If clothes make the man in business, then mat rooms make the athlete in wrestling.
With the improvements made at Chartiers Valley, this season’s the Colts should reap rewards.
During recent high school renovations, the Colts’ facilities have been revamped. There are new mats, lighting and equipment.
“Our district has given us the capabilities to train in the best possible environment,” said Billy Evans. Though construction is still wrapping up, Evans added these upgrades “have made it possible for all of us as coaches to create a more functional and productive environment for our wrestlers.”
Evans expects results because the Colts return 14 starters, including four 20-match winners: Ashton Sadowski (23-16), Cody Trout (21-7), Murat Zaynullaev (21-17) and Josh Sarasnick, as well as two talented newcomers in freshmen Brady Jolling and Dylan Evans.
While Sadowski and Sarasnick spent the summer wrestling Freestyle and Greco-Roman, qualifying for the national championships as members of the Pennsylvania team, the other veterans, which include Quentin Keys, Christopher Beatty, Hunter Drain, RJ Slizik, Shabur Karimov, Logan Eger, Donovan O’Malley, Ismail Shokirov, Chase Bruggeman and Nader Al-Humoudi, have competed in the off-season and at local clubs.
“Our biggest strength is how much these guys love to compete,” Evans said. “This is going to be a fun team. They really enjoy wrestling.”
The Colts also enjoy education. Six of them maintain GPAs that exceed 4.0 and over half of the team is at 3.5 or above.
“This group might have the highest overall GPA that I have ever coached,” Evans said.
The club is also balanced regarding classes.
“Our talent is spread out nicely throughout the line-up,” Evans said. “We have a nice mixture of starters in each grade level, which will add to the longevity of the team over the next few years.”
Jolling and Evans not only will be around for four years the pair could reach or exceed standards set by CV’s departed graduates: Zachary Macy and Jake Kelly.
Macy is wrestling at Seton Hill. Macy won 30 matches last season and finished with a 112-39 career record. He was a section champion and four-time finalist and PIAA qualifier.
“Filling the void from Zachary’s graduation is extremely critical,” Evans said. “Along with his production during competition, he brought a lot of intangibles to the team that cannot be quantified. Leadership, work ethic, attitude, and intensity are the voids that will also need to be filled by the returning members of our team.”
Kelly is wrestling at Penn State-Behrend.
“Jake brought a positive attitude and demeanor to the team that is almost impossible to replicate.” Evans said. “He came into the practice room with a smile on his face, and a willingness to work and improve. We are always looking for that in an athlete. He was a student of the sport.”
Evans is certainly educated in the sport. He is a two-time Pennsylvania Junior High state medalist. This summer, he was the Greco-Roman national runner-up and Freestyle national champion in the 14U age group.
Rolling is a “tough” competitor. He also brings a solid Mixed Martial Arts background to his wrestling.
“Our freshmen will make an immediate impact on our roster this season,” Evans said. “They will be fun to watch compete.”
The Colts have little time to grow-up on the mats, especially at the few weights in which their wrestlers will be a “little green” to varsity competition as they face some stiff section competition early. CV battles Trinity on Dec. 18 and Waynesburg on Jan. 6.
“Those are two critical section matches that we have to be peaked and prepared for as a unit,” said Evans, who also expects Canon-McMillan to provide strong competition.
Although he considers Waynesburg and the Big Macs as the primary contenders in Section 4, which is divided into two sub divisions, Evans expects his wrestlers to battle for championships.
“The goals and objectives are always the same–to be the best wrestlers that we can possibly be,” he said.
“From a team standpoint,” he continued, “to compete well and to work towards winning section, WPIAL, and PIAA titles. A reasonable goal will be to qualify for the playoffs and be in a position to wrestle through the tournaments towards a PIAA berth.
“Individually, we have some wrestlers that are capable of qualifying for the PIAA championships. We need to develop those wrestlers towards that goal.”