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Young Norwin wrestling team working to improve

| Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Michael Love | Plum Advance Leader
Norwin's Hayden Rice (left) wrestles Stephen Turchick of Plum during the Eastern Area Invitational Wrestling Tournament on Dec. 6, 2013, at Gateway High School.

By the time section competition resumes for the Norwin wrestling team Thursday against Greensburg Salem, the Knights will have had a layoff of more than two weeks between section matches.

However, the team wasn't exactly idle during that time.

Coach Todd Schuchert said the Knights had a busy holiday break as they worked to improve after the first half of the section season, which saw them drop two of three matches.

“It was kind of a good break for us,” Schuchert said. “We were able to go over a lot of technique that was pretty glaring at the beginning of the year. For young kids, you don't know what to expect a lot of times. We were able to really focus in on what they needed to do. That nice little break worked out good for us, actually.”

After the graduation of several seniors from the 2012-13 season, Norwin is relying on many younger wrestlers this season.

Schuchert said he saw good signs from many of them during the first half of the season, which included losses to Latrobe and Kiski, a victory over Indiana and competition at the Eastern Area Invitational Wrestling Tournament and Powerade Tournament.

“Our kids have a pretty good work ethic, and I think they're starting to realize that the harder I work, (the more) it shows,” he said. “It's been showing over the last couple weeks, and I think that's starting to get contagious. It's a good change to our room from the beginning of the year.”

Schuchert mentioned Hayden Rice as one of the younger wrestlers who had an especially strong start to the season. Rice went 3-2 at the Powerade Tournament, coming one victory shy of placing.

While the holiday break allowed younger wrestlers a chance to improve, it also afforded some of Norwin's top wrestlers a chance to recuperate from injuries. Kevin Miller and Drew Phipps, two of the Knights' top returners, both missed the Powerade Tournament because of injuries, and Schuchert said several other wrestlers had missed time.

Schuchert said some of those wrestlers should be back in the lineup in time for Thrsday's match.

With two section matches left before the tournament later this month, Schuchert said the Knights needed to win out to grab a spot in the playoffs. In addition to Greensburg Salem, Norwin will wrestle against Penn-Trafford later this month.

Schuchert believes his team still has a chance to earn a spot in the postseason.

“We've got to put some good wins together against Penn-Trafford and Greensburg,” he said. “If we can beat those two teams, then we're in the playoffs. Right now, that's where our mindset is and our goal is. We've seen both of these teams at tournaments, and I know we can wrestle with them. It's just a matter of which team's going to come up big and wrestle hard when it counts.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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