SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — In his second year leading the Abington Heights varsity wrestling team, head coach Steve Peters is hopeful the program will continue to improve.
The team finished last season with a 9-11 record and lost all five Lackawanna League Division 1 matches, but four of the 11 losses were by four points or less.
“Last year, there was a big transition,” Peters said. “We now have a core group and we’re starting to build the program and move forward. We’re potentially looking at having the first full lineup at Abington Heights since about 2008.”
Peters was pleased with the effort and enthusiasm from the group during the first week of practice.
“Everyone is absolutely working to the best of their abilities and giving 100 percent,” he said. “The new coaching philosophy is in place and we’re beginning to rebuild the program. Right now, we’re at about 15 wrestlers but we’re recruiting every day and are expecting an increase in our numbers as soon as next week.”
Peters believes the dedication and knowledge the coaches bring to each practice will help the team experience a successful season.
“I think we’re moving in a great direction,” he said. “Our coaching staff is second to none. We have eight or nine coaches, all together. Just like you would want a low student to teacher ratio in classroom, we have a great coach-to-athlete ratio which really helps their progression.”
The second-year coach expects Nick Carr and Noah Sirianni, who were both captains as juniors last season, to take the lead in the wrestling room.
“I was happy they stepped up as leaders last year and this year they’re even more vocal,” Peters said. “They always led by example, but now they’re really pushing their teammates.”
Carr is expected to compete at 182 points and Sirianni will likely start the season in the 113-pound weight class. Senior Jack Hildebrand should see time in the 170-pound weight class. Juniors Sean Myers (132), Eric Jacoby (160), Tom Hildebrand (170) and Adam Wellard (182 or 195) along with freshmen Scott Jacoby (106) and Jake Rosenstein (126) are also expected to compete for staring spots.
Peters thinks Delaware Valley and Scranton will provide the toughest competition, but has been impressed with the overall strength and depth of the teams throughout the league.
“The Lackawanna League has been stellar the last couple years and that hasn’t always been the case,” he said.
Abington Heights will open its season in the Wyalusing Duels on Saturday, Dec. 5 at Wyalusing High School.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.