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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 25, 2008

Blackbird brawlers assigned young coach, set four-win goal

By Jordan J. Michael

VOORHEESVILLE –– The Blackbird wrestling team is being led by new Head Coach Matt Robinson. He’s only a few years older than the athletes he coaches.

Robinson graduated from the State University of New York College at Cortland a mere year ago and finds himself in a very intense position.

“I was a little nervous at first, being so young,” said Robinson. “However, I have assisted the team in the past and I used to wrestle here. It can be very stressful at times because I don’t have any assistants.”

Robinson got voted in after former coach Brent Pierce resigned. “I can’t tell you much about how the team did last year because I was away at school,” Robinson said. “But we’re a young team on the way up.”

Junior Captain Talyor Treadgold had a first-place finish in Class C sectionals last year and is off to an 8-0 start this season. Senior Andrew Clark and junior Jimmy Sheedy are the other two captains with a combined record of 17-2 in matches this year.

“My captains really step up and help the team out and they’re serious about wrestling,” said Robinson. “They set a four-win goal at the beginning of the year. We’re halfway there.”

Voorheesville is 2-0 after beating Lansingburgh, 45 to 36, on Dec. 4 and a Thursday pinning of Mechanicville, 45 to 30. A match at Ravena and a tournament in Cohoes were canceled due to weather.

“The cancelations have been frustrating because everyone wants to get time in before sectionals,” Robinson said. “My guys get bummed out, but you have to deal with it and practice harder.”

The Blackbirds have had trouble filling weight classes in the past, which led to some tough seasons. “You can’t win matches with half a team and this program has seen that,” said Robinson. “We have 14 athletes and that’s the fullest roster we’ve had in a while.”

The lineup is filled by Mike Aleschus (96 pounds), Tim Stewart (103 pounds), Colton Parrott (112 pounds), Quinn Treadgold (125 pounds), Chris Ranc (130 pounds), Frank Kaus (145 pounds), Dylan Foster (145 pounds), Jerry Clark (152 pounds), Brian Katchman (171 pounds), Ryan Kraft (189 pounds), and Don Case (215 pounds).

Robinson told The Enterprise  that Aleschus and Stewart are two new freshmen additions who have been a pleasant surprise. “Most first-year wrestlers struggle out of the gate,” he said. “They have been impressive.”

Simple minded

Voorheesville did well in both the Berne-Knox-Westerlo and Glens Falls tournaments this season, placing second and third respectively. Clark, Sheedy, and Taylor Treadgold were crowned champions of their classes in Glens Falls.

“It’s important to do well in tournaments, even though it doesn’t count towards the team’s overall record,” said Robinson. “It’s a good way to see where you rank in the section overall.”

The Enterprise asked Robinson if he is under pressure because he’s such a young coach. Robinson didn’t seem to have any concerns.

“No one has said anything to my face and everybody seems to be on board,” Robinson said. “I’m a former wrestler and student, so the trust is there. No one has questioned my ability.”

“I’m trying to figure out my coaching style and we run through the same things every day,” said Robinson. “A wrestler needs one take, one escape, and one pinning combination. We keep it simple like that. Pick one thing and work on it multiple times.”

Ravena, Watervliet, and Duanesburg are the top Colonial Council foes for the Blackbirds this year. “Ravena is always tough and Watervliet is cleaning house,” Robinson said. “Duanesburg has the best coach in the area.”

The team travels to Shaker for a tournament on Jan. 3 and visits Waterviliet on Jan. 14. Voorheesville is hoping to come out on top with its simple but hard approach.

“I’ve had a lot of people congratulate me on the team’s performance thus far,” said Robinson. “That’s all great, but we still only have two wins.”

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