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The Herald, Sharon, PA



WRESTLING
All teams' schedules in one file

MERCER CO. ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Commodore Perry Schedule/season preview
Greenville Schedule/season preview
Grove City Schedule/season preview
Hickory Schedule/season preview
Mercer Schedule/season preview
Reynolds Schedule/season preview
Sharon Schedule/season preview
Sharpsville Schedule/season preview
Slippery Rock Schedule/season preview

FRENCH CREEK VALLEY CONFERENCE

Jamestown Schedule/season preview
Lakeview Schedule/season preview


TRUMBULL ATHLETIC CONFERENCE-8

Brookfield Schedule/Season preview

Published Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2002
Promising mat season ahead

Lynn Saternow
Herald Sports Writer

After a recent multi-team scrimmage at Butler High, new Mercer High coach Rick Whenry had a stop to make.

"I went to Kevin's gravesite just to let him know how we did," said Whenry, referring to Kevin Kubalic, the head coach of the Mustangs who died in an industrial accident in Pittsburgh shortly after the team began practice in November.

But while the 2002-2003 high school season began with tragedy for the close-knit wrestling community -- also hit by the death of former Reynolds High star Glenn Clark, the Mars High coach who was killed in a traffic accident in June -- it holds a lot of promise for area teams.

Whenry -- who replaced his friend and fellow long-time coach in the Mercer program, Kubalic -- saw his Mustangs score an emotional season-opening victory over Cochranton in a season dedicated to Kubalic.

But the Mustangs are just one of the teams who will make the Mercer County Athletic Conference one of the strongest in recent memory. Reynolds has reloaded, Hickory has a very strong group of veterans, and Commodore Perry is on the rise. Several other teams are in the hunt.

Greenville is on the verge of making state history. The Trojans have 599 career dual-match victories and the first win of the season will put them at the magical 600 plateau. No other Class AA school in Pennsylvania has ever reached 600.

A few new rules will come into play. The addition of a 215-pound weight class is good for some schools, who have numbers, while hurting others who have a difficulty filling weight classes.

Then there is the rule that schools must draw to see which weight class will open dual meets. Rather than always start with 103 and finish with 215, other wrestlers will have a chance to feel the pressures of beginning and ending dual meets.

"I like it, it's fun and entertaining," said Commodore Perry coach Kevin Drew. "It requires some different strategy, bit I'm definitely a fan of it."

Not too many coaches are big fans of the new rule regarding weigh-ins which requires that individual wrestlers much weigh-in a majority of their matches at the weight they will compete at in the post-season tournaments.

"Overall it's probably better for the kids," said Reynolds head coach Brian Hills. "But there is a lot more paperwork."

It also means that coaches are limited about moving kids between weight classes. "The new rule may take some of the team aspect out of it," said Greenville mentor Jim Miller. "I hate to move away from the team aspect."

When it comes to team aspects, Reynolds won the District 10 Class AA Dual-Meet championship last season and moved on to state, where the Raiders fell to eventual state champ Wilson. Hickory also qualified for the dual-meet tourney and is looking for a chance to return.

There is also some individual strength in the area, which should make the post-season tournaments exciting.

Mercer County had five state place-winners last year, led by Kennedy Catholic's Jim Gibson, runner-up at 160. Fifth-place finishers were Lakeview's Tim Gadsby, 112; and Reynolds' Justin Hollobaugh, 125, and John Svirbly, 145. All were seniors except Gadsby, a seventh-place finisher the previous year, who returns for another crack at moving up the medal stand at the PIAA tournament.


Click on the links above for previews and schedules of individual teams.


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