Chambersburg wrestlers show plenty of potential
The Chambersburg wrestling team is not big on numbers, with only 18 wrestlers in the practice room.
And the Trojans will give up at least one forfeit (at 106) in each dual meet.
But that's not preventing second-year coach Matt Mentzer from smiling when talking about his team. He's got reasons to by happy.
"We have a pretty solid group of kids with a lot of experience," Mentzer said. "If everybody stays healthy we can be very flexible. Every single kid we have can go out and win matches if we get the right matchups."
The Trojans return two state qualifiers, including one medalist, two others who won District 3 medals and two more who qualified for districts. And several of the newcomers have enough promise to believe that postseason action is in their future.
Mentzer said, "We have a couple of kids ready to make their mark at states and some others who are right behind. They want to translate their early success to the high school level and they are hungry."
Drew Peck (182 pounds), who has committed to Brown, brought home a PIAA fourth-place medal last year and is eyeing a spot higher on the podium. Aaron Rump (138), who was 0-2 at states last year, is back for another shot. Both have recovered completely from injuries that bothered them last year, Peck from a knee surgery and Rump from a shoulder injury.
Brothers Seth Runshaw (120) and Spencer Runshaw (126) both placed sixth last year in District 3, one place away from a state berth. Cole Grove (132) and Drake Brenize (152) also qualified for districts.
Freshman Luke Nichter is ready to make his debut at 160, and he brings with him the Pa. Power Wrestling tag of the 12th-best freshman in the state. Mentzer is also confident that fellow freshmen Jevik Hummer (113) and Carson Mello (138) will have success, as well as junior Nobenson Augustin (145), a transfer from Florida.
There is no 106-pounder on the roster, so that will be a forfeit, and there is no 285-pounder. However, Mentzer plans to play around with a group that includes veterans Peck, Dalton Grace (195) and Phillipe Lozius (220), as well as Guy Lozius and Jose Chararria to cover the last four weights.
"Everybody in that group is pretty solid," Mentzer said. "We'll match up to gets as many points as we can."
That's also the case with Rump at 138. He could bump up and Mello could slide in at 138.
Mentzer feels he has the pieces to have another strong postseason year, and he thinks Chambersburg could do well in duals, too.
"But it's going to take every single kid for us to be successful as a team," he said.
NOTES: Peck placed third in the national preseason Super 32 tournament, and Nichter was 3-2 ... The Trojans open Saturday in an eight-team dual tournament at Warwick in which they'll wrestle three times ... Chambersburg also will compete at the Beast of the East and Escape the Rock individual tournaments, and the Wilson Duals ... Also on the schedule is hosting the third Trojan Wars tournament on Dec. 29-30, which has had a serious upgrade in competition ... Six Trojans had at least 22 wins last year.
Trojans at a glance
Coach: Matt Mentzer, 2nd year.
Last year: 9-4 (4-3 Mid Penn Commonwealth); lost 39-26 to Wilson in District 3 Class 3A tournament.
Returning starters: Drew Peck (sr., 182, 38-7, PIAA 4th place medalist, District 3 runnerup); Aaron Rump (sr., 138, 33-12, PIAA qualifier, 4th in District 3); Spencer Runshaw (so., 126, 28-10, 6th in District 3); Seth Runshaw (so., 120, 29-14, 6th in District 3); Drake Brenize (jr., 152, 24-15, district qualifier); Cole Grove (so., 132, 22-15, district qualifier); Dalton Grace (sr., 195, 14-10); Phillipe Lozius (sr., 220, 5-9).
Other top wrestlers: Luke Nichter (fr., 160); Jevik Hummer (fr., 113); Carson Mello (fr., 138); Nobenson Augustin (jr., 145); Zae Kirk (so., 170); Jamie Ramos (so., 145); Anthony Berger (so., 160); Guy Lozius (so., 182); Daniela Salamanca (jr., 145); Jose Chararria (so., 195).
Season opener: Saturday, at Warwick Duals Tournament, 9 a.m.