Trojans go 5-0 at Parkland Duals
Following their latest Lehigh Valley Conference meet, a 42-21 loss to Nazareth in December, the Parkland wrestling team got a break from conference play over the holiday season.
The Trojans have certainly been impressive on the mat since that loss to the Blue Eagles.
On December 27, the Trojans put together a solid performance in the 2013 Powerade Christmas Tournament in Cannonsburg that resulted in a third place finish. Junior Omar Haddad took first place in his weight class, seniors Nezar Haddad and Ethan Lizak each came in second and sophomore Jacob Lizak took third for the Trojans.
"We were really happy with our performance there," head coach Ryan Nunamaker said. "There's 46 teams, a lot from out in the Pittsburgh area and even in Ohio and some teams from West Virginia and Georgia. It's an outstanding tournament."
"For him [Omar Haddad], it was a big win because it was the first tournament that he's won at the high school division. He has finished second at districts and second at regionals. This was a big event for him. For him to go out there and win the tournament certainly gave him a lot of confidence, and you can kind of see that confidence growing throughout the tournament."
The Trojans, who also placed sixth in the same tournament last season, had one wrestler, Ethan Lizak, in the finals. Nunamaker knows that in big tournaments, winning as many matches as possible is essential in helping the team climb to the top of the list.
"Getting three guys in the finals was a big step," Nunamaker said. "The second thing is all of your other guys, even if they don't place, have to win matches. And they all did that. Everyone that went won at least one match."
After the Powerade Tournament, the Trojans most recently took first place in the Parkland Duals over the weekend. They recorded victories over Garnet Valley (32-27), Delaware Valley (51-15), Upper Perkiomen (53-6), Pleasant Valley (66-9) and Western Wayne (58-15).
Senior Rahmeir Thompson went 4-0 at 182 pounds, and freshman Frank Guida (160) and senior Josh Ortman (152) both posted perfect 5-0 marks over the weekend.
"Overall, we were pretty happy with our performance," Nunamaker said.
"Our first match was our toughest match. We didn't feel we performed as well as we should've during that meet against Garnet Valley. But after that, I think we were able to regroup, and the kids certainly picked up their intensity and competed hard."
While a number of the varsity wrestlers continued to work on getting better throughout their team duals, a number of others experienced valuable time on the mat.
Juniors Jacob Geist, Anthony Chidaic and Abe Kheir all had the chance to compete in varsity matches.
"In the end, we accomplished a lot of the things we wanted to do," Nunamker said. "We gave some kids that maybe don't generally get to start an opportunity to get a match in during the day."
Omar Haddad is 17-1 to start the season, while Nezar Haddad (14-2), Ethan Lizak (13-2) and Jacob Lizak (15-4) have led the Trojans thus far. Also among the top wrestlers are Guida at 13-5 and Ortman at 11-5.
The Trojans will travel to Freedom on Monday and host Dieruff on Wednesday, and Nunamker remains focused on each individual progressing.
"We always try to preach to the kids that everything we do is for preparation for the end of the season, for the district tournament," Nunamaker said.
"If they keep improving and keep working hard, they are going to be where they need to be at the end of the season."