Mike Shutta ready for challenge
Catasauqua's Mike Shutta realizes he will have a challenge in the 152-weight class this coming weekend in the PIAA District 11 Class 2A championships.
The senior will be locking arms with some of the better grapplers in the area.
In fact, Shutta has already tangled with some of the wrestlers he expects to see at districts, and has improved his assurance because of it.
"When I lost to (Northern Lehigh's) CJ Evans, it proved to be a confidence booster for me," said Shutta, who will enter districts with an overall 12-13 record. "I'm looking forward to districts and I'll stay at my weight for it (152).
"I know it will be a tough class."
Due to a concussion suffered during football season, Shutta got a late start to the season. One of two seniors on the squad (Satchel Stauffer the other), Shutta has been impressed with the new direction of the team under first-year head coach Kyle Rusnock.
"We really have a lot of young guys in the room," said Shutta. "We have two seniors and one junior, so this is a different team from last year. No one expected us to be that good and we ended up with a 4-4 record in the (Colonial) league. That was a good year for us.
"I think (Kyle) Rusnock brought a different attitude and work ethic. We have a good chemistry under him, and we should have a good representation at districts."
Rusnock has appreciated Shutta's contributions.
"We knew Mikey (Shutta) would be a leader for us," said Rusnock. "He had to deal with the concussion from football and bounced back for us. He has wrestled the best kids all year and is in a super-tough weight class.
"But he has the determination to get the job done."
Shutta lost his opening-round match at districts and then had a quick exit when he lost his inaugural wrestle-back bout. This season his sights are much higher.
"My goal is to get to regionals this year," said Shutta. "It just hit me that these are the last wrestling matches that I will have. I know I have to really focus on these matches."
Next year, Shutta plans to attend either Lehigh Community College or Northampton Community College to play baseball. He will be at either college for a year before transferring to Temple University.
Aside from wrestling, Shutta is optimistic baseball can be a redeeming outlet after a struggling football season.
"Baseball always seemed to us as something to do during the spring," he said. "But we have a bunch of guys coming back and we're excited. Everyone thought we wouldn't win any games in football and we did win a few.
"It was still frustrating, but things can be better with a good finish in wrestling and then in baseball."