Bulldogs eager to get back to postseason
Members of the 2018-19 Northern Lehigh wrestling team include, front row, from left, Jason Hunter, Trevor Amorim, Ian Molina, Brenden Smay, Nathan Ellen and Joey Abidelli; middle, Brian Chase, Dominic Bandle, Josh Schaffer, Marcus Arroyo and Damion Rodriguez; back row, manager Adalena Warmkessel, assistant coach Andrew Arnold, assistant coach Frank Heffernan, assistant coach Dylan Hofmann, Austin Rudolph, assistant coach Nick Hosford, head coach Scott Snyder and manager Mackenzie Brungard. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
The last two seasons, Scott Snyder was forced to watch at the District 11 Class 2A Team Duals.
This year, the Northern Lehigh wrestling coach wants nothing more than to be with his Bulldogs on the mat competing as a team in the District Duals.
Snyder is so determined to get back there that he has it listed as one of the Bulldogs’ goals to achieve this 2018-19 season.
“As a team, I would love to earn a spot at district duals,” Snyder stressed.
Over the last two seasons, numbers haven’t been kind to the Bulldogs to even secure a full lineup. Instead, they were forced to surrender an abundance of forfeits.
This season, however, the third-year Bulldogs coach feels like they have enough numbers in the wrestling room to get them back in the postseason.
As a team, and as individuals.
“The past two seasons, we haven’t had the numbers to be competitive in dual meet competition,” Snyder said. “I think we have just enough wrestlers to do that now. But, in order to do so, we must keep our wrestlers healthy and do everything we can to keep them on the mat throughout the duration of the season.”
Adding some fuel to the fire is the fact that the Bulldogs didn’t have a single grappler reach regionals a season ago.
“Individually, we have a sour taste in our mouths from last year’s postseason, having not sent any wrestlers to regionals,” Snyder said. “We are looking to change that tune this season.
“I know we have some wrestlers capable of accomplishing that goal.”
That all starts with the most seasoned Bulldogs, seniors Dominic Bandle (195/220), and Preston Bauer (120) bring the most experience for the Bulldogs.
Bandle returns to improve on a 9-13 record last season and a career mark of 17-24 with seven career falls. Bauer shined individually last season, recording a 16-9 overall record, boosting his career mark to 37-19.
Damion Rodriguez wasn’t in the lineup his sophomore season after wrestling as a freshman, but returned to give it another shot as a junior a year ago. Now, the senior looks to improve on a career mark of 14-23 and better a 14-16 mark from last season.
Freshman Trevor Amorim (126/132) is expected to strengthen the lower weights and make an immediate impact in Snyder’s lineup. More of the same will be expected of sophomore Brenden Smay (106).
The Bulldogs will introduce three notable sophomores to the varsity lineup, all of which claimed District 11 junior high medals last season. Those include Jason Hunter (285, placed eighth), Joey Abidelli (145, third), and Joshua Schaffer (285, last year’s JH champion).
“We have directed a lot of attention toward technique and getting the small things right so far in the room,” Snyder said. “I think many of our wrestlers have taken that very seriously, and look to have made significant improvements in their wrestling just one week into practice.
“We also have some wrestlers who stayed with it through the hard times over the past two seasons, and now feel they have a lot to prove.”