Southmoreland wrestling's new coach confident in underclassman-filled team
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Being overlooked doesn't bother first-year Southmoreland wrestling coach Ryan Shaw.
Shaw has turned the negative talk into motivation.
“There are people saying, ‘You're going to finish fifth in your section' and ‘You're not going anywhere because you're a young team,' ” Shaw said. “I use that as bulletin board material. I think we are going to surprise a lot of teams. I think we are going to be successful.”
Southmoreland has another new coach, a returning state medalist and a handful of experienced wrestlers, but for the most part, the Scotties' lineup will be loaded with underclassmen.
Shaw expects as many as seven freshmen could start.
“The biggest thing is, I've got to get the kids to believe in my philosophies,” Shaw said. “That's been the toughest thing. I'm their fourth head coach in four years. But I've liked what I've seen so far. The kids have really responded. They're really working well with my coaches and myself.”
Leading the way will be Austin Griffiths, a sophomore who won a bronze medal at the state tournament last year at 106 pounds.
Shaw said he thinks Griffiths will only get better.
“I've coached for 14 years, and he has one of the toughest work ethics I've seen,” Shaw said. “His workout is unbelievable. This kid has a will to win. He wants to be the first state champ in Southmoreland history. Austin does all the little extra things that will put him at the top of the podium. And I hope I can push him to that point. He's a kid that every coach wants to have.”
Shaw also hopes to have a healthy Dakota Datz. Datz, a senior, is recovering from an injury to his SC joint.
“He will be behind the 8-ball, but we're planning on having him for the first tournament of the year at Chartiers-Houston,” Shaw said. “He's in therapy and rehab, and he's been conditioning and lifting with his legs.”
Jake Beistel and Evan Myers, two freshmen, have already caught Shaw's eye.
Just 14 years old, Beistel captured the heavyweight class a few weeks back at a preseason tournament at Washington & Jefferson College.
“These guys have a bright future,” Shaw said. “I've coached for 14 years, but this will be my first at the high school, and I'm excited.
“I actually think a lot of teams will overlook us. Everyone knows that Yough is the favorite and that Mt. Pleasant will be second. That's what everybody is saying. We open with Mt. Pleasant, and we want to come into the match thinking we're the team to beat. I expect to come in and win right away.
“We're not going to use our youth as an excuse. We're going to go out and wrestle, and everything we do this year is going to benefit us for the next three or four years.”
Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Pirates can’t waste McCutchen’s prime
- East Huntingdon man dies following police chase
- Giants, Bumgarner shut out Pirates in wild-card game
- Pirates’ Martin calls crowd chant ‘petty special’
- Steelers pressing to create opportunities to get to quarterback
- Consol Energy cutting retiree health benefits, phasing out pension
- Steelers notebook: Mitchell aware of need to reduce penalties
- Highmark to increase premiums, limit access to health care in new plans
- Search for pilot of ultralight aircraft to resume Thursday
- Woman dies in fall at McConnells Mill State Park
- Penguins’ Sutter is determined to keep scoring pressure on