Wrestler's corner: Future looks bright for young Rams
Right now things are good for the Wyalusing Rams.
They are in contention for the NTL large-school title.
They will be headed back to the District Duals later this month and they are coming off a big win over Troy on Thursday.
For a team used to finding success on the mats, this season is well on its way to being another successful one.
However, as good as things are right now, they could be even better in a week, in a month, or even in another year.
There are plenty of young teams in the area, but few are younger than this year's Wyalusing squad.
Seven of the regular starters: Jacob Sandfort, Collin Edsell, Tracey Brown, Justin Haley, Dalton Chilson, Dylan Otis and Ryan Force are either freshmen or sophomores.
It's not just that the group is young, they are also successful.
They are a combined 93-50 on the year, with four of them having double digit victories this year.
While he is a sophomore Otis, a regional qualifier last year, is one of the top wrestler's in the league this season.
"This year there are a lot of young kids who are working hard," he said. "They are working hard in practice and doing what they need to do."
While they had success at the junior high level, the wrestler's know it's a huge jump when you make your way onto the varsity team.
"It's a big jump from junior high to varsity," Collin Edsell said. "We just have to go out and give our all every night."
One of the wrestler's who might have the biggest adjustment to the varsity level is Dalton Chilson, who is a heavyweight this year. The freshman is often wrestling against juniors and seniors every night out.
"It's a little harder, but I just have to work hard in practice," he said.
One thing that has helped Chilson this year is having a wrestler like Otis to learn from and work with.
"His experience helps me out a lot," Chilson said. "He teaches me a lot."
And, having a talented heavyweight to work with is only making Otis better this year as well.
"Chilson is a great practice partner," Otis said. "He helps me so much. And, I think it helps him a lot. I work hard, he works hard and we make each other work harder."
For all the wrestlers being a part of the Wyalusing varsity wrestling team is something they are proud of.
"We have a great team bond," Otis said. "It's a small town community and we have a great bond. Everyone knows everyone and everyone supports everyone."
One advantage for all of the underclassmen is that there are so many of them who grew up together and make each other better.
"It makes us work harder, we push each other to work harder," Edsell said. "If I go out, I don't want to be the only one not working hard."
"As a first year wrestler it's really difficult being in the starting lineup," Sandfort said. "But, the family of wrestlers really helps me."
While this is such a young team for the Rams they have worked well with the upperclassmen.
There are a lot of young kids but we work hard and we work well with the upperclassmen," Otis said. "They really push us and we push them. We work hard and they (the upperclassmen) work just as hard as us."
A lot has changed for Otis this year, a season ago he was on a much more senior-laden team and he learned a lot from those wrestlers.
"Last year's group were great leaders," Otis said. "They pushed us a lot, they really taught us a lot."
For the super seven getting a chance to be in the varsity starting lineup is something they have dreamed of.
"I waited my entire life to wrestle varsity," Otis said. "I have waited forever for this."
"I watched Matt Fisk when I was younger and I told my mom and dad I wanted to be just like him," Edsell said.
And, while they are young, the wrestlers have some pretty big goals this year. Getting a chance to be in the lineup so young and getting a chance to prove themselves just motivates them to work even harder.
"It pushes me to my fullest potential," Edsell said. "I want to be a four-time state qualifier."
After getting close to states last year and coming up short, Otis wants to make the trip to Hershey this year.
"Last year got cut short," he said. "I don't want that to happen again. I want to go all the way."
While the Rams are trying not to think too much about the future, it's hard to miss all the banners on the wall.
There are NTL championship, District championship and even state championship wrestling banners hanging in the gym.
It's something that every once in a while makes the young Rams think about what they might be able to accomplish.
"It's not on my mind really, but once in a while I glance up there," Otis said. "I want to be a part of that. It would be nice to come back in 30 years and see what we did up there."
While they are young wrestlers now, they know soon enough they will be the leaders with a new group of young wrestlers coming in behind them.
"We work a lot and we know we will work just as hard in the future because a lot of us have siblings coming up behind us and they will push us and we will push them," Edsell said.
ON THE SCHEDULE
A key NTL matchup is on the schedule this week as one of the top small-school teams in Canton takes on one of the top large-school teams in Wyalusing.
Both teams are coming off a victory over Troy last week.
Some key matchups could include 152 pounds where Canton's Jacob Butcher (17-3) could meet Tyler Fenton who is 16-5 on the year.
At 182 unbeaten Garrett Wesneski could meet up with Dalton Manning (12-9), while at 138 David Brown of Wyalusing who is 12-10 could meet Brooks Gleckner, who is 10-7 on the year.
WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
Canton's Garrett Wesneski is proving he is all the way back from an injury during football season.
He had a win by technical fall against Troy on Thursday and then Saturday he had a 5-0 performance to cap a 6-0 week.
What made the week more impressive was that all six victories came by fall or technical fall.
(Top records based on a minimum 10 matches wrestled)
(Based on results submitted to nwcaonline.com as of Jan. 13)
Jared Lines, Towanda 16-3 (.842)
Caleb Robbins, Williamson 12-6 (.666)
Dennis Route, Canton 13-7 (.650)
Ethan Calkins, Troy 18-2 (.900)
Tyrus Hamblin, Williamson 15-2 (.882)
Kyle Blascak, Towanda 14-4 (.777)
Shawn Nitcznski, Sullivan County 15-1 (.938)
Collin Edsell, Wyalusing 18-3 (.857)
Carl Gorg, Williamson 14-3 (.824)
Charlie Andrews, North Penn 12-3 (.800)
Terrick Vargason, Towanda 15-5 (.750)
Herman Briggs, Williamson 11-4 (.733)
Logan Everett, Williamson 16-0 (1.000)
Lucas Murphy, Sayre 15-6 (.714)
Justin Haley, Wyalusing 14-7 (.666)
Bradley Peqignot, North Penn 10-5 (.666)
Nick Bruce, Troy 17-2 (.895)
Trevor McWhorter, Williamson 14-3 (.824)
Jesse Manuel, Tioga 18-5 (.783)
Billy Barnes, Williamson 17-0 (1.000)
Trey Murray, Troy 18-2 (.900)
Brandon Owlett, Wellsboro 11-2 (.846)
Nick Stephani, Troy 19-1 (.950)
Jacob Butcher, Canton 17-3 (.850)
Austin Saxer, NEB 11-3 (.786)
Kyle Post, Sayre 18-1 (.947)
Brandon Ellers, Waverly 21-5 (.808)
Justin Hunsinger, Towanda 15-4 (.789)
Landis Zimmerman, Troy 17-3 (.850)
Robert Minnich, North Penn 11-2 (.846)
Tyler Cole, Canton 14-5 (.737)
Garrett Wesneski, Canton 14-0 (1.000)
Chad Daugherty, Wellsboro 10-1 (.909)
Christian Richter, Tioga 18-6 (.750)
Connor Route, Canton 16-3 (.842)
Chance Lantz, Troy 10-1 (.909)
Dakotah Manning, Towanda 15-4 (.789)
Ryan Wolcott, Waverly 22-0 (1.000)
Dylan Otis, Wyalusing 20-1 (.952)
Nathan Kriner, North Penn 10-2 (.833)
Dalton Chilson, Wyalusing 19-5 (.792)
Nate Ritinski, Sullivan County 13-5 (.722)
Talon Curry, Towanda 13-7 (.650)