Wrestlers hope to resuscitate program
With only two wrestlers taking the mat on a nightly basis, the Salisbury wrestling team probably won’t see any team wins this winter.
But the focus around head coach Juan Garcia and the Falcon program remains on rebuilding this unit to a level at which it previously competed not many years ago. And Salisbury looks to be on the right path to that future success.
“We are working on changing the culture of the Salisbury wrestling community,” Garcia said. “We were once one of the top teams and there is no reason we can’t get back to that point. Jonah [Niesenbaum] and Devon [Alder] are helping to lead the charge.
“Having only two wrestlers, we are looking to make a statement everywhere we go—2-0 is the way to go. In two years we will see our numbers increase. Not only increase in numbers, but quality wrestlers are coming up the pipeline. As a coaching staff we’d rather have five wrestlers who are willing to put in the work to improve, than 20 kids who just want to come and play games.”
Garcia already has two quality, hard-working wrestlers in the room right now. Niesenbaum and Alder are the centerpieces for what Garcia is trying to instill in his future grapplers.
The two have produced well thus far individually this season. Niesenbaum placed second at Jim Thorpe’s Christmas tournament and has excelled early this season. What makes it even more impressive is the fact he’s only been wrestling for two years.
Niesenbaum also pinned Northern Lehigh’s Brian Chase in just 25 seconds in the Falcons’ last Colonial League match. Alder came up short against Seth Fronheiser via a 13-1 major decision in the match against Northern Lehigh.
“Jonah is the upperclassmen on the team and is a great leader,” Garcia said. “He has been working nonstop since last season to improve himself. As a coaching staff, we are hoping that type of work ethic is contagious. We have already seen the middle school wrestlers following his lead.
“He is not your average second-year wrestler. He just placed second at the Jim Thorpe Christmas tournament. His only loss came to a kid ranked third in the region. And Devon placed seventh.”
Alder has been improving since the first match as well, and Garcia has taken notice of his resiliency.
“Devon plays football and focused his offseason time with football,” Garcia said. “We are hoping his improvement on and off the field will entice other football players to come out for the wrestling team.”
Salisbury hosts Pen Argyl on Thursday evening for a 6:45 p.m. start time.