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PHS wrestlers look to maximize every moment

Last year, rookie Parkland wrestling coach Jon Trenge taught his team one lesson above all others: love the sport. The record, 7-8 overall and 5-4 in the EPC, was not as important as creating a culture of success based on fundamentals, desire and teamwork.

“Our team last year became like family more than any other team I have ever been part of,” Trenge said. “It was really rewarding. Our coaching staff is focused on keeping that tradition alive this year.”

Fast forward to 2020 and the Trojan wrestling program is still a family, but that doesn’t mean they are related. COVID-19 is, at this point, a formidable foe that is proving tough to pin. The virus requires adjustments, but never submission.

“This season our team will not compete in any individual tournaments, dual tournaments or junior varsity tournaments,” Trenge said. “Our coaches and athletes all wear masks all throughout every practice, even during live wrestling.”

The Parkland starting lineup is fluid. Gone are District 11 medalists Bryan Diaz and Lucas Kern. Trenge is hesitant to say just who will, or will not, earn starting nods.

“First, you can never count kids out,” said Trenge. “I also hate to send the message to any of my athletes that I don’t believe in them.”

One Trojan Trenge certainly believes in is freshman Blake Dergham, who will start things at 106 pounds. The young man is a technically sound wrestler, who is diligent, mentally tough and has a great attitude.

Juniors Carson Hain and Kaleb Contes are battling for the 113 job. Hain relies primarily on his solid technical skills and experience, while Contes is tough, strong, fast and is fast learner. Aaron Ciampittiello, a sophomore, is a talented wrestler who has success wrestling last year at 106 on his resume.

Sophomore Phoenix DelVecchio and junior Nate Kresge are deciding the 126 spot. DelVecchio has “improved a ton” since last season, according to Trenge. Kresge is talented and experienced. Freshman Even Sutton will handle duties at 132, with senior Keagan Kinney, a “skilled and experienced” wrestler at 138 and athletic Juan Moya holding the 145 position.

This winter will see the return of senior Luke Yatcilla to the 152-pound mats. Trenge likes his leadership skills and physical and mental toughness. Edwin Moya, a senior, will handle 160, while sophomore Adrian Gacek and freshman Trey Tremba are penciled in at 172. Gacek is transfer from New Jersey who earned 20 varsity wins as a freshman last year. Tremba had a superb 2019-2020 middle school season at 138.

Junior Alex Neely and senior Garrett Fitzgerald are both returning starters and will fight it out at 189. Trenge expects one to move up to 215. Another returning starter, junior Zayd Afif, is the 285 starter.

“My goal for this year is to keep the kids healthy and happy while providing a great experience, teaching life lessons and solid wrestling,” Trenge said. “I think to achieve this we will need to stick to the school’s safety guidelines in and out of school.”

All things considered, having any Parkland wrestling season is an accomplishment.

“As a coaching staff, we will work to come up with creative ways to engage the kids and keep them loving every practice,” said Trenge. “We will maximize our time each day, knowing that the opportunity could be taken away at any time.”

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Garrett Fitzgerald looks to return to Parkland's starting line up this winter. He will battle to get in the line up at 189 pounds.