Elderton freshmen wrestlers exceeding expectations
As able-bodied freshmen on Elderton's undermanned wrestling team, Brenden Glover and Brian Brown were almost certain to start this season, regardless of their abilities.
But neither Glover nor Brown has served as simple line-up filler.
Wrestling in upperclassmen-heavy weight classes, the freshmen are well above .500 and seem poised to make runs in the WPIAL individual postseason, which begins Feb. 18.
"We expected them to do well," assistant coach Tyler Altmeyer said. "They wrestled well in junior high both years. We thought they'd take their lumps from the experienced kids this season. But as far as their overall records are concerned and how they're wrestling on the mat, we're definitely pleased. They're ahead of expectations so far."
Glover, a 152-pounder, is 18-9 with 11 pins, six of which came in the first period.
He went 6-0 with four pins to open the season. But the freshman, whose wrestling career began in seventh grade, resisted the urge to celebrate the hot start because he'd trained with his older brother, senior 182-pounder Tucker Glover, and Tucker's close friend, senior 170-pounder Austin Roncher, for a few years.
"I expected in one of my first matches, I'd go out and get pummeled," Brenden Glover said. "I knew at one point I was going to be taken down a level. ... I wrestle Austin and Tucker, and they really beat on me."
That day came on Dec. 14 when Kittanning junior Taylor Jack pinned Glover just before the end of the third period.
With a 13-2 major decision over Yough's Jerry Koza on Wednesday night, Brown, a 160-pounder, improved to 18-10. He has won his last five matches, including all four he wrestled at Elderton's duals tournament last weekend.
"I didn't think I'd do that good because I was wrestling seniors and stuff," Brown said. "Wrestling Austin and them last year, I was like, 'Wow, is this how hard it's going to be?'"
Brown partially attributed his freshman-year success to the leadership of Elderton's two seniors.
"I guess I goof around a lot at practice," Brown said. "I'm still young and stuff. But the seniors get rough on me, keep me in line. I'd probably be nothing if they weren't so hard on me."
Brown had hung around wrestling practices since fourth grade. Because he was too big for the youth program as a sixth grader, he actually competed with the junior high class. But Brown realized how much he still had to learn when he went 6-5 in December.
"Switching into varsity, I was trying just to win (at first), and now I'm trying to learn more," Brown said. "In varsity, you can't just go out and pin them. You have to know the moves and practice them."
Brown and Glover might become Elderton's new dominant duo after Tucker Glover (25-8 this season) and Roncher (22-8) graduate this spring.
"They both come to practice, work hard, do what they're told, and it shows on the mat," Altmeyer said of the freshmen. "Our expectation for them this year is just to get as much mat time as you possibly can with them and see where it takes them, and then we'll build on that next year."
But Brown and Glover aren't ready to talk about next season quite yet.
"I definitely want to make it out of sections, and I'm expected to by my coaches," Glover said. "And if I'm lucky, I'll get out of WPIALs and go to regionals."
Said Brown: "I plan on making it out of sections. Then we'll see what happens."