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The Herald, Sharon, PA



WRESTLING
SEASON PREVIEW: MERCER

'00-01 SCHEDULE
Dec. 5 -- at Cochranton
   7 -- at Saegertown
   12 -- Reynolds
   16 -- at McDowell Tournament
   19 -- at Sharpsville
   20 -- Oil City
Jan. 3 -- Commodore Perry
   9 -- at Kennedy Christian
   11 -- at Hickory
   12 -- at Saegertown Tournament, 4:15 p.m.
   13 -- at Saegertown Tournament, 11 a.m.
   16 -- Grove City
   18 -- Greenville
   23 -- Slippery Rock
   26-27 -- at Grove City Tournament
Feb. 1 -- at Sharon
   3 -- at Brockway
   6 -- at Cathedral Prep
   13 -- Jamestown.
By The Herald Sports Staff

The Mustangs have some strong competitors on the roster this season, but the lack of numbers will hurt their dual meet chances.

"We might have to forfeit four weight classes for awhile," said veteran Mercer coach Keith DeGraaf. "We only had 16 kids out for the team and some have left already. Some kids we were relying on decided not to wrestle."

Mercer lost only one starter to graduation, but that was a big loss. Eric McCurdy, one of the most accomplished matmen in the school's history, a former state qualifier, graduated. The Mustangs finished 6-2 in the Mercer County Athletic Conference and 10-4 overall.

DeGraaf, in his 14th season, has posted an overall mark of 154 wins and 57 losses.

"If we can stay healthy and spread out in the weight classes, we can be competitive," he said. "It will be a difficult challenge if we have to forfeit many weights. We'll be solid from the middle up through."

This year, he'll be concentrating on getting his top guns ready for the post-season tournaments, and he has several. Sectional champions Chris White and Rick Trowbridge were both regional qualifiers last year, while Charlie Burk and Aaron Reinhart were district qualifiers. Senior Chris Dunn was injured at the end of last season, but will be a force to contend with also.

Senior lettermen on the squad and their expected weights are Dunn (160), White (189), Matt Hedglin (152), Adam Pesek (152) and Pete Erdos (171). The lone junior letterman is Trowbridge (135). Sophomore letter winners are: Burk (135-140), Reinhart (125), Richard Grant (145), Brad Cameron (103), Devan Kelly (119), Shawn Mihordin (160) and Josh Bobanick (119).

Some newcomers who may contribute are Steve Holzopfel, sophomore, 145; Josh Sicilian, junior, 112; and Allison Kelly, freshman, 103.

Assisting DeGraaf with the varsity is Kevin Kubalic, with Rick Whenry and Gary Bacon at the junior high and Jerry Gawne with the elementary.



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