A balancing act: Lineup depth the key to Williamson's success
When it comes to the Williamson Warriors, everyone's attention is instantly paid to the big three.
They have medals upon medals, trips to states and district titles and this year Logan Everett, Billy Barnes and Tyrus Hamblin are a combined 68-2.
While there is no question they are among the top wrestlers in the district, some of their teammates are starting to make pretty big names for themselves as well.
This year the Warriors have 12 wrestlers who have wrestled at least 10 matches and having a winning record.
Along with the big start by the big three, five other Williamson wrestlers have at least 18 wins and no more than six losses on the season.
With the emergence of wrestlers like Carl Gorg at 120 (22-3), Herman Briggs at 126 (18-6) and Trevor McWhorter at 138 (22-3), along with higher weight wrestlers R.C. Hunter at 170 (22-5) and Mark Brennan at 182 (21-6) the Warriors are starting to build the depth it takes to compete at the district duals, which take place next week.
The five have combined to go 103-23 for Williamson and have helped the Warriors get off to a 16-2 record this year, including a perfect league record.
"It's been great," Hunter said of the good start this year. "The team has worked so hard. It's good to know we have the balance this year."
All five know that it's important for them this year to take that next step. That it's up to them to make sure the lineup is balanced without relying as much on their big three.
"It's pretty tough," Briggs said. "We have to work hard to get that balance. Logan and Billy and Tyrus have done a great job, we have to step up and help out."
"It's been a challenge, but we have done pretty well with it," Gorg said.
All five had roles last year, some of them big roles for the Warriors.
However, all five know things are a little different this year. It's not just about competing, it's not even just about winning, it's about becoming people the Warriors count on to get wins and bonus points each time out.
"We all have worked as hard as we can to try and get as many points as possible," McWhorter said.
"We know we have to wrestle well and not give up points," Barnes added.
For wrestlers like Briggs, McWhorter and Gorg who wrestle in the lower to mid weights along with Hamblin, Everett and Barnes, it's an advantage having those three to work with and learn from.
"They are very good leaders," Briggs said. Logan is my wrestling hero."
The wrestlers at the higher weights know what people have said about the Warriors.
They know that people have keyed on the success of the light and middle weights and thought of that as the strength of the team.
They have worked hard to make sure the lineup has balance. They have worked hard to make sure people start seeing the strength of the upper weights.
"It makes me feel like we can make a difference," Brennan said. "The upper weights have to step up. We have to try and do our best to win matches."
"We had to work harder," Hunter said. "We have had to push ourselves harder in practice. We have been working hard all the time."
Brennan and Hunter each made it to districts a year ago and they have started working even harder to try and have a bigger year this season.
One of the benefits this year is now that all the upper weights are getting better and better it provides more competition in practice for all of them.
"Some of the heavyweights had to work with the lightweights last year," Hunter said. "It was good for our speed, it made us faster, but it doesn't help the same as working with heavyweights."
One of the reasons why the entire rest of the Williamson lineup is getting better is because they are all working to make each other better.
"We all work hard in practice, we all push each other in practice," Hunter said.
Watching some of their teammates win district titles, get to regionals and even to states, it's something that has motivated everyone on the team to try and reach that point.
"I made it to district last year and this pushes me to try and get further," Brennan said.
"It has pushed me a lot," Gorg said. "It made me do a lot of the extra work I hadn't been doing."
TAKING A LOOK ON CAMPUS
Four area wrestlers compete for Penn College.
Wyalusing's Tim Kuntz, Ryan Hart and Dan Frankenfield and Athens' Kyle Sunseri all wrestle for the school.
Penn College beat PSU Greater Allegheny, 39-16, on Tuesday to stay unbeaten in the Penn State University Athletic Conference with a 4-0 mark. Frankenfield got a fall at 174.
The Wildcats won both of their matches Saturday, topping Stony Brook University, 40-9, and West Chester University, 41-15, to improve to 11-7 overall.
Kuntz got a pair of wins at 149 and Hart got two wins at 133 to improve to 8-0 on the season.
Canton graduate Garth Mahosky wrestles at Drexel and former state champion David White of Athens wrestles at Binghamton.
Towanda graduate Cody Wheeler wrestles for Lock Haven and Athens' Mike Testen competes for Bloomsburg. Wheeler is 7-6 on the year with three falls and Testen is 1-4 on the season.
Towanda graduate Caleb Willey and Waverly's Trevor Nocchi both wrestle for Lycoming.
Willey took fourth for Lycoming at the ECWC Championships on Saturday at Cortland at 141 pounds.
Willey is 17-12 on the season and Nocchi is 2-8.
Wyalusing graduate Matt Fisk, a former state champion, is an assistant coach for Apalachin State.
WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
Wyalusing's Brandon Kelley picked up the 100th victory of his career on Saturday in a match at Athens.
Kelley got a pin at 126 pounds.
Kelley also got a win by fall at 126 during a victory over Canton on Thursday night.
COMING THIS WEEK
There are two key NTL matchups this week.
Canton will host Williamson on Thursday night in a match that should decide the small-school title, while Towanda hosts Wyalusing, with a 5 p.m. junior high start, on Saturday in a match that should decide the large-school title.
On Thursday some of the marquee matchups could include unbeaten Canton junior Garrett Wesneski (20-0) and Williamson's Mark Brennan (21-6).
Other big matchups could feature Williamson's R.C. Hunter (20-5) and Canton's Tyler Cole (15-5) and Canton's Darren Killian (11-8) and Williamson's unbeaten senior Logan Everett (24-0).
At 106 Canton's Dennis Route (15-11) could meet Williamson's Caleb Robbins (15-9).
On Saturday the Rams freshman Dalton Chilson (22-5) could meet Towanda's Talon Curry (15-9) at 285, while at 120 Wyalusing's Colin Edsell (21-3) could meet Towanda's Nick Secules (18-5).
Wyalusing's Brandon Kelley, who notched his 100th win on Saturday, has a 17-7 mark at 126 and he could meet Towanda's Terrick Vargason (18-6).
Waverly and Tioga are at the IAC Championships on Saturday in Watkins Glen.
AREA'S TOP RECORDS
(Based on a minimum 10 matches wrestled)
(According to records on nwcaonline.com as of Monday, Jan. 21)
Jared Lines, Towanda 20-7, .741
Hunter Cohick, Troy 14-7, .666
Caleb Robbins, Williamson 15-9, .625
Tyrus Hamblin, Williamson 19-2, .905
Ethan Calkins, Troy 20-3, .870
Kyle Blascak, Towanda 17-5, .772
Shawn Nitcznski, Sullivan County 16-1, .941
Carl Gorg, Williamson 22-3, .880
Colin Edsell, Wyalusing 21-3, .875
Terrick Vargason, Towanda 18-6, .750
Herman Briggs, Williamson 18-6, .750
Brandon Kelley, Wyalusing 17-7, .708
Logan Everett, Williamson 24-0, 1.000
Lucas Murphy, Sayre 15-7, .682
Justin Haley, Wyalusing 16-8, .666
Nick Bruce, Troy 20-2, .909
Trevor McWhorter, Williamson 22-3, .880
Jesse Manuel, Tioga 25-6, .806
Billy Barnes, Williamson 25-0, 1.000
Brandon Owlett, Wellsboro 13-2, .866
Trey Murray, Troy 19-4, .826
Nick Stephani, Troy 22-1, .957
Jacob Butcher, Canton 21-5, .808
Tyler Fenton, Wyalusing 19-5, .792
Kyle Post, Sayre 19-1, .950
Brandon Ellers, Waverly 22-5, .815
Justin Hunsinger, Towanda 17-6, .739
Robert Minnich, North Penn 19-3, .863
Landis Zimmerman, Troy 19-4, .826
R.C. Hunter, Williamson 20-5, .800
Garrett Wesneski, Canton 20-0, 1.000
Chad Daugherty, Wellsboro 12-1, .923
Mark Brennan, Williamson 21-6, .777
Connor Route, Canton 21-4, .840
Dakotah Manning, Towanda 18-5, .783
Jeff Klossner, Waverly 14-7, .666
Ryan Wolcott, Waverly 25-0, 1.000
Dylan Otis, Wyalusing 23-1, .958
Logan Terry, Towanda 14-8, .636
Nathan Kriner, North Penn 19-2, .905
Dalton Chilson, Wyalusing 22-5, .815
Nate Ritinski, Sullivan County 14-5, .737