The Abington Heights wrestling team has experienced a spike in numbers and Keith Youtz has returned to Lackawanna Trail to lead a youth movement.
Comets return talent, welcome depth
Abington Heights returns seniors Greg Pascale (120), Jackson Renninger (132), Mat Carr (160), and Kevin Wellard (182); juniors Jimmy Fayocavitz (126), Austin Bennett (145), and Jonathan Davis (220); and sophomore Nick Carr (138).
Last season, Mat Carr, Fayocavitz, and Pascale were regional qualifiers. Wellard and Renninger both placed at districts.
They must replace Nick Senuk (138), Josh Slocum (152), Michael Carr (162), and Pat Kearney (285).
New members of the team include sophomores Noah Sirianni (106) and Jack Spangenberg (170), freshman Luis Loboda (113), and juniors Sam Errigo and Anthony Sylvester (220).
Abington Heights head coach Chris Calder has been pleased with the team’s work ethic and ability to bond together through the first few weeks of practice.
“Their intensity has been great,” he said. “This group is really bringing it together. Our goal has always been unity and coming together as a team. They are focused on wrestling and the upperclassmen have been talking to the junior high about school and life. It’s amazing to see them really adopt that goal.”
Calder also believes the team’s progress is on an upward trend.
“We have a great number of committed guys,” he said. “The program is starting to turn itself around. Everyone is positive and the guys are committing their time all year long. We’re going to go out and wrestle for good performances every match.
“If we can do that on a consistent basis and bring our strategy to the matches, we will have a lot of success.”
Calder expects Delaware Valley to provide the toughest competition in Lackawanna League Division 1.
Young Lions aim for improvement
Lackawanna Trail welcomes back head coach Keith Youtz, who previously coached wrestling at the school for 14 years. He also spent time at Abington Heights, Scranton Prep, and Tunkhannock.
The Lions bring back seniors Billy Lee (145) and Thomas Fricke (170) along with sophomore Trent Phillips (182).
They must replace Vic Rosa (145), Jeremy Greenley (160), Zach Walters (220), and Justin Barber (285).
Other wrestlers include: seniors Devon Clarke (103), Tim Aschenbrenner (126), Lowell Phillips (132), Tim Griffin (138), and Jared Madans (170); juniors Mike DeBree (220), Jericho Hendershot (220), Nathanial Barbolish (182), and Jared Simon (138); sophomores Bryan Hammer (113), Rocco Pacini (152), Jacob Furneaux (160), and Robert Buck (195); and freshman Justin Ganzer (113), Tyler Baltrusaitis (132), Mike Walsh (138), and John Belles (220).
Last season, Lee placed third at districts, Phillips fifth, and Fricke sixth.
“Most of the kids are definitely new to the sport,” Youtz said. “We’re going through the basics because they don’t know a lot about wrestling, but they are a bunch of good kids and hard workers.”
Youtz believes the team has potential and should get much better throughout the season.
“They are learning really fast and are really intelligent,” he said. “We have good coaches who can go around the room and help the kids. I think we’ll see big improvements in the next month.”
Youtz expects Western Wayne to provide the toughest competition in Lackawanna League Division 2.