The opening couple of weeks to the season have been tough on the scoreboard for the Salisbury wrestling team. The Falcons weren’t dealt any favors as they were paired against some of the top teams in the Colonial League.
First it was a meeting with Catasauqua for Salisbury’s home and season opener, but unfortunately it was the Rough Riders who came away with the 65-12 victory. Then, Salisbury hosted Saucon Valley a week later, with the Panthers rolling to an 81-0 victory.
Like a lot of Eastern Pennsylvania Conference teams, it had been a long time since Emmaus beat the four-time District 11 champ Parkland boys basketball team. The Hornets’ last win against Parkland came back on January 15 of 2013, before anyone on the current Emmaus team had yet reached high school.
But that changed last week when the two teams met up for the first time this winter season.
Salisbury doesn’t have the number of swimmers that some of the other area’s schools do. But there’s no question about the Falcon swimmers’ dedication and willingness to put the team before individual goals.
One case in point came in their season opener against Blue Mountain, a rescheduled meet that took place last Friday at KidsPeace Broadway. Salisbury may have lost both the boys (106-72) and girls (107-65) meets, but many of individual swimmers had solid starts to the winter season.
Salisbury knew it wanted to get out to a quick lead. Much like its 15-point lead against Bangor earlier in the week, the Lady Falcons understood just how important a fast start would be in Friday’s game against Palmerton.
Salisbury girls basketball head coach Joe Mladosich knew he would implement full-court pressure at times throughout the season. And after struggling offensively in the first quarter of the season-opener against Dieruff, Mladosich turned to a press in hopes of sparking the offense.
It didn’t take long to see how effective Salisbury can be when its pressure is turned up and dialed in.
Head coach Jason Weaver knew he would be able to find out a lot about his team in just the first week of the season. Salisbury boys basketball opened the winter season with road games against Blue Mountain and Bangor, teams that the Falcons lost to in the district semifinals and Colonial League championship game, respectively, a season ago.
While going 1-1 over that stretch, Weaver was pleased at how his squad has opened 2017 despite losing three starters from last year’s state tournament team.
Kyle Gonoude’s journey in 2016 wasn’t an easy one. The past couple of months didn’t come without some adversity.
Gonoude, a 2015 Salisbury graduate and one of the school’s top runners of all time, has been dealing with a hamstring injury since last winter. That injury resurfaced when DeSales’ cross country season opened this past fall.
From the wrestlers to the head coach, this year’s Salisbury wrestling team will feature an entirely new cast when it takes the mat this season.
A year ago, Alex Nicholas had one of the best seasons ever for a Salisbury wrestler as he bulldozed through the Colonial League and District 11 landscape at heavyweight. Nicholas, now wrestling at Penn State, went 33-3 last winter with a state medal, a Southeast Regional championship and a District 11 Class 2A title. He was one of just two wrestlers (along with Zach Adams) on last year’s team. Both have graduated.
Head coach Jason Weaver has been around long enough to know that defense will be the staple of a team’s ability to compete for championships. That remains true for this year’s Salisbury boys’ basketball team as Weaver enters his ninth season with the Falcons.
While Salisbury graduated its top two scorers from last year’s team that qualified for the state tournament, plenty of offensive firepower returns in 2017. The biggest question is if the Falcons will buy into Weaver’s request of amplifying their defense to a championship level.
The Salisbury swimming team might not have the most swimmers in the Colonial League, but it certainly does have some of the area’s best.
After successful seasons for a number of boys and girls last winter, much of that talent returns for 2017 looking to take even more steps forward. And it starts with 2015 two-time state gold medalist Mahlon Reihman.