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Samy’s goal: district gold

“This is the year. This is the year I am going to win it,” Salisbury senior John Samy said of chasing his dream of district gold.

In each of the past two seasons, Samy has placed second in districts, falling to Notre Dame’s Brandan Chletsos both years. In fact, Chletsos, who is now wrestling for Rutgers University, won three straight district championships, the first at 120 pounds and the next two at 132.

While Chletsos is gone, Samy is not taking anything for granted because there are always wrestlers who can come out of nowhere. Instead, he has continued to train as much as ever and goes into every match looking at it as a necessary step along the way.

“I know that there’s a lot of competition out there and that guys will be coming for me,” said Samy. “I have kept up with my work and am ready to go out there and show what I can do. It’s not a given that I will get the gold, so I’m just keeping up my end and doing all that I can to win.”

Samy and other Salisbury wrestlers are encouraged by reinforcements that arrived via a co-op agreement with Allentown Central Catholic. The Vikings ended their wrestling program and linked up with Salisbury to give both programs a boost from dwindling numbers.

Rather than having to forfeit several matches, Salisbury is now competitive. The Central Catholic wrestlers also can continue their high school wrestling career and are able to be a part of a full roster.

“This is great,” said Samy, who likes the energy of a full roster. “It used to be that we would be training, and you would practically have the room to yourself. Now, we have a full wrestling room and guys have people to train against. I thought it was just going to be a couple guys coming over, but we got a lot of new guys and there is a new energy, and we get to see different styles and different ways of going about things.”

Samy recently went up against John Haubert of Palisades in what could be a preview of district finals. Haubert placed third in District 11 last season as a freshman and will be one of the wrestlers looking to take out Samy this winter. In his first attempt, Samy was victorious with an 8-4 win, sending a message that he is not taking things lightly.

After nearly making the trip to states in his sophomore season, COVID threw a wrench into things for Samy. Because of the pandemic, there was a super-regional round, which amounted to the first two rounds of states, and was put in place to limit the number of wrestlers moving on to Hershey. Unfortunately, Samy was unable to make it out of the super-regional round in 2021. Last season, he missed going to Hershey after falling in the regionals.

“That was disappointing, but it has also given me more determination,” he said. “I don’t want to just miss again, so I am going to go all out in every match.”

Samy has started his senior season 3-0 in dual meets.

As a team, Salisbury is 2-1 overall and 1-1 in Colonial League wrestling, having lost their first dual meet to Palisades (3-0 overall, 3-0 Colonial League) recently. After opening with their first Colonial League win since 2014, the Falcons downed Executive Education Academy (1-1) by a 57-12 score. Before the holiday break, Salisbury has dual meets against Catasauqua (3-0, 3-0) and Panther Valley (3-4-1). During the break, the Falcons will compete in the Conestoga Valley Tournament.

PRESS FILE PHOTO Salisbury's John Samy is looking to take the next step after finishing second at districts the past two seasons.