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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, December 3, 2009
Dutchmen wrestling looks to make winning a habit
By Jordan J. Michael
GUILDERLAND The wrestling Dutchmen may have lost some big-name performers, but the attitude and work ethic of the team is still intact.
Last season, Guilderland was co-champions of the Suburban Council, finished second in Class A, and placed third overall at sectionals. It was the team’s best season since 1979.
“I feel like we still have the same type of chemistry going on from a year ago,” said Head Coach Korey Rogotzke at practice on Monday. “We don’t have a Matt Cubillos or a Devan Van Auken, but we have some solid guys that wrestled well before.”
The Dutch managed to succeed in 2008-09 without a full roster. Only 13 of its 15 weight classes were filled. This time, 103 pounds is the only weight class that remains vacant and it might be filled shortly.
“I hoping that someone can fill 103 by January,” Rogotzke said. “I don’t really believe in putting a kid on varsity just to fill a spot. They have to be ready.”
Guilderland is led by senior captains Ben Moon (140 pounds), Eugene Sellie (171 pounds), and Travis Wolanski (130 pounds). Sellie and Wolanski each have placed in sectionals more than once and Moon was fifth in Class A.
Also returning are seniors Kevin McCarthy (285 pounds), and Matt Miller (215 pounds), juniors Kevin Bates (119 pounds), and Christian Kernozek (152 pounds), and sophomore Zack Wacksman (112 pounds).
“The seniors put a lot of heart and soul into this team,” said Rogotzke. “But, nobody outshines anybody else. I have the best captains I could ask for. They lead by example and know what it takes to win.”
The Dutchmen are expected to win after having a taste of success. It’s a formula Rogotzke has been working on with coaches Don Favro and Kevin Mahan. “We knew that we had these kids coming up so we got them ready in advance,” Rogtozke said. “The confidence is high and they’re hungry.”
Rogotzke is starting to notice that five to eight people per class are leading by example and that makes for a solid wrestling team on both the varsity and junior-varsity levels. That way, the athletes on junior varsity will be ready once varsity calls on them.
“We’re cycling through all the athletes that are interested in wrestling and no one is falling through the cracks,” said Rogotzke. “We’ve built a great program and the wins are starting to show. We’re all in this together.”
Guilderland is able to maintain consistency because the youth, team, and alumni are all contributing to wrestling in some way. Again, it’s a cycle that leads to success.
“More younger kids should try wrestling because no other sport has better chemistry,” Rogotzke said. “This sport builds relationships in a special way. You learn to handle adversity.”
New to the Dutch are Dan Curry, Mike Garcelon, Nick Haluska, Ryan Harris, Mike Leinhart, Mike Morawski, and John Stuto who fills that once empty spot at 96 pounds.
The Suburban Council is now down to seven teams because four schools decided to become independent to build up their programs. Of the remaining teams, Rogotzke says, Ballston Spa, Shenendehowa, Colonie, and Averill Park are the toughest competition.
Guilderland travels to Colonie on Dec. 9 and it should be an interesting match-up. “Colonie isn’t too happy that we’ve beat them the last two years,” said Rogotzke. “It’s more reason for people to come watch.”
The Dutchmen will be able to match or exceed last season’s accomplishment if every wrestler stays focused and reaches potential, the coach said.
“I hope we can use the tough matches during the season to prepare for the more important post-season,” said Rogotzke. “If you can beat a guy early, then you can beat the same guy late. How you mentally prepare yourself will lead to greater things.”