Two Falcons compete at regionals
While there have been a number of Salisbury wrestlers to have reached regionals in the past, head coach Eric Snyder estimated that it's been roughly a decade since two Falcons achieved that feat in the same year.
That all changed this season when Alex Nicholas and Nico Scarcia qualified for the PIAA Southeast Regional Championships after finishing in the top five at districts.
Nicholas, wrestling at 285 pounds, won two matches on the second day after starting off the tournament with a loss. Scarcia (145 pounds) also won a match on the second day of the tournament at Wilson West Lawn High School.
"It was definitely a positive way to end the season getting these two guys out, especially the way we struggled as a team during the season," Snyder said. "Alex had been wrestling real well and felt comfortable wrestling with the big guys, and Nico just tore it up at the end of the season."
Nicholas wasn't dealt any favors in his first round match against Wyomissing's Robert Dunbar, who went on to win the heavyweight class. But Nicholas' confidence was never threatened.
Despite a 4-3 loss to Dunbar by way of decision, Nicholas showed he's capable of competing at 285 pounds. He then pinned Pine Grove's Scott Werner and Bishop McDevitt's Brandon Coco in less than a minute in back-to-back matches before bowing out to Anthony Greggo of Pius X, who finished in third place.
"Alex wrestled extremely well at the end of the season," Snyder said. "He wrestled some tough competition at the end, which boosted his confidence and made him more comfortable with wrestling at 285 when he wrestled 220 all year.
Nicholas was a win away from playing for fifth place.
"He was one match away from qualifying for the state tournament as a third-year wrestler," said Snyder. "If you wrestle the regional tournament five times, you would probably have five different champions. Alex was right there with the best in the region.
"One of the positive things with Alex is he is only going to get better being that it is his third year wrestling. He is into the sport and wants to wrestle constantly and get better."
Biglerville's Nate Newberry, the eventual champion at 145 pounds, was responsible for Scarcia's defeat to open the tournament.
But after falling by pin to Newberry in 3:30, Scarcia responded with a pin of his own against Bishop McDevitt's Chris Jorgji in the first period. Delone Catholic's Brian Shermeyer then earned a tech fall (16-0) over Scarcia in the following match.
"I just think Nico peaked at the right time of the year," Snyder said. "Beating two kids at districts who had beat him pretty good during the year gave him the confidence that he can wrestle with anyone. He went out at regionals and wrestled hard, got a win, and was still wrestling on day two."
What Snyder wants for all of his wrestlers is to be competing at their best at the end of the season. Scarcia has been the perfect example of that. His run in the district tournament showed his progression over the course of the season, which resulted in an appearance in regionals.
"He was very inconsistent during the season, but peaked at the right time and beat kids at districts that had beat him during the season," Snyder said.