Mix of youth, experience hits mat for FC
The Fox Chapel Area High School varsity wrestling team will have a nice blend of experience and youth this season as Ron Frank enters his 33rd year as head coach.
The Foxes last year ended up with a 2-3 record in Section 3-AAA and narrowly missed qualifying for the section team tournament.
Frank has high hopes of returning to the playoffs this year.
“With all of the freshmen on the roster, we'll have some growing pains to start the season, but we've been working hard and things have been going well,” Frank said.
The Foxes will be counting on a pair of returning WPIAL qualifiers and three seniors who missed a lot of last season with injuries.
Junior Corey Mahon (152-pounds) and sophomore Tyler Heasley (160) advanced to the WPIAL qualifiers while seniors Tyler Lever (285), Jared Rice (113) and Artie Newman (126) hope to return to form after last year's injuries.
There were 28 wrestlers coming out for the team, a number that pleased Frank. Included in that group is a contingent of a dozen freshmen.
“That's the largest number we've had in 10 or 12 years,” Frank said. “We've been waiting for this group.
“There are some good wrestlers there who we think are going to do well. A lot of the ninth-graders are pushing for starting time and we could see as many as five starting.”
Also returning are senior Adam Novacic (182, 195) and junior Rich Giovanetti (182, 195)
There are a lot of battles going on at the other weights. Freshmen Vaun Flotta and Andrew Kopko are at 106 and freshman John Rice will wrestle at 113.
Two more freshmen, Ausitn Pisano and Brendan Whalen, are at 120. Freshmen Darius Booker and Matt Silverman are vying for action at 126 while freshman Wahid Faroz will be behind Newman at 132.
Also at 132 are freshman Kevin Crates and sophomore Daniel Cupps.
Freshman Derrin Dietz and sophomores Aiden Carlier and Ahad Firoz will be at 138, while junior Cody Springel and freshmen Dylan Peterle and Mike Duray are battling it out at 145.
Junior Cam Ferguson is slotted at 152 with senior Andrew Davis and junior Justin Truong at 160.
Sophomore John Fisher will wrestle at 195 with sophomore Dustin McQuaide at 220. Senior Emil Lukas will be at the heavyweight slot.
Frank, who is assisted by Bob Siar and Michael Frank, is confident that the team's senior leadership will help the younger wrestlers along.
“It's teamwork all the way through,” he said. “We teach something to our veteran wrestlers and they in turn show the inexperienced wrestlers how it should be done. The seniors are leading the way and everybody is pulling together. “We're in good shape.”
The Foxes will face a challenging section battle again.
“There are no weak teams,” Frank said. “Hampton, North Allegheny, North Hills, Butler, Central Catholic and Plum are all strong. Butler and North Allegheny each have nine or 10 starters coming back. North Hills has three of the top wrestlers in the WPIAL.”
Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.