SEASON PREVIEW: SHARON
Coach Dave Ciafre has high hopes for his team this season, especially for some of his top individuals at the end of the season.
"I think we'll be all right," said Ciafre, "We'll be better than last year. Last year we had five freshmen starting; they all have experience now. We should have varsity experience at all but two weights. We're still young, with a majority of sophomores in the lineup, but I see improvement and I see their hard work paying off. With seniors you don't see it as much, but when they're young, it's fun to watch them grow more mature and more physical. I see a big change from last year already."
The Tigers lost four seniors to graduation, led by Matt Raiti, a regional qualifier. Others were Russ Porterfield, Brian Bodien and Brandon Burwell.
"We only have four seniors on the team this year," said Ciafre. "But we have good leaders in Jimmy Connelly, Rich McDonald and Josh Young. We have a new senior, Sean O'Toole, who may crack the lineup -- he's a hard worker. We have a good group of juniors and a lot of sophomores."
Some of the wrestlers -- Logan Malie, Mark Zamora, John Reay and Ron Rodgers -- are getting a late start on the season because of football.
The Tigers' lineup will probably start off with Guy Simpson, sophomore letterman, at 103, followed by freshman Tom Safranic at 112. Sharon may have trouble filling 119 at the start of the season, until someone cuts to the weight.
Senior letterman McDonald will be at 125, backed up by freshman Doug Danilovics and sophomore Paul Sinkuc. Letterman Young will be at 130, with competition from junior Rob VanTassel and sophomores Malie and Ryan Martell. One of that trio will probably move to 135.
Junior letterwinner Adam Leishman will fill the 140 slot, followed by sophomore letterman Chrystan Bedell or sophomore Zamora at 145. Junior letterman Eric Squatrito will be at 152, pushed by sophomores Devin Corini and Gabe Delgros.
Newcomer O'Toole and junior letterman Reay will battle for the 160 post, with senior letterman Connelly at 171. Connelly was a regional qualifier last year and posted a 26-11 record. Sophomore Juan Zamora will fill the 189 slot, with sophomore Rodgers at heavyweight. Rodgers will be backed by freshman Mike Dessaw.
"There are three things that will make a big difference this year," said Ciafre. "We had a great group of kids wrestling freestyle the last couple of years and that's helped us. They've gotten real serious in the weight room with a majority of the team in the weight room three or four days a week. And we sent 20 kids to wrestling camp last summer.
"The weights have made a big difference in them physically. Squatrito and Connelly were very dedicated and Bedell was pretty faithful."
Joining the Sharon coaching staff is Larry Norris, former Sharon state place-winner who went on to wrestle at Pitt-Johnstown. Others on the varsity staff are Barry Anderson, a former Meadville High standout, Gary Bedell, Gary Gulla and Armondo Sciullo. At the junior high are Jeff Krecek, Jim Connelly and Bill Dorfi, while the elementary program is led by Jerry Mausser, Joe Moss, Bill Scheuermann and others.
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