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Grapplers have young team

The Salisbury wrestling team is less than a week away from opening its season when it hosts Northern Lehigh on Tuesday night. The Falcons will have a new look when the 2020 season rolls around, and it begins at the top.

Head coach Eric Snyder rejoins the program for his second stint after three years away from the blue and white. There are also some graduates that must be replaced from last season, but Snyder is hoping to change the culture at Salisbury to something similar to his first stint with the team.

“Our goal is to simply get better every day.” Snyder said. “We have been preaching basics and believe in what we are doing in the room, and that will translate to success on the mat.”

The most notable wrestler who’s no longer on the roster is Jonah Niesenbaum, a state-qualifier last winter who is wrestling at Duke University. Niesenbaum also came in third place at regionals and at districts as a senior.

He’s the main piece of a team that went 2-15 last season. With a roster that can help Snyder come closer to filling out a line up, Snyder is hoping to earn a few more tallies in the win column.

“We are a very young team with seven of nine wrestlers being freshmen or sophomores,” Snyder said. “Even though we are young, we have guys who are very talented. We were able to get a few kids to come back out for the team who haven’t wrestled for a few years.”

The most notable returnee from last season is Devon Alder, who is expected to wrestle at 138 or 145 pounds. Alder went 13-12, earned the No. 8 seed at 145 pounds in the District 11 Class 2A tournament, and won a match in a competitive weight class during his postseason run.

Damian Ramos went 1-2 last winter and will be competing between 132 and 145 for Snyder. Nate Natal went 6-17 and will be suiting up between 138 and 152 pounds.

Rounding out the Falcons’ top returners include Ben Krauss and Asthon Thomas, who expect to be competing anywhere between 160 and 182 pounds.

“We are still evaluating being new to these kids, but they are talented,” Snyder said. “They just need to believe and buy into what we are doing in the room.”

A number of newcomers will slide into a starting role immediately. Freshman Braedon Alder is a two-time district junior high place-winner (at 4th and 8th place) who joins the Falcons and will be wrestling at 120-132 pounds. John Samy, also a freshman and a junior high place-winner, will wrestle around those same weight classes.

Freshman Toby Linn will compete at 145-152 pounds, while Kyle Killiri, who is coming off a successful football season, is a newcomer wrestling at 220 pounds.

Many of the same teams expect to compete atop the Colonial League, including Notre Dame (Green Pond), Saucon Valley and Wilson. Salisbury, meanwhile, is hoping to make some noise itself in the standings.

After that opener against Northern Lehigh, Salisbury will travel to Wilson next Thursday for a 7 p.m. start.

Senior Devon Alder returns to the mat for Salisbury after posting a winning record last season.PRESS FILE PHOTO