Chambersburg wrestling team has solid core
Plenty has changed in the last year for the Chambersburg wrestling program.
Most notably, the Trojans' coach of 20 years, Doug Rine, is retired from coaching and his assistant, Matt Mentzer, is now the man in charge.
But, at least on paper, Chambersburg seems poised to have a similar kind of season to what it had last year. The Trojans had only 16 wrestlers on the roster, went 7-5 in dual meets -- which was good enough to qualify for the District 3 Team Championships -- and then had a great individual postseason.
Four Trojans won Section I championships, a record eight qualified for the District 3 Tournament, four of those placed and three advanced to the PIAA State Tournament.
For the 2015-16 season, Mentzer has 18 wrestlers in the room. Because of a lack of depth in some spots, beating the best dual meet opponents will be a tough task.
"We have about 10 really tough kids, but to beat the best teams we'll need to get some pins," Mentzer said. "And the hammer comes fast -- we wrestle Mifflin County, Central Dauphin and Cumberland Valley all before Christmas, so we'll know exactly where we stand."
However, of the top four postseason wrestlers of a year ago, three are back. Garrett Kyner (last year's record was 38-8), Aaron Rump (30-6) and Drew Peck (36-7) all won Section I titles, Kyner won a District 3 crown, Peck was a runner-up and Rump took fifth. Peck and Kyner each went 1-2 at the PIAA tourney.
Mentzer said, "All of our established kids are doing what they're supposed to be doing -- they've gotten stronger and they've done a lot of wrestling."
Kyner (138 pounds) and Peck (182) are each up one weight class from where they finished a year ago, and Rump (132) has jumped three weights from 113.
Several other experienced wrestlers are back, including four-year starter Colin Runshaw (145-152, 19-17), Greg Wallace (170, 8-8), Drake Brenize (145-152, 21-14), Dalton Grace (195, 11-15), Matt Strunk (138, 13-11) and Philippe Lozius (220, 4-15).
Another veteran is Brennen O'Brien (126), who transferred from Shippensburg. He was 14-7 last year.
Mentzer said, "Wallace is a really dangerous wrestler with his moves. Runshaw and Brenize are pretty close at 145, so whoever loses that elimination match -- and it'll be a real battle -- will go up to 152. Brenize could make a leap to the next level this year."
Upperclassmen Jesse Kaiser (160) and Brock Over (285) are making their varsity debuts, while a pack of six freshman are hoping to make an impact. Seth Runshaw (106) and Spencer Runshaw (113) are projected to be starters, while Cole Grove (126), Alec Grove (132), Jamie Ramos (138) and Kaleb Wise (138) are in the mix.
"The Runshaw brothers impressed me this summer," Mentzer said. "They may not have missed any of the workouts we had. They put on some weight and showed some toughness. They're fun to watch wrestle each other because they're both stubborn and tough."
Other than some setbacks with sickness, Mentzer has been pleased with how the preseason work has progressed.
"We ran them hard the first week and nobody quit," he said. "I'm happy with the whole group. It would just be nice if we had another five or six to give us some depth."
NOTES >> Mentzer said the junior high program has 32 kids out, so numbers should improve down the road ... Chris Kochinsky and Dalton Daywalt are the new assistant coaches ... Mentzer said, "Chris will be a great addition -- he volunteered all summer with the club and got to wrestle with the kids a lot. And Dalton will be a big plus for our heavyweights." ... Chambersburg's Trojan Wars Tournament is Dec. 28-29.
Trojans at a glance
Coach: Matt Mentzer, first year.
Last year: 7-5 (3-4 Mid Penn Commonwealth Division), lost 46-21 to Cumberland Valley in the first round of the District 3 Class AAA Tournament.
Starters lost: David Rump (P.O. First Team), David Law, Blake Ott, Nate Trindel, Brandon Heisey, Corbin Hopkins.
Returning starters: Garrett Kyner (sr., 138, 38-8, Section I and District 3 champion, P.O. First Team), Drew Peck (jr., 182, 36-7, Section I champion, District 3 runner-up, P.O. First Team), Aaron Rump (jr., 30-6, 132, Section I champion, 5th place in District 3, P.O. First Team), Drake Brenize (so., 145-152, 21-14, P.O. Second Team), Colin Runshaw (sr., 145-152, 19-17, third in Section I, P.O. HM), Greg Wallace (sr., 170, 8-8, third in Section I), Dalton Grace (jr., 195, 11-15), Philippe Lozius (sr., 220, 4-15).
Other top wrestlers: Brennen O'Brien (jr., 126, 14-7 at Shippensburg), Matt Strunk (sr., 138, 13-11), Seth Runshaw (fr., 106), Spencer Runshaw (fr., 106), Cole Grove (fr., 126), Jesse Kaiser (sr., 160), Brock Over (jr., 285), Alec Grove (fr., 132), Jamie Ramos (fr., 138), Kaleb Wise (fr., 138).
Season opener: Thursday, at Mifflin County, 7.