The Abington Heights Junior High Wrestling team has been in rebuilding mode for a few years now, but coach Ken Spangenberg said the tide is turning.
The wrestlers won league championship this year and 11 wrestlers posted winning records for the season.
“It’s the first time they’ve won the league,” Spangenberg said. “That goes back a long time.”
The program went in decline in the last few years, he said. Enrollment this year went up and the team began to win more.
“It’s on the rise,” he said of the program. “We had 27 kids this year. The numbers are beginning to get very healthy.
“It’s the first time they’ve won the league,” he said. “That goes back a long time.”
Eighth grader Logan Hivner won in the 165- pound weight class, while ninth grader Zach Spangenberg won in the 155- pound weight class at the Lake Lehman tournament, which serves as an informal district championship, the coach said.
At the league championship, Owen Hivner won in the 110- pound class, Logan Hivner won in the 165 -pound class and Zach Spangenberg won in the 155-pound class.
Spangenberg credited his coaching staff, which assists the coach on a volunteer basis, for the team’s newfound success.
“We had a nice group of volunteers that helped me out,” he said. “The big part of the success was their assisting and the development of a lot of young wrestlers new to the sport.”
John Diven, coach of Abington Heights’ high school team for about two decades before his retirement, was among the volunteers. Pete Smith, a former assistant coach for the high school team, also volunteered his time to help rebuild the team.
Former longtime junior high coach Marty Boyer helped. Kevin Wellard, Mark Meyers, Steve Peters, Mike Siriani and Mike Campbell rounded out the coaching staff.
“Wrestling is a great individual sport, and we need to bring it back to where it once was,” he said. “We’re headed in the right direction.”