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Wrestling co-op has eyes on future

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:56 p.m.

Moon wrestling coach Mitch Barcaskey envisions the cooperative agreement between his school and Quaker Valley reaping big rewards in the future.

The rewards are not there yet, but that doesn't damage his hope.

In the first season of the co-op between the schools, just one Quaker Valley student — junior Eric Kley — wrestles for the Moon varsity team. However, Barcaskey said three more Quaker Valley products wrestle for the Moon middle school team, and the presence of the first-year Quaker Valley Youth Wrestling team could mean even bigger numbers in the future.

“Every year, I'm hoping it will continue to grow,” Barcaskey said. “If we have one varsity wrestler this year, two or three next year and five or six the year after, that's what I'm hoping for. And I think it will certainly help for the kids going into the youth program knowing they have a high school varsity team that they can wrestle for.”

The Quaker Valley and Moon wrestling co-op was approved by both schools in the fall of 2012 and officially spans the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

Barcaskey is in his first year as coach of the Moon varsity team, and he thinks the combination of his recent hire and the late approval of the co-op may have contributed to the lower numbers this year.

“It was really bang-bang right when the season started,” he said. “We didn't really have a chance to publicize it, spread the word.”

Kley, who played for the Quaker Valley football team this fall, is Moon's starter at 220 pounds. The junior who moved to the area from Kansas still is looking for his first varsity win after last weekend's Midwestern Athletic Conference Tournament at South Side Beaver.

“I think this is only Eric's second year wrestling — he wrestled one year in Kansas,” Barcaskey said. “He's starting out against some big boys there — I think he's only about 210 pounds, but he listens real good. He's a great kid.”

Moon was 0-2 in dual meets heading into Wednesday's matchup against McGuffey. The meet ended past the deadline for this week's edition.

Barcaskey hopes to build a winning wrestling program at Moon, which last posted a winning season in 2001. He believes the co-op with Quaker Valley will help with that process, but he knows it won't happen right away.

“You can be 6-foot-5 and step on a basketball court and be pretty good,” he said. “The skillset of wrestling is a little bit different. … Wrestling's one of those things where you have to start young and develop the skill. It takes a few years to feel like you can make an impact. Having that outlet for those youth (wrestling) kids is going to be a big help.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.

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