WPIAL playoff appearance goal for Thomas Jefferson grapplers
Thomas Jefferson's varsity wrestling team is a blend of balance and experience in 2012-13.
Head coach Rudy Nesbitt greeted five seniors, five juniors, six sophomores and five freshmen to the varsity team this season.
“I'm thrilled with the numbers we have, which are the most we've had since I began coaching here six years ago,” Nesbitt said. “If all our kids fall into the right weight classes, we should have a very successful season.”
Nesbitt anticipates senior leadership from the likes of Thor Henze, Steve Hess, Greg Incardona, Jason McKown and Jake Prosser.
The junior class is represented on the team by Brendan Cusick, Byron Minous, Connor Rittiger, Robert Schwartz and Will Stoffel.
James Barrickman, Nick Burkett, Braden Flinn, Marco Marinelli, David Morgan and Kyle Senich are sophomores; while Jackson Bucy, Dom Devine, Kolton Karwowski, Tyler Newman and Dillon Visari are the top freshmen prospects.
“Our goal is to get to the playoffs this year and crack the top 10 in the WPIAL,” Nesbitt said. “We have our whole starting lineup (back) except for our only senior last year, Tyler Toboz.”
The Jaguars kick off their 2012-13 campaign Saturday at the Hampton Duals, and will host their first home match Wednesday against Belle Vernon.
“We worked very hard this past year going to the Edinboro summer camp, lifting weights and (participing in) open mat throughout the summer,” Nesbitt said. “We have a very tough schedule this year due to the new alignments, but I believe we will handle business on our end.”
One of Nesbitt's assistants is Bob Marlow, who also is head coach of the Jaguars' successful freshman program.
“I can tell you that we are excited about TJ wrestling, and optimistic about success for many years to come,” Marlow said. “My teams have gone undefeated in dual matches for the past four years. All of that talent is now loaded throughout the varsity lineup.”
Thomas Jefferson faces a daunting section schedule this year due to the WPIAL's realignment process.
“The schedule has become incredibly tougher,” Marlow said. “We were put in the same section as powerhouses Connellesville and Albert Galletin, and (with) the likes of Belle Vernon and Ringgold.”
Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.