Rusnock begins first season
When he was named head wrestling coach in May, Kyle Rusnock knew he had some big shoes to fill.
He replaced longtime coach Mike Conner, who methodically built the program into a perennial power over the years. Rusnock also realized he would begin his first season with the graduation of 10 seniors who were mainstays in the Roughies' starting lineup the past few seasons.
Yet, the ever-optimistic and effervescent Rusnock - who had been an assistant the past 10 seasons and a former 112-pound state champion for the program - couldn't wait to put his fingerprints on the program.
"We were waiting to get the football players into the program," said Rusnock about those players who joined the team Monday. "We really haven't been able to put a lineup together yet. But the attitude and overall work ethic has been outstanding.
"We know we lost a lot of people and we will have a number of wrestlers on varsity for the first time. But looking around the room, we have a good feeling about everything."
Among those returning to the line up will be upper weights Satchel Stauffer and Ben Nosal along with middle weights Mike Shutta and Ryan Greene. Nosal, who is coming off a broken collarbone from football, and Shutta (concussion) may need a little time to get back into the lineup.
Antonio Coscaneda, Devin Greene, Alec Hartranft, Tyler Melendez, and Kyle Zimpfer have been impressive in the early going.
"Coscaneda and Hartranft have been working hard," said Rusnock. "Tyler Melendez has been doing some good things and we'll see where he will be. Zimpfer wrestled in midgets and he has been pretty quick on his feet.
"Satchel (Stouffer) had some time last year and he'll be a regular. Shutta had a concussion in football, but he'll be with us, and Nosal is recovering from the collarbone injury. Ryan Greene has time with us last year, and his brother Devin will help us."
Rusnock is pleased with his team's overall numbers, as he anticipates 25 to 30 grapplers in the program. He sees his squad maturing along the way in the midst of the Colonial League race this winter that will include favorites Saucon Valley, Northern Lehigh, Northwestern, and Pen Argyl. The Roughies open the season with their own dual tournament this Saturday.
"We'll have a better feel for this team as we move through the season," added Rusnock. "We'll go out and challenge everybody and we'll be ready. We have everyone on board."