Redbank set to bounce back
By CRAIG PHILLIPS
Redbank Valley's wrestling coach Mike Kundick, entering his second year at the helm of the Bulldogs, has a letterman set to start in all 13 weight classes this season.
His only hope is disaster doesn't return to his door in New Bethlehem.
Last season, following a 4-0 start in dual meets, the 'Dogs were stricken with illness and injury and lost nine straight matches.
"Our main goal is to have a good year," Kundick said, his mind reflecting on last season's troubles. "The kids were disappointed with last year, but they understood why and what happened. Our seniors have the room hopping this year. It's exciting to watch."
Redbank Valley fans will get their first look at the Bulldogs in tonight's dual meet at Curwensville.
Kundick, despite the bitter memories caused by a fate of which he had no control, is optimistic entering this year's campaign.
"Our seniors have a changed attitude due to the weight-lifting program," he said. "The stronger you are the more confident you are. We had a great summer of lifting."
Senior Keith Pavlekovsky, a two-time PIAA state placewinner and three-year letterman, is the Bulldogs' top returnee. Pavlekovsky, who was 32-5 last season on his way to a fourth-place finish at 103 pounds, has a career mark of 80-21 and has his sights set on J.P. Kirkpatrick's school record of 114 wins.
"Keith's goal is to get to state again and finish where he did last year or higher," Kundick said of Pavlekovsky, who was seventh in the state as a sophomore and will start at 112.
For seniors Greg Nolf and Dustin Huffman, who both qualified for the Northwest Regional Championships last season, their goal will be to advance to the state level.
Nolf, a three-year letterman and two-time District 9 champion, was 20-14 a year ago and enters the season with a 55-36 record. He will open at 130 pounds.
Huffman, a two-year letterman, wrestled as high at 171 last season before turning it on at the end of the season and placing third at districts at 160. He was 14-17 on the season with 11 pins. He will start at 160 pounds.
Leading off for the Bulldogs will be Frank Magagnotti at 103 pounds. A junior letterman, he was 21-3 last season. Senior Joe Garrison, a two-year letterman, will follow Pavlekovsky at 119 pounds after logging a 21-12 record last season.
Junior letterman Seth Hammond, who transferred from Brookville last season, will get the nod at 125 pounds.
The middle of the Redbank lineup will consist of junior lettermen Scott Smith (135), Doug Shick (145) and senior letter winners Tanner Huffman (140) and Doug Nolf (152). Huffman has a pair of letters.
Rounding out the starters are junior lettermen Ron Geist (171), Andrew Kespelher (189) and Charles Boozer at heavyweight.
Kundick's 'Dogs also are blessed with depth as sophomores Casey Dinger (125), Matt Steffey (130). Brad McCauley (145), John Greenawalt (160), Mike Greenawalt (275), juniors Justin Shreckengost (140), juniors Charles Boyles (160), Nathan Henry (171), Brandon Lingenfelter (189) and senior Shannon Smith (119) will compete in reserve roles.
McCauley is currently battling Shick for the 145-pound berth.
"We have a lot of enthusiasm and the kids are working hard," Kundick said. "If we don't have anyone get hurt or sick, we have a pretty solid lineup.
"I think the team wants to get more guys through districts and
they believe they have a shot at winning a lot of matches," he