Eagle matmen look to improve on last season

By on December 21, 2011

By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor truth.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

Matt Fittery, one of the most decorated wrestlers in Cocalico history, returns for his second year as head coach still looking to get the program over the hump.

A year ago, the Eagles were hurt by a lack of numbers. And while some individuals performed well, the team had a hard time competing when it came to the dual meet season as they routinely forfeited several weight classes on a nightly basis.

This year, things should be a little better but numbers still are an issue. If they can avoid the injury bug while finding a way to blend their mix of key veterans with seven newcomers who have joined the program, they can be successful according to Fittery.

"Hopefully we can get at least 11 into the lineup on a daily basis," Fittery said Monday. "At first I had some really high expectations. I always set my goals high, but I was a little disappointed that our numbers weren’t as high. But after seeing the guys here working, they are all improving and are all doing a great job and are working hard. I’m pretty excited to see what we can do. I think if everybody in our lineup that’s here continues to improve and work hard, and if we can overcome some injuries and get guys at the right weights, I think we can do pretty well.

"The guys we have are doing a great job. They are really improving and are working hard. And I’m happy with the attitude of the room for the most part."

Cocalico did drop its first dual meet of the season last week in a Section Two match vs. CV. In that match, the good news was Cocalico won six of the nine bouts contested. The bad news was the Eagles forfeited at five weight classes which keyed the Buckskins’ 45-28 victory.

"Dual meets are kind of tough because of the numbers," Fittery said. "Obviously right now we are trying to win matches, and I know we have the potential to do that even with the forfeits that we do have. But we have to stay positive and look at the number of matches we win out of the matches we have. That always helps to keep the guys positive because of the numbers, but it is tough."

Individually, the lineup is anchored by a pair of senior veterans in Teddy Wolf and Kam Mueller, both District qualifiers from a year ago. Wolf (152 pounds) had his breakout season in 2010-11 going 33-6, and was a runner-up at sectionals. Mueller (170) also was a second-place finisher at sectionals, finishing with a 31-12 record.

Fittery said he hopes some of their experience rubs off on the rest of his squad.

"It’s good to have senior leadership, guys who have advanced in the post season," he said. "It’s just great to have that experience and now they can hopefully help out the underclassmen.

While there are a few juniors sprinkled in with the senior group headed by Wolf and Mueller, the predominant class is the sophomores with a total of nine on the roster of 18.

"We have quite a few young guys coming in and they have really good attitudes. They are very coachable. That group of kids is just improving every day at practice. I’m real excited to see where they can be by the end of the year. There is a lot of talent in there, and the improvement they are making is really pretty good."

While winning a section title probably is a stretch this year due in most part to the lack of numbers, Fittery said his team can find some success both individually and as a team.

"My goal as a coach is to help each of the individuals accomplish their goals," Fittery said. ‘My guys that have goals to go to States or place at States, I want them to place at States. That would be success for them. And then these younger guys if their goal is to have a .500 record, if they do that then that is success for them. I just try to help as many guys reach their individual goals as we can and then the team stuff takes care of itself after that. We got to look at the individual part first, and then the team kind of falls into place." More EAGLE MATMEN, page B-4

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