Share This Page

Pine-Richland wrestlers primed for season

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 9:00 p.m.
Pine Creek
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal Pine-Richland's Brennan Burnham is a returning WPIAL qualifier for the wrestling team.
Pine Creek
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal Sophomore Mike Gyer had a winning record for the Rams as a freshman.

Last season was a successful one for the Pine-Richland wrestling team. A sixth-place team finish at the Allegheny County Wrestling Tournament as well as a team playoff appearance marked a season that will be difficult to top. But Rams coach Steve Joseph intends to try.

Gone are talents who brought home some serious hardware last season (Ben Balish, Andrew Wood and Austin Killian), but an influx of youth is ready to step in and step up.

“The kids' goal is to make states, and they know it will take a lot of hard work,” Joseph said. “Last year was the first time we made the team playoffs (since I got here six-years ago), and we want to get into the playoffs and win our first (round) match. We want to surpass the sixth-place finish at counties.

“Even if we don't reach every goal, we will get better as we try.”

With the majority of the bigger-name starters graduating last year, the team will begin with seniors Matt Graff and Sam Kyle. Joseph said he expects them to lead the team.

“Sam is the kind of kid who just loves to wrestle,” Joseph said. “He will try to help us out wherever we need. We will move him around to try to fill out the lineup.”

Joseph said Graff and Kyle are likely candidates to be named captain(s).

Brennan Burnham is a returning WPIAL qualifier who should fit in at the 152- or 160-pound weight class, and Joseph hopes Davis Kelly can qualify based on a solid freshman season last year. Kelly will be wrestling around 132.

Sophomore Mike Geyer had a winning record as a freshman, and he is one of the athletes who figures to pick up some of the slack left by last year's seniors.

“We have a younger team, but we look like a strong team,” Joseph said. “We put the feelers out with a lot of the football players to see if any of them had an interest if coming out for the team. If some of them stick with it, that would help us field a full team for the first time in six years.”

Joseph also had two wrestlers move in from out of state, so he is hopeful Nick Byrd (at 170 pounds) and Connor Rienke (106) can help out.

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

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.