The Armstrong River Hawks wrestling team had a successful weekend as they secured a win at the Montour Duals.
Coach Brandon Newill said he was proud of the team.
“They had to wrestle five dual meets that day, which is pretty grueling for your average high school kid. Winning was a pretty lofty goal, but they ended up taking on a team in the finals that was favored going in, and pulled out a win, 45-24.”
Coach Newill said they have 14 wrestlers on the starting lineup.
“I think a lot of it has to contribute to the hard work they put in all season. Wrestling is kinda like weddings and funerals. You have ups and downs. You are really high with the win but down when you lose. It’s really difficult to go through that whole day of five matches as a team because that means every kid is wrestling five matches. Every individual effort is really important. They wrestle really hard. I think their conditioning was a factor.”
The River Hawks have a young team this year.
“They gained some confidence which is great because we have a number of freshmen on the team. It’s perfect. We are peaking at the right time. In another couple of weeks, we will be going into the individual part of this sport. So to get confidence like that now is really important.”
Newill said wrestling is a good fit for many students.
“I always refer to wrestling as the working man’s sport. You don’t have to be really super athletically gifted to be good at it. If you work hard, you can work yourself into being a really good wrestler. I think that really appeals to a lot of kids. They may be too short for basketball, or not fast enough. So wrestling is a fit for them.”
The River Hawks are serious about training.
“We start wrestling in early November. Our first competition isn’t until early December. There are a number of kids that prepare outside of the season beginning in August.”
Newill said that depending on how well the students perform, they could finish wrestling as late as mid-March. Currently, the River Hawks have 11 wins and 4 losses this season.
“We ended up being second in our subsection to Kiski, which is ninth in the state, so that is honorable. We lost our playoff match in the region to Greensburg, who won their section. The losses we had were to really tough teams and those are our measuring points. We still have two Dual meets. They are not section competitions, but they are extra matches to get them ready for Individuals on February 24. So they still have to train for that. That’s really important to a lot of kids.”
The first Individual tournament will be the Section tournament with other schools in their geographical area such as Kiski and Plum. It will be held at Kiski Area High School. If they place in the top five, they will go to the WPIAL Regional tournament from 68 schools in triple-A. The top three winners go on to State competition in Hershey.