2017-18 Clearfield Bison Wrestling Preview

“Gold medals aren’t really made of metal. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard to find alloy called guts.” –Dan Gable

“How good we are this year depends on how tough we can be.” – Jeff Aveni

Clearfield Wrestling is sporting a roster of 20 young men this year, including 12 returning from last season, 10 of whom lettered. With an evolving identity, it’s going to be up to upperclassmen like Luke McGonigal, Caleb Freeland, Matt Ryan and Hunter Wright to determine the fate of this team. As always, Clearfield wrestling’s first priority is achieving at least a .500 season and to win a District IX team title and individual championship.

“DuBois is definitely the team to beat. They’ve got a lot of horses.” said Bison Head Coach Jeff Aveni. “We know that. But if we get tough and improve as a team; well ,you know, anything is possible.”

If there was one takeaway from the 2017-18 Bison Wrestling Team, it’s that they are athletic and talented, but they have a lot of growing to do. If this group decides to buy into the system Coach Jeff Aveni, and assistant coaches Brent Lykens, Andy Squires, Myles Caragein, and Nate Sipes have developed, they have the potential to be pretty darn good. If they don’t, it could be a rough time. As is the sport of wrestling, their fate is in their own hands.

Breakdown by weight class:

106 – Angelo Maines (9th Grade) “He’s a freshman on the varsity who is going to be working on learning, growing, and getting better all season.” said Aveni.  “He is a project, just like Matt Ryan was a few years before.”

113 – Johnathon “JT” Thomas (11) or Kyler Rosinsky (11).

120 – Peyton Smay (10) is a sophomore who made a lot of progress last year, including a trip to regionals. This year he is “way ahead of the game, and for he’s just a notch ahead of the others.” He will be transitioning to a tougher 120 weight class, but Coach Aveni is expecting big things out of him.

126 – Matt Ryan (12) is a proven, tough nosed wrestler who knows how to gut out wins. He could end up “with at least 30 wins,” and is aiming for a trip to Hershey in March. To complement Matt is sophomore Jacob Disshon, who transferred from Sheffield this year.

132 – Jude Pallo (11) is a fourth-year wrestler, and Aveni says that this year it’s “time for Jude to produce.  We’re looking for Jude to display consistency on and off the mat. If he does that, you could see 20 or more wins from him.”

138 – There are a quartet of wrestlers in Rudy Cordone (12), Quinten Edwards (12), Nate Barr (10), and J.D. Graham (10). Quinten is an established senior doing well in the wrestle-offs, and J.D. is wrestling for the first time, but is very athletic. Nate Barr is also displaying some talent, but needs to “mentally believe he can win.”

145 – Caleb Freeland (11) – “Caleb came into the practice room this year more focused, more willing to train and grow. He should have a nice season with 20+ wins.”

152 – Hunter Wright (12) is starting the year where he left off last season, and Aveni expects him to have a big year, with as many as 30 wins. Cole Smay (11) is back as well, and though he’s dinged up right now, he’s going to be very important to the team, splitting roles with Wright between 152 and 160.

170 – Brett Zattoni (10) is in his first year of wrestling as well, but Jeff assured me he is very athletic and has tremendous potential. “He’s an aggressive kid who’s learning quickly.”

182 – Luke McGonigal (12) is here for one reason this year – to put his name on the famed Clearfield Wrestling wall, where all state champions end up. There are great expectations for Luke this year, and if he gets every win he can, he could end up being the all-time wins leader for the program’s history.

We all know what Luke is capable of, as he’s returning from a second place finish at states last year. As good as he was then, Coach Aveni is convinced Luke has been the “most improved” wrestler this off-season. “He’s stronger, quicker, and a better technician. He’s really good, and I don’t say that a lot,” said Aveni.

For team aspirations, it is important that Luke be the anchor to the team as well. With several first-year starters, sophomores and freshmen in the lineup this year, they will be looking to him to display leadership.

195 – Brandon Daubs (9) is a freshman who is going to take his lumps this year in a competitive weight class, but Aveni says that he is showing a lot of promise. “If he learns to stick to his game plan and battle for six minutes, he will let the team stay in matches.”

220- Avery Gisewhite (11) is another junior who is set to “step-it-up” this year. “He’s big, strong, and athletic, but he needs to work on his mental toughness.”

At 285, Jon Doran (10) and Kevin Helsel (11) are battling for the spot. Doran won the spot for Top Hat, but Helsel is an exciting new kid. If he keeps impressing, he could be starting by the end of the season.

The Bison kick off their season in traditional style this weekend at the Top Hat Tournament in Williamsport, PA. Then next week, they wrestle long-time arch-rival Bald Eagle before testing their meddle against District IX favorites, DuBois.

Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
12/08 & 09 Top Hat Tourney @ Williamsport
12/15 @ DuBois
12/19 @ Central
12/22 @ Punxsutawney
01/05 & 06 @ Tool City Tourney (Meadville)
01/09 @ Huntingdon
01/11 @ St. Marys
01/23 TYRONE
01/26 & 27 @ WB Ultimate Warrior Tourney
02/06 Takedown Cancer Match
02/24 District 9 AAA Champs @Clfd HS
03/02 & 03 Northwest Region @ Altoona
03/08-10 PIAA Championships @ Hershey
Outlook Promising for Lady Bison With Four Returnees
Campus Corner: Spencer Anchors Westminster Relay Win

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