Wrestling team season continues upward trend

Wrestling team season continues upward trend

Shaler Area’s wrestling team wrapped up another season showing notable progress and laying the groundwork for future success. With an even 8-8 record, the team’s performance signals a promising trajectory for the boys’ wrestling program.

The team is still recovering from a large drop of wrestlers seen after COVID. Over the past few years, the team struggled to even get close to 10 players. Thanks to the hard work of the head coach and the wrestlers who stuck around, the numbers have almost quadrupled from the measly five that they started with in 2020.

“Going from five wrestlers my freshman year to more than quadruple that for my senior year is a crazy turnaround,” senior Michael Ulery reflected.

Coach Drew D’Agostino looks back on the team’s journey, acknowledging the hurdles they’ve overcome. 

“The biggest struggles this year were with consistency and experience. Having a young team, there are going to be a lot of adjustments to a varsity sport,” D’Agostino said 

Despite these challenges, the team rallied with notable achievements such as having five athletes qualify for the WPIAL individual tournament, including three freshmen.

From an outside perspective, wrestling can seem like purely an individual sport, but the entire team works on goals together to create a strong team environment and to boost each other up. 

The team as a whole reached most of the goals that we had set out in the beginning of the season.

— Coach Drew D'Agostino

“The team as a whole reached most of the goals that we had set out in the beginning of the season. We wanted to have at least a .500 season, wanted to have someone in the section finals, and we wanted athletes to stand on the podium at WPIALs. These were all goals that were achieved,” D’Agostino said.

This success and growth was on display at senior night against Obama Academy where the Titans prevailed, 48-21.

“Our very last one–senior night against Obama Academy–had one of the best final matches of the entire season. It was a heavyweight match that was so neck and neck that everyone was jumping out of their seats when we finally got the pin and won the meet,” Ulery said.

Along with the successes of this year’s team, the future of the wrestling team also looks promising. The Shaler Area wrestling program as a whole has worked incredibly hard to lay down a footing for the youth wrestling program. Much like the high school team, the youth programs have seen a large spike of wrestlers in recent years.

“The youth programs definitely lay down a groundwork for the high school wrestling team. The experience that comes with starting in elementary school gives wrestlers the ability to excel in high school,” former youth wrestling program president Daniel Emmons said.

D’Agostino agreed.

“The future looks bright for Shaler wrestling; we have a great feeder program in the Elementary and Middle School and we are starting to get athletes that have vast experience in wrestling. We will still have a young team next year and we will have an infusion of new talent coming in. We are starting to turn the corner after only having five athletes on the team three years ago.”

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