West Shamokin's Glover grapples with heftier foes
As West Shamokin sophomore Brenden Glover approached the scorer's table Wednesday night during a wrestling match at Kittanning, he looked to see who the Wildcats chose to send out as his opponent for the 160-pound bout.
No one emerged for Kittanning, which was certain to win the match because of West Shamokin's six forfeits.
Glover rolled his eyes and waited at the table for the official to declare “no match” at 160 and move on to 170. Then, he checked in again.
A take-on-all-comers mentality is one Glover, a 160-pounder, must embrace as he prepares to go deeper in the individual postseason after reaching the WPIAL tournament as a 152-pound freshman. His practice partners can push him only so far. And if West Shamokin's opponent lacks an opponent in his weight class, Glover is not interested in stepping on the mat simply to have his hand raised for a forfeit victory.
Glover lost, 6-0, to his Kittanning foe, Jacob Robb, on Wednesday. But he viewed himself as better off afterward.
“It'd be nice to get a win, but getting experience is something that I really need,” said Glover, who has a 12-5 record with wins against opponents from the 182-, 170- and 160-pound weight classes. “I want to get as many matches as I can.”
He started the season as a 170-pounder and won his first six bouts — five of them by pinfall. Valley's Dylan Clark ended the streak with a 9-4 decision Dec. 12, and Burrell's Nicholas Pattock handed Glover another loss (7-5).
In between those two Section 3-AA setbacks, Glover competed at the Redbank Valley holiday tournament, where he placed fourth in the 12-man 160-pound bracket.
Last weekend, Glover won the 160-pound weight class in Indiana's Harry “Bo” Wood tournament, a pool-format individual competition.
Of his 12 wins this season, eight are pins. Glover, who stands a couple inches over 6 feet, tries to overpower opponents when possible. But with so many of his foes weighing more and possessing more strength, the sophomore has relied on his limber, lanky frame and wits.
“I think I'm pretty good at scrambling, and a lot of my teammates tell me that I'm really gumby, and any position really doesn't hurt me that much,” Glover said.
Coach Matt Reefer hopes Glover will diversify his offensive go-to options; the half-nelson is Glover's old reliable. Brawny opponents help break Glover of his predictable habits.
“It's only going to make him better,” Reefer said. “He hasn't wrestled long enough to have the mat time that everybody else has, so we have to get it anywhere we can during the season.”
Glover got into wrestling after he watched his older brother, Tucker, who started the sport in seventh grade. In elementary school, Glover played basketball. He had the height but not the heart for the game. Wrestling, on the other hand, put enough control in the hands of individuals, an aspect Glover appreciated.
These days, his opponents' weight is not as predictable as he would prefer. But Glover goes through the mismatches with an eye toward the postseason, when the lineup juggling of dual meets will no longer be an issue.
“I think it really helps because I'm wrestling all the bigger guys,” Glover said. “Wrestling at 160, it seems a lot easier to move them around. They're not as strong and not as big. … Right now, I'm not frustrated at all.”