ACVKU looks to continue climb
By CRAIG PHILLIPS
Libby Hansford and the Allegheny-Clarion Valley, Keystone and Union wrestling program are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel ... and it isn't attached to the front of an oncoming train.
The ACVKU varsity team is realizing the benefits of its youth program as numbers are growing and the skill level is improving. And, so is the team's schedule.
Hansford has a schedule that matches the program's ambition. This season the A-Team will face always-tough Brockway tonight with duals against defending District 9 champion Clarion and D-10's Cranberry lying ahead on the slate. ACVKU also will take part in the 30th Annual Redbank Valley Christmas Tournament and the District 9 Mid-Season Classic.
Last year, in the fourth season of the varsity program, the A-Team set a school record with four dual meet wins.
This year's campaign could provide more wins as 17 candidates vie for varsity action.
"We won four last year, but what we're really trying to do is promote the sport," Hansford said. "I'm looking to Levi (Mohney) and Mitch (Carnathan) for leadership.
"We're going to compete and have fun while trying to continue to develop the sport in Clarion County."
ACVKU dropped a 36-30 decision to Slippery Rock in its opener Monday, but there were definitely signs of encouragement. Engineering pins for the A-Team were Carnathan, Trevor Miller, Eric Bockman and Frank Fisher.
Mohney, who finished 21-7 and was a regional qualifier a year ago, battled PIAA state placewinner Liam Powell to the finish in a 13-6 loss. Mohney, a junior who starts at 160 pounds, had Powell on his back when time expired.
Junior Jake Hurrelbrink leads off the A-Team lineup at 125 pounds with sophomore Bob Ashbaugh at 130.
Rob Kastner, a sophomore, started at 135 in the opener, but suffered a wrist injury and is questionable. Miller, a freshman up from the junior high ranks, is the probable starter at 135 tonight when ACVKU hosts Brockway.
Bockman, a sophomore, is penciled in at 140 with senior Shawn Everett in reserve.
Sophomore Ty Williams - who missed the first match against Slippery Rock - is "very tough," according to Hansford, and will start at 145.
Corey Clawson, a sophomore letterman, will start at 152 pounds with classmate J.P. Gruver providing depth.
Backing up Mohney will be juniors Justin Shaffer and Tony Bears.
Carnathan, a senior letterman, is the 171-pounder with sophomore letterman Fisher wrestling 189.
Bruce Griebel, a sophomore, rounds out the starting lineup at heavyweight with senior Pete Norton vying for mat time.
Hansford is assisted by former Clarion University standout Rob Sintobin, Forrest Hurrelbrink and John Felmlee, a former ACVKU matman.