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Johnson Motors - 877-816-0659
Tide looking for improvement
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
CURWENSVILLE - It's been a few seasons since the Curwensville wrestling team has sported a winning dual meet record with its last coming during the 2008-09 school year.
But with nine letterwinners returning and a solid group of newcomers in the room, Golden Tide head coach Duane Wriglesworth thinks his team can break the three-year streak and come through with a winning 2012-13 campaign.
"Our goal is to have a winning season, and I think we have the personnel to do that," he said. "We just need to get everybody in the right spots."
Seniors Austin Pollick, Brandon Sass, Brad Stubbs and Nate Wriglesworth, juniors Ricky Magnuson, Tyler Mays, Trey McKenzie and Dakota Royer and sophomore Sam Bressler all lettered for the Tide last season and give Curwensville a solid group to build around.
Curwensville also has eight additional sophomores on the squad who will help fill the lineup.
"There is a good core of letterwinners back," Wriglesworth said. "I'm looking for those guys to be leaders and secure some wins for us. I'm excited about the leadership we have and the attitude they have.
"There is a good mix of kids in the room. These sophomores have some experience and will help us considerably."
One big loss to graduation for the Golden Tide was Jake Keller, a three-time District 9 champion, who finished fifth in the state last season.
He was 39-5 last year and finished with a career mark of 117-17. The 39 wins is a Curwensville record.
"There is some good experience coming back," Wriglesworth said. "But there are no standouts like we had with Jake last year. He was just one of those guys you could guarantee a win from."
Although there is no state placewinner in the room, the Tide do have regional qualifier Stubbs, who was 11-9 in limited action at heavyweight a year ago and placed third in districts.
"We have a lot of big plans for Brad," Wriglesworth said. "He punched his ticket to regionals last year, and we hope that is going to happen again this year.
"Not only did he get stronger, he got much bigger. He gained 40 pounds from about 235 last year to 275 this year. He's going to be a force to be dealt with."
Many of the Tide wrestlers are bigger and stronger this year after a solid offseason that included a weight training program for those who were on the football team.
"I've seen improvement in a lot of these guys," Wriglesworth said. "We had some of them work hard in the offseason. Some of our wrestlers spent a lot of time in the weight room. We've seen a lot of strength gains in our upper weights."
The Golden Tide are also welcoming back a pair (Jake Lancaster and Zach Tibbens) of wrestlers who were standouts on the junior high team a couple seasons ago before moving out of the school district last season.
"Tibbens was a standout in junior high a few years ago," Wriglesworth said. "He's going to be a leader on the team and show a lot of poise on the mat. He should do very well for us.
"Lancaster should help out a lot, too. "He's a tough competitor."
Wriglesworth says his lineup is close to being set, but that several changes will occur throughout the year as kids drop weight or gain more experience.
Sophomore Jason Koptchak is slated to start the season at 106 with Bressler at 113 and Mays at either 120 or 126.
Bressler was 14-15 last year, while Mays had a mark of 17-12.
"Sam Bressler looks a lot smoother on his feet and seems more confident when he wrestles," Wriglesworth said.
"Tyler Mays has been a good leader in the room. Has definitely picked up on his speed and quickness, and his technique has improved considerably."
Lancaster (132), Sass (138), McKenzie (145) and Royer (152) give the Tide a solid group of middleweights with sophomores Shawn Ebersole and Jake C. Stiles also in the mix.
"McKenzie has a lot of experience and a lot of leverage when he wrestles," Wriglesworth said "I think we'll see good things from him. And Royer is a scrapper who will compete hard."
Tibbens looks to fill the 160-pound weight class with Pollick and Nate Wriglesworth at 170. The 182-pound class will likely be one of Pollick or Wriglesworth bumping up.
"Nate had a tough season last year, but was wrestling up several weights," Coach Wriglesworth said. "He should be more at his weight this year. And Austin really started improving toward the end of last year, and we think he'll have a good year."
Magnuson and Stubbs anchor the squad at 220 and 285 with sophomores A.J. Bloom and Jake Flango at heavyweight as well.
The Tide will likely not have anyone at 126 or 195 early on, but hope that newcomers - sophomore Aryan Shearer and senior Brad Coudriet, respectively, will eventually fill those holes once they get some practice under their belt.
"Some of these kids won't be able to break the lineup until the weight loss plan allows them to," Wriglesworth said. "We may have a couple holes early in the season."
Wriglesworth would like to see his team in the mix at district duals again, and thinks the Tide can send a handful of wrestlers to regionals after getting two there a season ago.
"I'd like to double that," he said. "The potential is there for that."
Mike Bookhamer and Steve Keller are once again assisting Wriglesworth, while Dean Swatsworth and Johnny Sutika are handling the junior high program.
Curwensville begins its season Saturday at the Philipsburg-Osceola Mountaineer Tournament.

Brad Coudriet, *Austin Pollick, *Brandon Sass, *Brad Stubbs, *Nate Wriglesworth.
*Ricky Magnuson, *Tyler Mays, *Trey McKenzie, *Dakota Royer, Zach Tibbens.
A.J. Bloom. *Sam Bressler, Seth Connors, Shawn Ebersole, Jake Flango, Jason Koptchak, Jake Lancaster, Jake C. Stiles, Aryan Shearer.
*Returning letterwinners

8-at Philipsburg-Osceola Mountaineer Tournament, 10 a.m.; 11-at West Branch; 13-Brockway.
3-at Punxsutawney; 5-at Coudersport Duals, 9 a.m.; 10-at Redbank Valley; 17-at Ridgway, 7 p.m.; 19-at Clearfield Duals, 8:30 a.m.; 24-Brookville, 7 p.m.; 25-at Grove City Fred Bell Tournament, 4 p.m.; 26-at Grove City Fred Bell Tournament, TBA; 29-Philipsburg-Osceola; 31-Moshannon Valley.
7-Clarion; 12-Cameron County; 14-at Oswayo Valley; 22/23-at District 9 Class AA Tournament (Clarion University), TBA.
1/2-at Northwest Regional Tournament (Sharon High School), TBA; 7/8/9-at PIAA Tournament (Hershey), TBA.
Matches begin at 7:30 p.m. unless noted.
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