Wrestling has not always been known as one of the better sports at Bellwood-Antis, but Blue Devil head coach Tim Andrekovich has been trying to turn around their ways.
Andrekovich is now coming into his second year as the head coach of the wrestling program at Bellwood, but has been around the program for a while.
One of the problems that Bellwood has always faced in wrestling is the numbers and lack of depth, which has resulted in giving up at least a couple forfeits in every dual meet.
But Andrekovich is focused on the guys they do have in the wrestling room, where they have 15 wrestlers for this season. And Andrekovich says the practices have been going well in the days leading up to the season.
“It’s going great,” said Andrekovich. “The kids are working hard and we are further ahead of where we were the past few years since we have a lot of kids back with experience.
“There are several weights that will need to be determined since our numbers are up. A good portion of the line-up is fixed, but there will be a few elimination matches this week to determine our line-up for the Conemaugh Township tournament on the 8th.”
Because of those empty weight classes, Bellwood had just a 2-11 record last season with wins over Claysburg-Kimmel (33-28) and Juniata Valley (57-18).
The Blue Devils are returning six letterwinners to the team this year in Paulino Cuevas, Derrick Noonan, Colton Gority, Trentin Whaley, Evan Pellegrine, and Ty Noonan. Andrekovich expects those six and sophomores Alex Taylor, Aiden Taylor, and Landon Bungo to lead the team this year.
Derrick Noonan finished the year at 20-9 in his junior season, while Ty Noonan had a solid year as a freshman at 16-14. Whaley and Pellegrine are both 20-match winners from a year ago, while Gority also posted 15 wins and Cuevas picked up a pair of wins.
“We have a good nucleus of guys with experience,” said Andrekovich. “They are all working hard and getting better every day. Unfortunately, we will have to forfeit a couple of weights and start a few guys with limited wrestling experience.”
With low numbers, Andrekovich said he would just like the team to be as competitive as possible during the dual meet season.
“I think that we should win a few more matches than we did last year,” Andrekovich said. “We should have several wrestlers place in each of our tournaments. I’m hoping to get a few guys through the district tournament this year onto regionals and hopefully states. That’s the goal every year.”
Bellwood-Antis starts the season on Saturday at the Conemaugh Township Tournament. Their first dual meet will be on Tuesday at home against Mount Union.
Seniors: Paulino Cuevas, Colton Gority, Derrick Noonan, Trentin Whaley. Juniors: Evan Pellegrine. Sophomores: Landon Bungo, Zach Cunningham, Jordan Irvin, Ryan Malone, Tyler McCaulsky, Ty Noonan, Kenny Robison, Aiden Taylor, Alex Taylor. Freshmen: Dominic Caracciolo.
12/8 at Conemaugh Township Tournament, 9 a.m.
12/11 vs. Mount Union
12/13 at Moshannon Valley
12/14 at Penn Cambria Tournament, 11 a.m.
12/15 at Penn Cambria Tournament, 9 a.m.
12/18 vs. Claysburg-Kimmel
12/20 vs. United
1/3 vs. West Branch
1/8 at Juniata Valley
1/10 at Everett
1/15 vs. Tussey Mountain
1/17 at Glendale
1/22 vs. Southern Huntingdon
1/24 at Northern Bedford
1/25 at West Branch Tournament, 3 p.m.
1/26 at West Branch Tournament, 9 a.m.
1/31 at Tyrone
2/7 at Central
All meets begin at 7 p.m. unless noted.