CURWENSVILLE – The Curwensville Wrestling team will enter the 2019-20 season with a facelift from last year. In the words of head coach Dean Swatsworth, he says there is “more brotherhood.” Assistant Coaches Johnny Sutika, Chris Folmar, Chris McCracken, and Ryan Aughenbaugh are all working with the team this year to raise their confidence and level of wrestling ability.
There are now 17 kids that come in and work hard every day, up a few from last year, and though there are still going to be a couple of holes, they expect to be a better team overall. Coach Swatsworth says he is constantly telling his team to “Climb the ladder, to work harder than you did yesterday. Every day you should be a peg higher.”
Senior Zach Holland and junior Jake McCracken have really stepped up and become the leaders of the team. Holland missed most of the 2018-19 season due to injury, but came back and won districts before bowing out at regionals, while McCracken moved up several weight classes as a sophomore and went a respectable 17-13. McCracken seems to have established his weight class better this year, and looks to make a lot of noise.
This team also has two discernable bottlenecks. First, they are a team with six seniors and eight sophomores and only two juniors. There is a good amount of senior experience and also first-time varsity experience that’s going to be on the mat. Second, many of the team’s wrestlers are clustered between 170-195 pounds. So even though there are 17 wrestlers, there are weight classes that are going to be tough to fill, and many of the wrestlers will not settle into their actual weight classes until after the new year when the two-pound allowance goes into effect.
There are now 20-30 in the elementary wrestling program and another 20-30 in the Saturday Wrestle for Fun program. Curwensville also changed their elementary wrestling tournament to a “novice” tournament, as many of the kids in the program do not have much experience, and the idea is to get more success out of their younger wrestlers to keep them growing and interested in the sport.
Curwensville will start their season on Thursday, December 12 at Redbank Valley before attending the Ridgway Duals on the 14th. They then do a flip-flop and wrestle Ridgway at home on the 17th before attending the Redbank Valley Duals on the 21st to cap off December.