Elderton wrestling lives on at West Shamokin, but more grapplers needed
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The re-establishment of a wrestling program at West Shamokin allowed grapplers and their coaches to carry on the work done earlier at Elderton.
However, the Wolves aren't far from square one as they prepare for this season.
A young, inexperienced lineup will don West Shamokin gear, which first appeared when Elderton closed in 2009 but went back into boxes when Elderton reopened a year later. The Wolves, who have three returning starters and only one senior, are seven members deep.
Most of the current wrestlers are former Elderton students. But the boys hope to generate interest among the unfamiliar study body at West Shamokin this winter.
“I'm hoping that once the kids over here get a taste of it and maybe come to a match, maybe we'll get some more kids,” said coach Matt Reefer, who led the team at Elderton, too. “I think a lot of kids over here have never even seen a wrestling match. They don't know what it is.”
Senior David Batistig and sophomores Brenden Glover and Brian Brown are the ones for others to follow. Batistig competed at 126 pounds as a junior but endured an injury-shortened season. Glover and Brown, wrestling at 152 and 160 pounds, respectively, each won at least 19 matches and qualified for the WPIAL Class AA tournament.
Batistig will start in the 132-pound weight class this winter.
“It's my last year, and it's a small team, so I'm focused on myself,” Batistig said. “But I'm also focused on the guys in junior high, because there's a pack of them. So whenever they move up, if they know what they're doing in a couple years, they could have a monster team.”
Glover, who plans to wrestle at 170, will look to surpass the 20-13 mark he had as a first-year starter.
“I feel a lot of pressure,” he said. “I just want to get past WPIALs. I got stopped last year. I was close to beating the kids that I lost to, but I just couldn't do it.”
Brown is slotted in the 160 weight class. But an unspecified injury forced him to miss a large portion of the offseason and all of the preseason, said Reefer, who expects the sophomore to begin practicing next week.
Glover and Batistig have devoted much of the preseason to priming a collection of underclassmen for the challenges of varsity action. The group includes sophomores Collin Adamson (152 pounds), Alex Boyer (138) and John Wissinger (195) and freshman Brian Lukehart (113).
“They're tough kids,” Reefer said. “Lukehart, the kid is built like a brick wall. He'll do whatever you ask him to. The other first-year kids, they'll also do what you tell them to. They don't complain. They work hard, and that's all you can ask of them.”
West Shamokin is one of several Section 3-AA programs with dwindling participation numbers. Highlands shelved its team for one season due to a limited turnout — wrestlers from the school can still compete at individual tournaments, however.
And Shady Side Academy, with fewer than 10 wrestlers, chose to continue with a dual-meet schedule.
“If we match up right, we have a shot,” Reefer said. “But most of our section is pretty tough.
“Dave and Brenden are going to be our horses. The rest of the guys are just going to have to try to follow suit and learn as much as they can. We have to get them as much mat time as we can.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-543-1303.
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.
- Steelers cut Scobee, sign free agent kicker Boswell
- Burnett pitches well in farewell, but Pirates lose to Reds
- Are Pirates better positioned to win it all this postseason?
- Kessel addition, better health could have Pens scoring like it’s 1990s
- Pitt holds off Virginia Tech in ACC opener
- Penguins at a glance entering 2015-16 season
- New book credits Nunn for Steelers’ 1970s success
- Pirates fans on edge as season again coming down to wild card
- Fight stops Monessen-Wilkinsburg game in 3rd quarter
- Pitt notebook: Voytik proves value by baffling Hokies with running ability
- Shaler man charged in death of girl, 6, not prosecuted in repeated alcohol cases