Mt. Pleasant looks to replace key wrestlers

| Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, 11:09 p.m.

Several losses to graduation have altered the goals of Mt. Pleasant's wrestling team.

“As a team, we won't be as strong as last year, when we made the playoffs,” Long said. “We had a full roster last year, but we lost 10 seniors.”

While Mt. Pleasant's team may struggle at times because of openings in several weight classes, the Vikings have a handful of wrestlers from whom Long expects big things.

Juniors Austin Mears and Ethan Charlesworth, and sophomores Mike Novak and Josh Lind all placed at the WPIAL tournament last season, and advanced to the Class AA Southwest Regional Tournament.

Mears posted 30 wins last season on his way to a fourth-place finish at WPIALs. He will compete this season at either 145 or 152 pounds.

Long has named Mears one of the team captains.

“He has great leadership skills and takes the sport seriously,” Long said. “He practices and is involved in the sport all year long.”

Charlesworth piled up 25 wins and placed fifth at WPIALs.

Long said Charlesworth will see most of his action at 152 or 160 pounds. Like Mears, Charlesworth also is a team captain.

“He's very athletic and an all-around good wrestler,” Long said.

Novak had a very good freshman season, winning 36 m atches. Lind had 20 victories.

Long said Novak will see action at 120 or 126. Lind will hit the mat at 195 or 220 pounds.

At 106 pounds, Long said Austin Mihalchik could be a pleasant surprise.

“He's wrestled his whole life, and he puts a lot of extra time in,” Long said.

Mt. Pleasant will compete in Section 2-AA, sub-section 2B along with Charleroi, Derry, Jeannette, Southmoreland and Yough.

Bentworth, Beth-Center, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown, Washington and West Greene comprise the 2A sub-section.

“Even with the loss of all the seniors, I think this year will be better than any year I've been here,” Long said. “I have a great group of kids who really take the sport seriously. We have a bunch of kids who pretty much do everything I ask of them. We will have to forfeit some weights and that will make it difficult for us to win matches, but we have some kids who could do really well individually.”

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