Greensburg Salem wrestlers continue march to postseason
It didn't take long for Greensburg Salem wrestling coach Randy Parsley to realize the 2012-13 season wasn't going to be a rebuilding year. According to the longtime coach, this team may be stronger than last year's.
Despite some heavy graduation losses, Parsley's Lions are right in the thick of the Class AAA Section 1-B race. Headlined by his “three horses” — Tyler Reinhart (152 pounds), Zach Voytek (160) and Anthony Cable (195) — Greensburg Salem entered the week 4-0 in section matches.
“We lost quite a bit of wins to graduation last year, but these guys who have stepped in are doing just as well or maybe even better,” Parsley said. “They've put the time in and have worked incredibly hard. They're forming a solid team, and we're up for the challenge.”
The Lions also have received what Parsley called a “nice surprise” at 182 pounds in Raistlen Willet. According to Parsley, Willet has turned heads among the coaching staff this season.
“He was a big, nice surprise,” Parsley said. “He really changed his approach. This year … he really wants to win now. Something went off inside him and this year he is working and practicing really hard. He's going out and doing a nice job for us night in and night out.”
The hard work of Willet and his Lions teammates showed at the Powerade Tournament. Greensburg Salem finished 11th out of 44 teams in the prestigious annual showcase event.
“I was pleased with our showing down there,” Parsley said. “We could have finished higher. We had something unfortunate happen, and it cost us probably 20 points, and we could have probably finished seventh or eighth. But when you're dealing with kids that stuff occasionally happens unfortunately.
Several Lions had strong performances in the tournament, led by Voytek (second) and Reinhart (fourth). Voytek and Cable also won titles at last weekend's Westmoreland County Coaches' Association tournament. Cable wrestled in the 220-pound class. Reinhart finished in second.
Parsley said the experience gained in tournaments is invaluable for his wrestlers.
“We talk about it all the time,” he said. “When you get a chance to wrestle in events like (Powerade), you have to take advantage of it. The guys approached it good and were fired up to wrestle that competition level. We may only have placed a couple guys, but everybody went to compete hard, and they did. They didn't lose to people they shouldn't have. If guys were better than them they were better, but nobody backed down from anybody.”
Parsley and his wrestlers know the next few weeks will tell a lot about this year's Lions.
“Coming in, on paper, it looked like we had a good shot to win the section,” he said. “Last year was the first year we qualified for the state polls. Our expectation was to do it again even with losing so many seniors. I thought it was and still is attainable.”
Brian Hunger is a freelance writer.