Grapplers battle through injury-plagued season
The Colonial League schedule is in the books for the Salisbury wrestling team.
And while the Falcons went winless in eight league matches, culminatingd with last week's 71-12 loss to Wilson, Salisbury still has a number of matches left on its schedule before the mats get rolled up for good.
"I thought it was going to be a lot more competitive, somewhere in the 40-something or 30-something kind of score, which I would've really been happy with," head coach Eric Snyder said of the Wilson match. "We just did not wrestle well. We made a lot of mistakes that we shouldn't have made."
The Falcons host Allen on Wednesday before holding their annual Falcon Invitational Tournament on Saturday morning. Salisbury then closes its schedule at Jim Thorpe for a dual meet on February 12.
It's been a tough ride for the Falcons in 2014-15. And it started with a few unfortunate injuries to a number of key seniors before the season. Teddy Denver, Matt Heiserman, Chris Trenge and Wes Maron all started for the Falcons a year ago, but were forced to miss their senior season.
"It's been a disappointing season in the sense that we lost all of those guys right before the year," Snyder said. "We think without a doubt, if we would've had all of our guys that we lost this year, that we would've at least been wrestling in the district duals on Thursday."
Heiserman started each of his previous three seasons and came up just a match short from placing at last year's district singles tournament. Maron also would've been entering his fourth year as a starter.
Those departures left a team with just one senior (Nico Scarcia) and much inexperience across the lineup. A number of freshmen and sophomores saw plenty of varsity mat time this season, but wins weren't as easy to come by.
Snyder understood there would be a bit of a learning curve along the way.
"One thing with these guys that I have right now," he said, "especially the ones that haven't wrestled for awhile, I think they thought that they were going to come back in and win a lot of matches. That's just not the nature of the sport.
"It's going to take awhile. I know it's disappointing for those guys. I know they wanted to win more matches."
While this season hasn't produced a win for the Falcons yet, there have been plenty of individual successes.
Junior Zach Adams has been the team's most consistent wrestler, compiling a 12-5 record through the winter. He went 1-2 in last season's District 11 Class AA tournament. Snyder expects him to take another step forward this year.
"He's got to believe that he's good enough to compete and wrestle with the guys in the district," Snyder said. "I think he is doing that right now."
Junior Alex Nicholas (12-6) and sophomore Shane Simononis (11-8) have also been steady contributors on the mat as well.
In terms of the most improved wrestler from a year ago, it is junior Antonio Alvarado. He has impressed the Falcons' coaching staff over his career thus far and continues to make steady stories in his level of play.
"He enjoys the sport," Snyder said. "We've seen almost a complete transformation in what we saw last year, to what we're seeing now this year."
Salisbury's tournament will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, with nine other squads competing against one another.