By Alicia Dziak
It’s that time of year again, when SGI’s winter sports are getting started. Whether you prefer contact, non-contact, individual or team sports, this season offers something for every kind of sports fan. One of the sports offered during the cold months is wrestling. Led by head coach Mark Vogel, and supported by a dedicated coaching staff, the team is getting ready for their first scrimmage at Catt-Little Valley this Friday, Nov. 24.
“We have 18 student athletes on the roster and a good mix of freshmen through seniors,” said Vogel. “Only two of our athletes are new to the sport, so we’ve been able to really elevate our practices and build on the basics. Coach Evans has spent a ton of time this offseason with some of the best wrestlers Western New York has produced and has helped implement some aspects of that into our practices.”
Vogel noted that a majority of the athletes fall within the 99 lb – 152 lb weight class range. “That presents a problem when it comes to filling out all of the weight classes, but it has helped us in the wrestling room with pushing each other and working with different drilling partners,” he said. “Having multiple athletes around the same weight allows the wrestlers to see different styles and skill sets when practicing and ‘live wrestling.’”
While Vogel said the team lost a few athletes who he was hoping to work with this season due to outside factors, he’s still very optimistic. “The team is returning several varsity wrestlers, many of whom won or placed in several tournaments last year. Seniors Benn Smith, Jake Bystryk, and Nate Cottom will look to make the most of their last year. Jared Hecht, Shilo Rogers, and Aaron Keyser all had double digit wins in varsity matches last year and will work to take a step forward. Freshman Mikey Evans is coming off of a Section VI championship and 2-2 record at the NYS championships. He’s been wrestling all off-season and will continue to push himself to that next level.”
Several wrestlers participate in Lake Erie Wrestling Club during the off-season and compete in different competitions. A few of the wrestlers implemented weight lifting programs into their off-season workouts.
The success of the Varsity wrestling team can also be linked to the success at the lower levels.
“Coach Feltz has been an integral part of this program for numerous years and heads the modified program at the middle school,” explained Vogel. “Coach Travis McKinsey has been in control of the Springville youth wrestling club for the past few years and does an excellent job of teaching the sport to our younger population and instilling the basic skill sets necessary for success.”
Any students (aged 5-17) or parents who are interested in learning more about the youth club can contact Coach Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or Coach McKinsey at (716) 432-8438.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how our athletes perform when our first match takes place Nov. 29 at Tonawanda high school,” Vogel said. “We have a great group of athletes who have been pushing themselves day in and day out.”
Visit www.springvillegi.org for schedule details.