience.
The Bombers will have some holes until they hit 120 pounds where Brandon Trauger moves up from 106 last season and is coming off an injury.
At 126, Dan Russo fills the bill. Lavin said he's a little less experienced, but still works hard just like some of the veterans do. Lavin is hoping to see him have a breakout year.
At 132, Travis Stroup will probably get the nod. He's coming off a season ending injury last year, but has put a lot of time in during the off-season.
Andrew Ringler, who had a great year on the junior high level will be around 132 pounds also.
"We're waiting to see how he adjusts to the varsity level," Lavin noted. "He's an unbelievable athlete and needs just to push himself to adapt because it's a different style. If he can push the offensive and wrestle to his potential, he's going to have an immediate impact."
Evans has moved up to 138 pounds and at 145 will be freshman Zach Laubach, who Lavin calls another "under the radar guy." Lavin feels he'll turn some heads there.
At 152 is Christman, at 160 is Jared Mooney.
"Mooney is another one who is only in his third year of wrestling, but by the end of last season he was being recognized on the junior high level," said Lavin.
At 170 will be Graver and at 182 is Matt Wolfe, another wrestler who has turned the corner and has been getting more confident.
Another freshman, John Iles, will be at 195, who went in seeded at the junior high tournament last year.
Alex Raub, a first-year wrestler and senior, will man the heavyweight spot.
"He's a very good athlete and very strong," Lavin added. "We're just working on the basics and he's picking it up rather quickly."
Lavin feels Saucon Valley will be the team to beat in the league and then after that, he thinks it's wide open.
"These guys come in and work hard every day," he said. "I've been more impressed with this group than any other group that I've coached since I've been here so I'm looking forward to see a lot of these kids go far in tournaments and hopefully in the post-season."