The End Zone Seat: Time to Head Indoors
After a long wait, the winter sports seasons open this weekend with all three Wyalusing Valley squads in tournaments.
It was tempting to say the teams were hitting full stride, but with the exception of the wrestling team, that’s not really the case.
The girls’ basketball team plays three times in the first five days of the season and then waits eight days before its next game on Dec. 21. The Lady Rams will then be idle until after New Year’s Day.
It’s nearly a similar scenario for the boys’ basketball team, although the Rams will play in the Waverly Tournament during Christmas week.
Action begins for the Lady Rams at the Cowanesque Valley Tournament with Port Allegany, starting at approximately 6:45 p.m. on Friday. The host Lady Indians will meet Northern Potter in the first game of the tournament earlier in the evening.
The following day, the Wyalusing junior varsity will play Cowanesque Valley at 1:30 p.m. The girls’ consolation game is slated for 3:30 p.m. with the championship tilt set for 6:45 p.m.
Wyalusing returns to action on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at Laporte against Sullivan County.
Northern Tier League East play begins for the Lady Rams on Dec. 21, when they host Towanda. This game was originally slated to be at Towanda, but a scheduling conflict for the home game in February forced the two teams to switch home dates.
The Wyalusing boys’ team begins the season with a game against Sullivan County in the first round of the Towanda Tournament on Dec. 9, starting at 6 p.m. Towanda will play Mansfield in the other game.
The consolation and championship games are slated for Saturday, Dec. 10, beginning at 6 p.m.
A concurrent junior varsity tournament will be held in the Towanda High School’s old gymnasium with the starting times reversed, meaning Wyalusing will play Sullivan County in the second game.
The Rams then wait 10 days before they host Towanda on Dec. 20 in their NTL East opener.
Wyalusing will play Tioga in the opener of the Waverly Tournament at 8 p.m. on Dec. 28.
Depending on whether they win or lose, the Rams will either play in the consolation final on Dec. 29 or the championship final on Dec. 30.
Edison is the fourth team in the tournament.
Neither Lady Ram coach Jon Schulze nor boys’ coach Mark Fogel were happy with the December scheduling, especially when two weeks in late January will be filled with games against NTL West teams forced by the summer’s last-minute shakeup.
“It is somewhat disappointing to have to open the league with Towanda on the strength of three games,” Schulze said.
On the mats, Gary Haley’s wrestling squad opens the season hoping to defend their own Ram Duals championships against what should be a fairly competitive field.
Besides the Rams, the field for the 9 a.m. start on Saturday, Dec. 10, includes Elk Lake, Dallas, Wallenpaupack, Tunkhannock, Sayre, Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech, Selinsgrove and Juniata. Blue Ridge was added as a last-minute replacement for Montrose, which pulled out after only two wrestlers reported for pre-season action.
The Rams jump right into the NTL chase with a home match against Sayre on Dec. 13.
On Dec. 16-17, Wyalusing travels to Carlisle for a big individual tournament.
The final week before Christmas includes a road trip to Milton on Dec. 20 and a home match with Athens on Dec. 22.
As usual, Wyalusing will compete in the Tunkhannock Kiwanis Tournament on Dec. 29-30.
At least the busy month will give fans time to figure out the new weight classes. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association adopted the following weights recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations: 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285 pounds.
There were two other rules changes of note for wrestling fans.
The move known as a figure four has been outlawed.
Also, out of bounds is now outside the boundary line on the mat. Before, the line was considered as out of bounds.