Three advance to regionals
Catasauqua's wrestling team will enter this week's PIAA Southeastern Regional at Wilson West Lawn with a trio of three grapplers, looking to further extend a prosperous season.
Sophomore Ryan Greene (132), and seniors Mike Shutta (152), and Satchel Stauffer (220) will begin their new journey Friday night. Head coach Kyle Rusnock is optimistic his wrestlers can be one of the top six in their respective weight classes to earn a ticket to states at Hershey the following weekend.
Last year, Jake Rusnock, Zack Bradley, and Rhaine Sziy advanced to the regional tournament.
"These guys have had great seasons," said Rusnock. "I expected Satchel (Stauffer) to get through the round, although he had number of tough guys in his bracket. I also knew Mike (Shutta) could do it. He has been wrestling well all year and has been preparing for something like this. Ryan has had a bad shoulder since our last tournament. He lost in the quarterfinals, but then he had four tough wins and wrestled outstanding."
Rusnock also was pleased with his team's overall performance, as the Roughies had 12 wrestlers in the tournament from a squad that is laced with a number of freshmen and sophomores. Greene finished third, Shutta fifth, and Stouffer fourth to advance to Wilson West Lawn. Sophomore Ben Nosal, who finished sixth at 182, will be an alternate at his weight.
"Ben (Nosal) really did have a lot of matches coming into the tournament," said Rusnock. "He made it his best outing and had a nice tournament. He worked to make a name for himself."
For a number of them, it was a learning experience.
"All of our boys had a great tournament," added Rusnock. "I am very happy with everyone's performance. We worked hard all year and a lot of them finally saw what this is all about. They all gave it their best and we all seemed to peak at the right time."
In the opening round Friday afternoon, Greene will meet Tim Vincent of Springfield Township, Shutta will lock with Jeff Inman of Annville-Cleonia, and Stauffer will tangle with Matt Vines of Northern Lebanon.
Having Greene, Shutta, and Stouffer move on can set the pace for the remainder of the squad.
"I really did think those guys could get there," said Rusnock. "The guys who went last year had more experience. This year, we didn't have that much experience. But these guys do what we tell them to do.
"As a coach, it is good to see that what you tell them is working. They have all been real troopers. What they have done can be a springboard. This season kept them hungry to take the next step."