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Shaler wrestlers young, yet talented

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 9:00 p.m.

The Shaler varsity wrestling team may be a young group — it includes 16 freshmen and sophomores — however, opponents who mistake youth for inexperience could be in for a long match.

Shaler coach Drew D'Agustino has been working with his staff to implement a feeder system that stems all the way down to the elementary level, and this season the rewards could be a little greater.

The Titans have only two seniors on the team, and the young talent may not have much varsity experience, but the wrestlers do have a lot of experience wrestling in big tournaments.

“The guys put the time in over the summer and in clubs,” D'Agustino said. “I am optimistic; this is the most kids we have had on the team in 10 years. I am happy about that. It has been a long time since we had 20 kids on the team.”

Jeff Nix (145/152 pounds) and Brad Good (170/180) are the returning seniors. Good was a two-year starter but didn't wrestle last year.

Austin Heinl took fourth in the section last year, and Jordan McConnell and Nico D'Amico also will help the team at the middle and lighter weights.

D'Agustino still has to see who will fit where as far as weight classes are concerned, as many of his wrestlers could bump up or down.

“We do have some good young kids,” he said.

That group consists of Mike Heinl and his cousin, Austin. Jake Hartman and Jake Mikovitz will fill in, too, along with heavyweight Benji Kane and Anthony Zelina.

A handful of sophomore contributors who are new to the team — Levi Curry, Aaron Rouda and Cody Gregor — will help in the lighter and middle weights. More help in the 145- and 152-pound classes will come from Josh Moreno and Justin Moreno, and the heavier weights will be handled in large part by C.J. Haushalter, Gabe Krotec, Tim Mullen and Jeff Ness.

“We are young, obviously,” D'Agustino said. “But we have a very talented group with experience in the Junior Olympics, and they wrestle all year. They have good youth experience.”

The Titans look to be in a position to be contenders for the next few years, and D'Agustino said he is excited because better kids keep coming up through the ranks.

Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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