Wrestling Notebook: Wissahickon on the Rise (12-6-18)

Glenn Kaiser’s previews a Wissahickon wrestling team that is on the rise.

Wissahickon Wrestling On The Rise

Wissahickon H.S. Head Wrestling Coach Anthony “Stags” Stagliano is a veteran coach, and has seen just about everything when it comes to wrestling.  Hopefully, you have seen him coach too…his passion for the sport is unmatched.  When the whistle blows it’s all business, and the determination and effort he displays for his wrestlers during a match is extraordinary and entertaining.  He may have an unusual way of gameday coaching, but when it comes to preparation, organization and developing wrestlers, Stags gets it done.

This year he may have one of the best teams he has ever had from top to bottom, with wily young wrestlers and seasoned veteran grapplers.  But he won’t tell you that, as he knows the trials and tribulations that a wrestling season can bring.  He knows a full line-up all season long will likely provide for many victories, and preparing to sustain a solid roster throughout the wrestling season will be a tall task.  However, he is optimistic saying “we are feeling pretty good …and my expectations are pretty high”.

With the tools in the shed this year, a schedule to expose his team to tough competition (Bethlehem Holiday Classic & Matsplosian Duals) and student/athletes’ buy-in, the Wissahickon Trojans will be contending for a SOL American Conference title, and a spot in the postseason D1 Team Championship.  The team approach to this individual sport often goes unnoticed, due to dual meet outcomes and individual wrestlers’ success.  But it will be the team concept that will motivate and drive this Wissahickon wrestling team this season.

The Trojans are captained by seniors Charlie Brammer, Brian Fennell, Peter Sweeney and Mark Thompson.  They are complimented with sophomore lightweight Matt Fritz, along with Dan Keller and Kevin Salmon, both juniors.  If all can stay healthy throughout the season (injuries have plagued the Trojans in the past), this core group will provide a solid lineup for Coach Stagliano.  Brammer, Fritz, Keller, Sweeney and Thompson all posted 20-plus win seasons a year ago, and with Fennell and Salmon both healthy, this group should pile up victories on the mat in 2018-19.  Brammer and Thompson were both fifth last year at the D1-East tournament, and Fritz was sixth as a freshman, along with Sweeney.  Fennell and Salmon sat out the postseason due to injury.

Coach Stags knows the Trojans will have to battle the Hatboro-Horsham Wrestling Warriors, Plymouth-Whitmarsh and new addition Abington this season to conquer the SOL American Conference.  But with the departure of Quakertown from the conference, the door is open for Wissahickon to capture its first league title in a long time.  Coach Stagliano stated he “does not want to take anyone lightly” in this quest.

Matt Fritz said, “This year we have a complete team…and this year we have high expectations for the team, not just in the league, but making the District Duals. In the summer I worked a lot, and this whole offseason improving my game, and I think I am really starting to put it together.”

Senior Brian Fennell feels the same with team goals this season. He said, “We are definitely more focused on winning big duals in the league and outside the league going into various dual tournaments…and wrestling hard.”  Individually, Fennell plans to overcome past injuries “and get as many team points as I can for the team.”  His intent is to improve movement on his feet and not be stagnant, to score more takedowns and secure pins for the team.  Fennell is considering Worcester Poly Institute to continue his wrestling career at the collegiate level upon graduation.

Kevin Salmon has added size and weight this year, and he stated the same goals for the team, winning duals and making the D1 Team Championship.  Salmon also plans to avoid injury and “come out strong and keep working hard.”  If the Trojans can keep it altogether, the SOL American Conference will be theirs for the taking if they can perform at the level of their high expectations.