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Greensburg Salem wrestling to rely on group strengths

| Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Greensburg Salem's Austin Shaw controls Hempfield's Will Chillinsky during a match Dec. 12, 2012, in Hempfield.

The Greensburg Salem wrestling team lacks the big names of most perennial powers.

Missing stars doesn't translate into lacking talent, something of which the Golden Lions have plenty. That's exactly how coach Randy Parsley likes it.

“We're going to sneak up on people,” Parsley said. “I don't think teams are going to know the talent we have on our team.”

Tanner Hahn (Air Force), Tyler Rinehart (Pitt-Johnstown) and Zack Voytek (Seton Hill) have moved on to wrestle for their respective colleges and left a void Parsley said will be difficult to replace. He said he's confident the team as a whole will make up for the losses.

“I think we're going to gel better as a team,” he said. “We lost some state place winners and qualifiers. That was the face of our team.

“This year, the whole team is the face of our team.”

Junior Lenny Grebeck will start at either 152 or 160. Parsley said Grebeck would have started his whole career on most other teams, but the talented starters in front of him prevented him from cracking the varsity lineup.

Juniors Josh Armstrong (126 pounds) and Austin Shaw (132 pounds) are returning WPIAL qualifiers Parsley expects to bring leadership and a moderate win total.

Sophomore Chris Eddins (113 or 120 pounds), who placed sixth in the WPIALs, and freshman Brady Shaw are young wrestlers who Parsley said have tremendous upside.

Senior Raistlin Willitt and sophomore Derek Berberick will have competition for the 220-pound weight class, and junior Grant Slezak returns as the team's heavyweight.

“I honestly feel very confident in our team,” Austin Shaw said. “I think our team can definitely pick the points up, and I think we have a good shot at making it to the state tournament.

“A lot of the guys on our team bring different styles, so I think that'll really help us and shock a lot of people.”

Parsley said his goals for this season are simple. He hopes his Golden Lions can finish in the top four of Section 1-AAA and make a run in the WPIAL playoffs.

“I think we're in the toughest section in the WPIAL with six to 10 teams that can win in the WPIALs,” he said. “If we can get in the top four, there's no telling how much noise we can make in the postseason.”

Shaw said the difficult nature of Section 1 allows for preparation for postseason wrestling. He said having the chance to compete with top-notch wrestlers almost nightly can only improve your own abilities.

“If you make it out of the section and get to the WPIALs, it's a little bit easier once you get past some of the tough teams in the section,” Shaw said. “It keeps you on your toes all year because you know you get a shot at some of the best guys in the area.”

This weekend, the Golden Lions travel to Cleveland for the North Coast Classic at Independence High School.

“The kids are really excited,” Parsley said. “They'll get about seven matches over the weekend. We're the defending champs from the tournament.

“They are excited to get back and defend their title.”

Brian Graham is a freelance writer.

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