From the Olean Times-Herald
A tough call among favorites in the Allegheny Mountain League
By TOM ROOF, The Times Herald December 07, 2001
©The Times Herald, Olean, N.Y. 2001
If there's a dominant team in the Allegheny Mountain Wrestling league this season, it could take awhile to surface. Even five-time defending champ Smethport, which has won 40 of its last 41 league duals, isn't a lock.
While the Hubbers look strong, with the return of District 9 champion Mark Foltz leading the way, even head coach Terry Schwab is taking a wait-and-see approach as this season unfolds. "We're raw," said Schwab, a two-time Times Herald Big 30 Coach of the Year (1998, 2000). "We have five starters who graduated and another two (Shawn Elder and Dan Mitchell) out for the year with injuries. We have a lot of work ahead of us."
Meanwhile, Johnsonburg shouldn't be overlooked. The Rams were 12-5 a year ago and finished second in the AML (6-1) - losing only 31-30 in a controversial finish with the Hubbers. Among those back for the Rams and head coach Steve Iorfido are state champion Francis Iorfido, D-9 and Northwest Regional runner-up Keith Miller, and D-9 runners-up Francis Jovenitti and Steve Iorfido, Jr. Elsewhere, Bradford High has undergone a coaching change with Matt DeGolier replacing Seth Bloomquist, who coached the Owls to a 19-35 record in four seasons.
Here's a look at Pennsylvania's Big 30 wrestling teams:
Head coach: Terry Schwab (7th year, 61-17)
Last year: 9-4 overall, 7-0 league; AML champions; No. 2 in Times Herald poll; 6th at D-9 AA tourney
Outlook: A trio of experienced seniors return for the Hubbers, who'll be looking to replace 103 wins with the graduation of Greg Leet (D-9 champ), Matt Roth, Jim O'Connell (D-9 2nd), Jason Radtke (D-9 2nd) and Charlie Hendrickson.
"This is definitely the rawest team we've had," said Schwab. "But we have a good freshman class with kids who know how to wrestle ... how they do though is going to be a big key for us."
Returning are seniors' Dave Thomas (19-10) at 140, Mark Foltz (19-8, D-9 champ) at 119-125, and Matt Leet (22-9, D-9 4th) at 171. Also back are sophomores Chad Wilcox (13-12) at 103 and Ben Rothermal (145), and senior Shawn Dunkle, who didn't wrestle last year but won 12 matches as a sophomore. "Shawn's return is a big lift for us," said Schwab. "He fills a void at 189."
Head coach: Clay Gooch (3rd year, 16-15).
Last year: 7-7 overall, 5-2 league; 3rd place in AML; No. 3 in finals Times Herald poll; 10th at D-9 AA tourney
Outlook: Seven wrestlers return for the Falcons, four of whom posted winning records - junior Tyler Wagner (22-7), who will be at 125, junior Jeremiah Frederick (25-6) at 140-145, sophomore Isaac Wright (17-9) at 145-152, and junior Don Kudrick (12-11), at 171.
That nucleus will be bolstered by the return of Dave Hess (5-11) at 152, Todd Simkins (1-6) at 189 and Jesse Bova (8-16) at heavyweight. There's also a talented group of freshmen headed by Brock Frederick at 103.
"We have no seniors and we're looking at starting six freshmen," said Gooch. "We have a strong group of juniors, but with six new kids, it's hard to say what's going to happen."
Head coach: Matt DeGolier (1st year)
Last year: 3-11 overall, 3-4 in AML; 4th in D-9 Class AAA tourney
Outlook: The Owls return 11 letterwinners, including five D-9 placewinners -
Mike Wheeler (jr., 8-14, D9-4th), Casey Neely (so., 16-15, D9-2nd), Tyson Swain (jr., 3-4, D9-2nd), Mitch Neely (jr, 12-17, D9-3rd), and Ben Autieri (jr., 15-15, D9-3rd). Swain, who was 23-6 and a D-9 champion as a freshman, missed most of the regular season last year with an injury.
Other returnees include Kyle Hoch (so., 8-15), Xiao-Zhuo Chen, Ken Long (5-12), Rob Wilmoth (jr., 1-9), Ryan Farrell (jr., 6-7), and Tom Bleem (jr., 7-10).
"We have a good nucleus of kids," said DeGolier. "But we don't have a 103 pounder yet. Still, I think we have a real chance of winning 75 percent of our matches ... but it's going to take some dedication."
Among the freshmen to watch is Kyle Keane at 112.
Head coach: Doug Triplett (8th year, 49-51)
Last year: 7-6 overall, 3-4 in AML; No. 4 in Times Herald poll; 8th in D-9 AA tourney.
Outlook: If the Gators can stay in a match late,
this could be a big year.
With one of the best closing punches in the league, Port returns eight starters from a 7-6 team (3-4 league), including 171-pounder Adam Rohrer (jr., 30-4, D-9 champ, NW Region runner-up), 189-pounder Alan Lovell (sr.,16-7, D-9 runner-up), and heavyweight Casey Petteys (jr., 17-8).
"We have a good, solid finish," said Triplett. "We have some young guys in the lightweights and if they can just give our closers a chance, we should do alright."
The Gators are also young in the middleweights - but experienced. Senior Shawn Griffith (6-9) is at 125 and senior Garrett Smith (10-15) at 145, but there are three sophomores in between in Brad Greeman (17-12), Lewis Windsor (14-13) and Chad Glasgow. Joe Spader (so., 7-4) returns at 112.
"We're going to have six sophomores and two freshmen in the lineup," said Triplett. "Some of them have experience, and they're quality kids, but they still haven't seen a lot of matches."
Head coach: Larry McGraw (26th year,
Last year: 4-9 overall, 3-4 in AML; 9th in D-9 AA tourney.
Outlook: A pair of District 9 Class AA third-place placefinishers anchor the Red Raider lineup as seniors Gideon Hornung (17-10) returns at 189 and senior Gary Clark (26-9) at heavyweight.
Among the others back are sophomores Lucas Nelson (9-15) at 112, Joe Glosek (3-9) at 130, and junior Cain Frey (19-12) at 125.
Clark opened the season with a title in the tough Philipsburg-Osceola Tournament, while Nelson placed third after losing in overtime to eventual champ Jake Habel of Reynolds.
Head coach: Tom Lundy (5th year, 4-42)
Last year: 3-12 overall, 0-7 in AML.
Outlook: Oswayo Valley begins a co-operative agreement with Otto-Eldred this season and the early result has been the addition of six wrestlers to the program.
"It's been a big plus for us," said Lundy. "The kids are new, but it gives us some depth and something to work with for the future."
Six wrestlers return for OV, although junior Dave Norton (14-3) is out indefinitely with an injury. Norton also missed much of last season with shoulder problems.
Returning are the coaches' son Josh Lundy (so., 12-11) at 103, Levi Fagen (jr., 5-18) at 119, Jason Turner (jr., 11-14) at 125, Scott Filer (so., 4-18) at 140, and Zach Good (so., 10-12) at 171.