Bears’ grapplers optimistic heading into season
Members of the 2019-20 Pleasant Valley wrestling team include, front row from left, Freya Lauritsen, Everett Lata, Logan Segeda, Eddie Lauritsen, Mattison Hyland and Hannah Hunter; middle, Kelly Kaye, Josh Griffith, Jonathan Feldman, Alex Hahn, Tyler Fette, Chris Frable, Alexander Higgins, Sallee Chan and head coach Justin Micklos; back, Thomas Lovito, Gavin Dorn, James Syracuse, Alex Womack, RJ Dominick, Gentry Knapp and Dillon Anderson. PATRICK MATSINKO/TIMES NEWS
Alex Womack cut right to the chase.
“I’m trying to be better in the postseason, because last year I kind of laid an egg,” said the Pleasant Valley senior. “I just want to be better than last year, and keep improving.”
Womack, who was a match away from placing in the top-six at the District 11 Class 3A tournament, going 2-2 at 160 pounds, seemed to share the thoughts of many Bears heading into the season.
After not advancing any of its wrestlers past districts last year, Pleasant Valley is looking to turn the corner this season.
“It’s been great in the room,” said Bears head coach Justin Micklos. “We are getting great leadership from our three seniors, and our younger guys are also very talented. With the leadership and talent-level in the room, we’re moving in the right direction as a program. And it’s great to see a more competitive atmosphere at PV.”
Womack, who finished last season 21-7 wrestling at 160 pounds, Tyler Fette (132) and Hannah Hunter (120) are the three seniors on a team that rosters around 20 wrestlers.
“I think just wrestling tough, and wrestling the better competition in the room will help them,” said Micklos. “Good competition breeds better competition, and you just keep building off stuff like that.
“With the kids we have in the room this year, it’s a great opportunity for the seniors and the kids moving up to compete and continue to build and get to that higher level.”
Juniors Chris Frable (19-7, 182), Gavin Dorn (15-14, 195). Dillon Anderson (15-14, 152) and sophomore James Syracuse (12-10, 170) are among the underclassmen who have helped raise the bar and increase the expectations heading into the season.
“Those guys are all very capable of being a solid part of our lineup,” said Micklos. “Not to say that some of our lighter guys can’t, because we have some great wrestlers down there as well.
“We have Josh Griffith (sophomore, 113) coming up, Everett Lata (sophomore, 120), and a few other returning starters from last year. So we have a pretty solid lineup most of the way through.”
The Bears will have to replace Anthony Mazzella, lost to graduation. Mazzella went 20-7 a year ago at 195 pounds.
“Hopefully we win a lot more than we did last year, but it’s not going to happen if we don’t work hard enough,” said Dorn. “The harder we work, the better we’ll get.”
“I think we’ll have our bumps in the road, which every team has,” added Frable. “But we should be able to improve on what we did last year. We have the technique, now we just need to work on fine-tuning it.”
While Pleasant Valley didn’t qualify for the District 11 team tournament, the Bears did defeat Dieruff 57-14 in the 13th-place match during the EPC’s Championship Day event last season.
“The team’s definitely bigger, and we definitely work harder in the room,” said Hunter. “I think we have the chance to really improve this season.”