WVHS Wrestling: Veteran Squad Poised to Contend
If Wyalusing Valley’s wrestling team isn't a major contender for the Northern Tier League Large School title, it won’t be for lack of experience.
The Rams return 10 lettermen from last year’s squad that posted a 17-4 dual-meet record.
Returning are seniors Joey Champluvier, Anthony Clark, Clayton Force, Dan Frankenfield, Ryan Hart, Tim Kuntz and Tyler Thompson; juniors Tyler Fenton and Brandon Kelley and sophomore Austin Shaffer.
This year’s squad will also have an interesting mix of promising youngsters who may have a steep learning curve.
“We have seven seniors and 10 lettermen back,” said Ram coach Gary Haley. “We’re hoping to put everything together and win some championships.”
Hart and Champluvier are returning North Section champions, while Kelley, Clark, Force, Kuntz and Frankenfield were all District Four qualifiers last season.
Champluvier needs 25 victories this season to reach the Rams’ 100-win club.
While veterans will anchor most of the new weight classes this season, freshmen or sophomores with limited or no varsity experience will man at least four weights.
“We have a mix of experience and youth,” Haley said.
“The seniors are going to have to carry us early on while the young kids gain experience and become competitive.”
Final eliminations ahead of the Rams’ opener—their own Ram Duals on Saturday, Dec. 10—were expected to begin last night (Dec. 7) and conclude tonight (Dec. 8). Also, the coaching staff hadn’t yet made final decisions as to whether a couple of freshmen will be moved to the junior high squad.
In an interview earlier this week, Haley had his lineup fairly set.
Shaffer will wrestle at 106 pounds, while freshman Colston Gowin is penciled in at 113.
Kelley, a two-year letterman, is expected to start at 120 pounds.
At 126 pounds, freshmen Justin Haley, Ryan Force and Nevin Nolte are in contention for the spot.
Hart is set to wrestle at 132, while Thompson will start at 138. Freshman Joe Roberts could stay up as backup for Thompson.
Kuntz and Champluvier will wrestle at 145 and 152 pounds, respectively.
Fenton, who closed out last season with a strong showing once he cracked the lineup, returns to wrestle at 160 pounds. Junior Dasson Barna and freshman Joshua Shoemaker are also at that weight.
Frankenfield and Clark are expected to wrestle at 170 and 182, respectively.
At 195—a new weight this season—there is stiff competition between sophomores Justin Griffith and Dalton Manning and freshman Warner Mendoza.
Freshman Dylan Otis will wrestle at 220 pounds.
Force and freshman Mike Armitage are the team’s 285 pounders.
As usual, Haley sees Towanda as a top contender in the Northern Tier League’s Large School division. Troy should also be in the mix. Small School powers Canton and Williamson could be a handful, according to Haley.
Seniors: Joey Champluvier, Anthony Clark, Clayton Force, Dan Frankenfield, Ryan Hart, Tim Kuntz, Tyler Thompson.
Juniors: Dasson Barna, Tyler Fenton, Brandon Kelley.
Sophomores: Justin Griffith, Dalton Manning, Austin Shaffer.
Freshmen: Mike Armitage, Colston Gowin, Justin Haley, Ryan Force, Warner Mendoza, Nevin Nolte, Dylan Otis, Joe Roberts, Joshua Shoemaker.