Wrestlers make progress in loss
Parkland wrestling’s 2019-2020 season debut against Pleasant Valley was anything but another meet. In fact, first-year head coach Jon Trenge said it won’t soon be forgotten.
“Our meet with Pleasant Valley was monumental in a few ways,” Trenge said. “It was our first match with the current coaching staff, so the kids got to see how we would react to adversity and success. It was also our first match ever starting a girl on a Parkland wrestling team (Mackenzie DelVecchio at 120). Last, it was the first ever varsity match for half the kids in our line up that evening. Four of the wrestlers were first-year wrestlers.”
While monumental, it also showed the Trojans are still a work in progress.
“Technically speaking, it showed that many of our wrestlers are inexperienced,” Trenge said. “We made basic mistakes that have been discussed at practice countless times.”
For example, Trenge and his staff want wrestlers to understand the importance of keeping their heads up on bottom. However, that didn’t always happen against Pleasant Valley. As a result, some Trojans suffered several falls by cradle as direct result.
“But I believe the kids learned the lesson well,” Trenge added.
At the Penn Manor Tournament in Millersville last weekend, the inexperienced wrestlers showed improvement.
“They handled their nerves better and they used much better technique,” Trenge said. “As a result, several of them won matches and one first-year wrestler, Nick Rode, even placed sixth at 285, in spite of only weighing 205.”
If Rode was the overachiever of the tournament, other wrestlers were right behind him, turning in good performances. Phoenix DelVecchio, Kaleb Contes, Caleb Watson, Canon Iacocca and Marcus Loch all impressed.
“We were very pleased with the morale, camaraderie and improvements that we saw as a coaching staff,” Trenge said. “When the first day of the tournament ended, Parkland was tied for first place in the team race. That is how great our new kids were performing.”
The second day proved different. The youthful Trojans encountered opponents more experienced, savvy and wise. As a result, Parkland fell to an 11th-place finish at the tournament at 11th. Parkland had five individuals place - Lucas Kern was fifth at 132; Bryan Diaz took sixth at 138; Joe Dolak claimed sixth at 145; Jacob Ortman sixth at 170; and Luke Yatcilla eighth at 152.
“Our experienced starters are making some adjustments and improving as well,” the coach said.
From a technique standpoint, Trenge is imparting his wisdom and experience in practice.
“We have been working on a short sit from the bottom position to avoid leg riders as much as possible,” Trenge said “This is the least natural position in the sport.”
In addition, Trenge wants his wrestlers to implement an offensive strategy when they are on their feet and getting to shots. In the near future, Trenge and staff will develop top and sprawling pressure techniques.
So far, who’s stood out?
“Joe Dolak wins my award for best ability to set up shots and get in on the legs,” the coach said. “He is aggressive and I love seeing him wrestle.”
Rode is also making his mark.
“He is impressing all of us with his ability to stick to a game plan and follow instructions,” Trenge said. “As a heavyweight that only weighs 205, he cannot afford to make mistakes out there. He is beating opponents who have wrestled for years. I am super impressed with his work ethic and mental toughness.”