Grapplers head to D-11 tourney
With only five wrestlers, sometimes less, taking the mat on a nightly basis, the Salisbury wrestling team was all but counted out on the team scoreboard this season. It resulted in a winless Colonial League record.
But head coach Eric Snyder always insisted that those Falcon grapplers are talented and capable on an individual basis. Now it’s the time for those individuals to showcase their talent.
The District 11 Class 2A tournament starts at Freedom High School on Friday and finishes with championship finals Saturday evening at Liberty High School.
“We are peaking at the right time, all of our guys,” Snyder said. “I don’t think anybody is going to want to wrestle us on Friday and Saturday. I think the way that we are wrestling right now, we are able to knock anybody off. It’ll be interesting to see when guys come to wrestle. It’s a shame that John Samy isn’t able to compete. If he were able to compete, that is another guy that might have our best shot to get out of districts.”
Samy has been out since the Southern Lehigh match and has missed the last two tournaments due to injury. But the rest of the Falcons are itching to get their chance on the big stage.
Senior Devon Alder might have the best chance of any Falcon to place in the top four of his weight class and advance to regionals. He’s expected to wrestle at 138 pounds this weekend.
“If nothing changes with where other schools are putting their kids at, I still think Devon Alder at 138 has the best chance of getting out of districts to regionals,” Snyder said.
But Snyder thinks a number of others also have chances at earning medals, and maybe advancing to regionals. He has high hopes for Toby Linn, who will likely wrestle at 152 pounds where he wrestled for much of the regular season.
Braedon Alder could make noise at 126 pounds, and Ben Krauss has been impressive all season long at 170.
“I think we have a legitimate shot of having all four of those guys at least getting a medal in the top six,” Snyder said. “Only the top four will qualify for regionals. If we’re able to get three or four guys wrestling for at least fifth place at Liberty on Saturday night, that would be big. I would consider that a success.”
Kyle Killiri, who has only been wrestling a few months, also has a chance to win a few matches against some of the top Class 2A competition.
“I fully anticipate him to be wrestling on Saturday, too,” Snyder said. “That’s just how far he’s come, and how much better he’s gotten. I expect all five guys to be wrestling on Saturday.
“If our guys just come and wrestle well and wrestle the way they’ve been wrestling the last few weeks, and they get beat and we don’t get any medals at Liberty, we’ll still be happy,” Snyder said. “It’s all about how the kids wrestle. We have a shot. We’re just going to have to beat some guys that are seeded higher than us.”
The Falcons are coming off a tournament showing in which they picked up their first win of the season. They were also competitive in a number of their other matches, which only will help their confidence heading into the postseason.
“The first two dual meets that we wrestled, we lost 36-30 because we just didn’t have anybody else to wrestle,” Snyder said. “Two teams beat us 36-30, and they didn’t win a match in the contested bouts we wrestled. We’re definitely wrestling well.”