Mt. Pleasant wrestlers set high goals for season
If the Mt. Pleasant wrestling team is to improve upon last season's 7-5 record, coach Mike Long knows his team will have to stay healthy.
Because a low turnout is again an issue, keeping the wrestlers on the mat and out of the training room is a priority.
“The biggest thing with this sport is in Class AA, it's difficult to get numbers,” Long said. “When you have an injury, it's devastating. We don't go two or three deep like a Connellsville or a Latrobe. When you lose kids, you have to forfeit a weight class. In our section, it's likely you're going to win by filling a whole roster.”
Competing with Mt. Pleasant in Section 2-B will be Derry, Charleroi, Jeannette, Southmoreland and Yough.
“Yough will have a full roster and have every weight class filled,” Long said. “In my opinion, Yough and Mt. Pleasant are the two best teams in our half of the section.”
The Vikings will have plenty of leadership, with nine seniors returning, and they also have nine returning starters.
Sophomore Jonah Long competed at 220 pounds and won 32 matches a year ago, while senior Eli Holt (170) finished with 29 victories.
Another sophomore, Ethan Charlesworth, competed at 138 pounds and totaled 28 wins.
“I think we did OK last year for the number of injuries we had,” Mike Long said. “We could only fill 11 weight classes, so we had to give up 18 points every match. Considering that, I think we did well. As a group, we have a lot of leadership and a lot of experience this season. My kids have been through a lot. Some of the upperclassmen have been wrestling their whole life. They've been through numerous coaches and are very resilient. The kids have battled through injuries and lack of numbers, and they've been able to adjust to different coaches and different philosophies.”
Senior Bobby Long (145) and sophomore Austin Mears (162) also recorded 20 victories, and senior Justin Overly was 10-2 before he suffered an injury last season.
“With everything that happened, we went 7-5 last year,” Mike Long said. “I think this season we're more than capable of winning our subsection. I think we can be in the top three in the section and the top three or four in the WPIAL, too. It's all about injuries and other teams' injuries. We've set our goal to be WPIAL champions. And I think we have the team to do it.”
Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer.