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New blood faces high standards at Connellsville

Every year, the Connellsville wrestling team strives for greatness. That won’t change this season, despite a roster of mostly underclassmen.

“We’re young, and we have a lot of new faces,” coach Tommy Dolde said. “I like our youth, and I like starting new and the challenge of getting them ready. We want state champions and we want gold medals, and that’s not going to change. We talked to them about expectations and keeping the high standards that we have set here. If you are afraid of it, then you won’t be successful.”

Last season, the Falcons won the Section 2-AAA championship, finished third in the WPIAL and had three wrestlers qualify for the state tournament. Travis Miller and Nathan Gaffney went to states but have graduated along with starters Ethan Saylor, Jordan McKnight, Jerry Cramer and Zach Fike.

The Falcons do have some returning veterans, led by sophomore Ethan Kenney (119 pounds), who finished seventh at the state meet as a freshman at 103.

Other returning starters include seniors Ryan Williams (130 to 145), Jesse Swink (152) and Michael Aumer (160), junior Tanner Wiltrout (130 to 145) and sophomores Nicholas Beneke (112) and Tyler Steele (125).

Sophomore John Berardinelli and freshman Kolbe Cunningham are top candidates at 103 pounds. Sophomores Shawn DeWitt and Brandon Umble and senior Brad Wendel and freshman Dustin Gaffney could fill spots from 130 to 152.

Sophomores Dylan Miller, Lawrence Alvarez and Nicholas Baker, junior Joshua Fremd and senior Terry Cavalier could see time at 160 or 171. Sophomores Trevor Farrell, A.J. Cavalier and Ben Aultz will fill in at 189 and 215. Junior Brady Ritenour is the top candidate for heavyweight for the Falcons, who have 30 on the roster.

“We have a lot of depth,” Dolde said. “For the next couple of years, we could be pretty good.”

Additional Information:

Scouting the Falcons

• Coach Tommy Dolde is in his ninth season. He’s assisted by Kyle Martin, Marvin Snyder, Ron Wiltrout and Tom Dolde.

• Connellsville opens Dec. 11 at Latrobe.


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