“It takes a community” By Bob Koehn

It Takes a Community

By Bob Koehn

Director NHSCA

Future

January 1998

A Profile of Easton, PA Wrestling

The Lehigh Valley, located in eastern Pennsylvania along the New Jersey border, is generally regarded as the nation’s hotbed of amateur wrestling. Northampton, Easton, Parkland, Nazareth, Bethlehem Liberty, & Phillipsburg, NJ are perennial national
powerhouses.

On January 8th-9th, Lafayette College in Easton, PA. was the site for the 5th annual  Easton-Phillipsburg Wrestling Duals. This event is equivalent to most state tournaments in attendance and in the intensity of the crowd.  Always looking for new ways to
experience wrestling, this served as the perfect opportunity to make my first trip to Easton. Additionally, I was eager to learn more about Easton Wrestling and the reasons for their incredible success during the past 50 years.

Easton is a model program. In addition to winning many state and national team championships, 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Bobby Weaver and 2 x NCAA Champion Jack Cuvo are Easton Alunmi. Easton always fills their gym for home meets, their
booster club and the local media provide outstanding coverage.

In order to fully understand the success of the Easton Wrestling Program you have to understand the community of Easton. Easton is an extremely close knit Italian community with a population of approximately 30,000  people. Most people would be
classified as blue collar workers. The people of Easton have a passion for life that separates them from most other cities.  Family is of utmost importance and the entire community is the family that makes this city function in a highly effective manner.

I have visited many wrestling communities across this nation and the people are usually polite. However, the people in Easton go way beyond polite. Being naturally shy and reserved, it usually takes a while for me to relax and feel comfortable when meeting new people. However, when I was in Easton it was a matter of minutes before I was laughing and warmly embracing the people in my presence.

In the Easton subculture, people seem to care more about the welfare of their fellow man than they do about their own well being.  Titles mean nothing and money is merely a way to pay your debts. What is important to these people are the simple things in life like the unplanned meetings at Morici’s Pizza Restaurant to sample Ed Ferraro‘s homemade wine and the cheese that Sam Crivellaro produced on his dairy farm. Being good Italians they love the wine and cheese, but even more importantly they cherish the love and joy that their good friends put in to making these products. This is typical of the happiness to be found in this community and there is not a day that passes that life is not celebrated in some joyous and time honored manner.

The Easton-Phillipsburg Duals featured some truly incredible wrestling, Easton, fielding a lineup of mostly freshmen and sophomores, is in a rebuilding year. The year’s squad is also void of any superstars and will probably not have a single wrestler to place in the top 4 at the Pennsylvania State Tournament. Wrestling Blair Academy (ranked 7 in nation) and Bald Eagle Area (ranked 3rd in the nation), were to be stiff challenges for the young Easton team. Facing Blair in their first dual, Easton scored 9 points in the final two matches to record a 31-23 team victory.

Assistant Coach Ed Ferraro made the following assessment, “Wrestling Blair is pure drudgery. because we never seem to beat them. The key match today was Mark Koch at 130 lb. He normally wrestles on the JV and was called upon to wrestle varsity and scored a surprising 8-2 victory. Our wrestlers are always in great shape and today it definitely paid off.”

Later on in the afternoon, Blair beat Bald Eagle Area in an exciting match 31-25, Easton had little trouble with Pleasant Valley, PA scoring a 47-10 victory. In the final match of the evening, Easton wrestled Bald Eagle Area.  The Bald Eagle squad is very solid with a lot of experience. They are deserving of their #3 ranking and should be competing with Northampton for the Pennsylvania State Championship. Easton put up a hard fight but in the end Bald Eagle Area prevailed 27-25.

Easton Head Coach Steve Powell was very pleased with the outcome of the event. “We have proved that wrestling can attract 4,000- 5,000 fans for a weekend and have a great time. The support we get from our local media is outstanding and it helps make this a great event”

For all practical purposes, Easton should not have beaten Blair and their match with Bald Eagle Area was much closer than it should have been. After considerable reflection, it became clear as to why the Easton kids wrestled way above their heads. It has to do with community. When you wrestle Easton you have to do more than whip their kids. You have to beat their grandfathers, their fathers, their cousins, their grocers, their media, and the entire community. There is nothing more motivating than a close personal relationship and that is what this community has with its wrestling program.

The lesson for all coaches is that more time and effort needs to be put in to building the community within their programs. It all starts with an attitude of taxing and love. When someone in the Easton program has a problem, everyone connected shares their pain and tries to help out. If a wrestler on the team is dejected after a loss, someone in the community is quick to console and support him. At all Easton Wrestling social functions everyone is equal. There is nothing to separate the coaching staff from the boosters. They simply work together for the good of the program in an environment based upon mutual
respect.

This sense of community is desperately needed within the sport of wrestling and in society as a whole.  The people of Easton are excellent role models as to how we should live our lives and how we should support our great sport. I strongly encourage all wrestling fans to visit Easton and take in a wrestling match. And while you are there be sure to stop by Morici’s and sample Ed’s homemade wine and Sam’s home grown cheese.

Coaches Blog-January Edition

jimmy jimmy2Wow it has been a whirlwind of a month for the Rovers.

After losing some matches to Becahi, Northampton, P-burg, and Freedom, we knew we needed to put together some solid performances to finish out our season.  Despite major improvements over last season, we knew we were capable of turning some of those dual meets around.  With the exception of our Becahi match, all the other matches that we had lost to date were winnable dual meets.  As a team we simply kept reinforcing that we need to deal with adversity in a positive way.  Certainly we were excited to turn things around with District Duals around the corner.  It also helped that we would have the opportunity to gain some retribution on three of the teams that we lost to so far.

Our first match was against Northampton at District Duals.  They beat us in a stomach-wrenching match a few weeks prior, so our boys were certainly looking to turn that result around.  It certainly helped that we would have Jacob Montes back from an injury and ready to help solidify our middle weights.

Regarding our game plan for the match, we decided to weigh Jimmy Saylor in at 152 in an attempt to chase Cade Moisey if we won the coin toss.  We ended up losing the coin toss, and the match started at 160.  We felt we needed to put Jimmy on the mat to start and make Northampton maneuver their line-up around on of our top kids.  They sent Moisey, whom Jimmy would end up defeating.  This was followed up by huge wins by Ethan DiRenzo, Isaiah Walker, and later John Williams at Heavyweight.  In the end, Evan Fidelibus and Jacob Montes helped seal the deal later in the match.  Next we would get another crack at Freedom.

As most people know, our Freedom match started out with us dropping the first five weight classes by fall in the first period.  Certainly our stress level was very high being down 30-0 that early in the match.  Thankfully, each one of the successive nine guys really stepped up.  Each kid slowly chipped away at Freedom’s lead and swung the momentum back in our favor.  Both Roche brothers were absolutely huge in their matches.  Isaiah beat a kid who beat him a week prior and Anthony beat a kid with a very good record.  In addition, Hayden Keleher finally came through with a huge signature win against a top guy.  Hayden has been primed for a breakout match for quite some time and it was great that he got it when he did.  Nick Nunez & Darius Joyce came through huge in potential toss up matches, while Jacob and Evan did their jobs as well.  This all set the stage for Jimmy Saylor to wrap things up against Freedom’s Evans who had one loss up to that point.  I think our entire side of the gym felt great knowing we had our state qualifier captain on the mat to close out the historic night.  In the second period, Jimmy got the fall and the rest is history.  It was a great night to be a Rover.

Our kids looked good during Saturday’s semifinal and we actually wrestled quite well against Becahi in the final.  Like most DXI teams, we just did not have enough horses to get by them.  We were able to turn two bouts around that we lost the previous time.  This dropped us down to true second where we were set for our rematch against Parkland.  We felt good about our chances based on how the early season match had gone.  While we lost that match, we felt we could turn a number of those matches around.  Unfortunately, our magical few days ended in defeat.  We ended up one match short.  Certainly not having the chance to wrestle as a team in Hershey is disappointing, however, nothing can take away the huge strides our boys have made in a year’s time.  We know what we need to do overall as a team going into next year having most of our line-up back.

We will be taking advantage of the next few weeks to get ready for the individual post season.  Our next order of business is defending our streak.  We will have a number of guys with legitimate chances to make a run extending our streak.  Our boys are fully committed to making it 68 years in a row.

 

Thanks for reading.  #roadtohershey

2nd Annual Line Up Dinner

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Sunday February 8th 2-4pm

Roosevelt’s Restaurant
21 E. Elizabeth Avenue, Bethlehem

All wrestlers will be announced prior to dinner being served at 3pm.
Entertainment donated by DJ Triple B

Tickets $15pp or $25couple
Wrestlers Eat Free
Kids $10 Each

All you can eat pasta (2 types), salad & rolls
Drink Specials at the bar

RSVP by February 1st with wrestlers name and how many will be attending
Tammy Santiago 610-297-2567 or santiago3@ptd.net

Tricky Tray and 50/50 raffle tickets will also be sold 


This event is not mandatory but it is expected that ALL JH, JV and V wrestlers
and family attend according to their schedule

All proceeds go to Easton Wrestling Booster Club

Bingo – February 22, 2015

Bingo

Great Selection of Coach & Vera Bradley Bags, and Alex & Ani Bracelets

Please join us
Sunday, February 22, 2015
12:30 P.M. (Doors open @ 11:00)
Easton Area High School Cafeteria
2601 William Penn Hwy, Palmer, PA
$20 Donation in advance    $25 Donation at the door
(see a wrestler or contact Tammi Saylor at 610-392-7952 or tammi_saylor@yahoo.com)
Snow Date March 1st — Check Facebook & Twitter for weather related updates

If you can’t attend and would like to make a monetary donation or a tricky tray item. Your support would be greatly appreciated.

Coaches Blog-Welcome to 2015

We came home from Reno on the 22nd and dropped the boys off at school Tuesday morning after traveling all day on Monday.  We then had a practice.  Despite being jetlagged, the boys did a great job.  We kept the practice relatively short and sent the boys on their way.  We also worked out Christmas Eve for a few hours in the morning and sent everyone home for the Holidays.

Our Saturday practice saw a number of changes to our line-up based on wrestle offs.  In addition, we had a few injuries and illnesses to deal with as well.  By the time we left for Manheim on Sunday, we had four changes in our lineup from Reno.  We arrived at Manheim and did a short workout to get a few pounds off the kids the day before the tournament.  As we concluded our workout, a familiar face walked in the room.  Ryan Cummins, our former assistant who now is Head Coach at State College HS linked up with us.  As is our tradition, we went to our favorite Chinese Restaurant outside of Manheim after the families picked the boys up.  Ryan and his staff came along and made for a festive dinner.

Manheim really is a great little tournament.  There is so much tradition in that tournament.  Each year for the past 45 years, Manheim Central and their Athletic Director, Derb, have run a first class tournament.  The competition is always great and instead of putting our kids in a hotel in Lancaster for 3 days, the families associated with the wrestling program host all the kids from each school.  Due to the fact that our team essentially lives with each other for two weeks over the Holiday break between Reno and Manheim, the team chemistry grows exponentially.  It is hard to replace the fond memories that these boys will carry with them the rest of their lives based on these few weeks every wrestling season.  Each year our kids look forward to going back with their host families, and those families take such great care of our boys.  We actually have developed a contingent of Manheim host families who like to drive in and see our P-Burg match every year.

The tournament went very well overall.  In all, we came away with ten place-winners and a third place finish as a team.  We came in behind Spring-Ford and Kiski.  Had we had our full line-up there, it is likely we would have had one more finalist and came in second as a team.  While we are still struggling to win all the close matches, our younger guys are improving in that aspect.  Continuing to learn how to win those close matches is what will pay huge dividends when we are in dual meets with Becahi, P-burg, and later at District XI Duals.

We had four finalists in Casin Corallo, Hayden Keleher, Evan Fidelibus, and Jimmy Saylor.  Also placing was Isaiah Roche (3rd), Ethan DiRenzo, Isaiah Walker, Craig Stahlecker, & Scott Betts (5th), and Anthony Roche (6th.)  In addition, we had three champs in Casin, Evan, and Jimmy.  This was the first tournament championship in the high school career for Casin and Evan, while Jimmy won his second Manheim championship.  Casin put together a very impressive tournament and was only a few seconds away from winning pinners award.  It is a pleasure to see how much he has improved and the success he is having.  Evan was under the weather all week and despite not being at his best, gutted through to a tournament championship.  In addition, Jimmy had an outstanding tournament.  He was in control of every match and was never in danger.  He is becoming tough as nails.  Also having a great tournament was Isaiah Roche.  Isaiah lost early in the tournament to a kid from JW Robinson by a wide margin.  In the wrestle-backs, he got stronger with each match.  In the third place match, he dominated the kid from Robinson who beat him the previous day.  To get where we want to go as a team, we are going to need gritty performances like that.

This past weekend we wrestled in our Easton Invitational.  We revamped our format this year to allow us to get five matches in a day based on a pool tournament format.  Our first match would be our biggest test of the day against Haverford.  While we liked our chances in the lower weights, we did not match up well with them in the upper weights.  Fortunately, Craig Stahlecker and Mike Catalano won huge toss-up matches to get us going up top and Scott Betts wrestled an extremely strategic match and took a 3-2 loss to a monstrous heavyweight from Haverford.  We pretty much rolled after that and did not slow down the rest of the weekend.  It was very nice to see guys like Walker, DiRenzo, and Joyce show their improvement.  After taking many losses last year, both Stahlecker and Walker sit at 11-6 right now.  Also, it was great to get Jacob Montes back from the DL and see him beat a very tough Max Nauta from Warren Hills on Saturday.  Nauta won his 100th match on Friday and is one tough customer for Warren Hills.  Jacob came back and did not miss a beat in running up an impressive 6-0 decision on Nauta.  We won our pool tournament on Friday by going 5-0 and defeated Warren Hills on Saturday.

Tonight, we will be wrestling Dieruff at 25th street before wrestling Becahi on Friday night at 25th Street.  It is a real treat to compete there because we rarely use the famous gym anymore.  When that gym gets packed, there are few gyms in the country that get louder.  We will also be traveling up to wrestle new Head Coach Phil Racciato’s Pocono Mt. West team Satuday at 6 PM.

2 weeks till P-burg.

Thanks for reading.

Coaches Blog: Reno Recap

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Right now we are sitting in the airport in Reno waiting to fly home from our 20th annual Reno Tournament.  The boys, Mr Powell, and Ray are boarding right now, while I am taking a later  flight on a different airline.  Coach Mac & Montes took an earlier flight and Mr. Snyder flew into Nebraska to spend Christmas with his son Bryan.  The Corallos rented a car and drove to Arizona State for Casin to visit and will meet us home tomorrow.

Our first day of the tournament on Friday had some very high moments and other moments that showed us we have a lot of room for improvement.  Some high moments included bonus point victories by our young guys and Hayden Keleher knocking off a nationally ranked top seed.  Nunez, Stahlecker, Betts, Werkheiser, Walker, Catalano, and DiRenzo got some great experience out here and contributed various bonus point wins. In addition, Casin and Diego Santiago strung together a nice series of early wins before falling into the consolation rounds.  Casin would go on and qualify for the second day as well.

Some of the things that proved we have a way to go at the team were a whole string of losses in winnable matches on the first day.  Great teams find ways to win those matches and as a group we need to improve in that area moving forward.  The boys did have a great attitude about the whole experience and seem excited to take a big leap forward. The Temecula Valley coaches run a huge open workout for the kids who are knocked out after weigh ins on the second day of the tournament.  Our boys who took advantage of that got a great workout and lots of fresh meat to go live with and we really appreciated Temecula running that workout.  They run a great program and we think very highly of them as a staff.

Our second day only saw us advance 3 guys to the medal round, but the performances of our junior captains Jacob Montes, Jimmy Saylor, and Evan Fidelibus were outstanding.  To say that they wrestled great would be an understatement.  As coaches we could not be more pleased with all we saw of them from a leadership and performance standpoint.  Jacob was second, Evan was third, and Jimmy was fourth.

Jacob knocked off the top seed who Willie Saylor and Flo have ranked #6 inn the county.  The kid was committed to wrestle at Oklahoma State next year and Jacob, who was unseeded, beat him 7-3 in the quarters.  He looked great in the semis before running into a buzz saw in the finals.  Jacob wrestled in some tough physical brawls on his way to second place.  Jacob looks primed to really break out this season and is becoming an elite wrestler.

Evan wrestled very well the entire tournament.  He strung together a series of pins and looked poised and under control the whole time.  He lost in the quarters to a kid committed to Northern Colorado next year.  He advanced to the Consey finals where he would wrestle a top ten kid who was the returning three time Reno TOC champ.  Evan absolutely dominated the kid and left little doubt that he has taken the next step in his development.  

Jimmy looked very good early before getting caught in a weird situation and getting pinned on day one.  He was winning at the time of the fall.  It turns out the kid was a double finalist at Fargo this year.  Jimmy’s first wrestle back was moved to first thing Saturday because his opponent had five matches in a day Friday.  

On Saturday he wrestled the best we have ever seen him wrestle.  He was technically sound, poised, and in control for the duration of each match.  The way he controlled his opponents on the way to the third place match was a thing of beauty.  Unfortunately, due to Jimmy’s last match on Friday being moved to Saturday, he had competed in five matches prior to the third place match.  According to National Federation rules, Jimmy was required to forfeit because he competed five times in one day prior to the final round.  This was an unfortunate misapplication of the intent of the rule.  Go figure, his opponent was the kid who beat him.  Jimmy was primed to avenge that loss, and it’s unfortunate he did not get that opportunity.  Despite this, it does not take away from the outstanding performance Jimmy had this weekend.  

All in all, we finished eighth as a team.  We certainly have some work to do to improve.  This weekend was a great barometer on our strengths and weaknessas.  As a staff we need to keep our guys improving every day.  That’s the fun part of coaching and the great part about challenging ourselves and competing.  We are already looking forward to Manheim next week.   The kids always seem to figure out how to rise to the occasion.

In addition, Mr Snyder was given the heritage award for distinguished service to the sport of wrestling before the finals.  They also honored our team with an award presented to our coaching staff before finals.  It was also great to see Robbie Rizzolino wrestle in the College tournament yesterday.  Robbie is ranked #1 in NJCA for Clackamas  Junior College and will transfer to  NC State next fall.  Not only are we proud of our boys for what they accomplish on the mat, but it’s a joy to see them doing well after they leave us and develop into fine young men.  We are very proud of Robbie.

Thanks to all the fans who came out in support of us and all the people who have made this trip happen for 20 years.  The life experiences and opportunities our boys have had over the past twenty years are measured in much more than wins and losses.  Thanks for everything and have a Merry Christmas.

Rovers for Life

 

Coaches Blog-Tahoe

Historically on day 2 of our annual Reno trip, we take the boys to Lake Tahoe.  Every year we rent a van and we take our newcomers over the Sierra Nevada Mts. toward Lake Tahoe.  Lake Tahoe is about 40 miles away and we usually take RT 80 over the mountain and go through Donner Pass.  It is always interesting to see how many of the boys actually know the story of the Donner party getting stuck in the mountains on their way to California in 1846 and had to resort to cannibalism to survive.  Usually this is the spot where we stop and briefly run up the mountain for a short distance.  It is amazing how the change in altitude fatigues us quickly, despite how in shape we all are.  We never go all the way around the lake, but we certainly take the kids to some of the landmarks near the lake.  Even though we have been coming here for 20 years, there are still have not found Fredo Corleone.  On the way back, we usually stop at this enormous hill that people from all over come to go sledding.  We found this hill over ten years ago.  Some of the kids even resort to dumpster diving to get a broken sled or a cardboard box to go down the hill.

Most of the parents and California teams come in on Wednesday.  The majority of the college teams will come in on Thursday.  We are excited to see Rover Alum Robbie Rizzolino who will compete for Clackimus Junior College.  Robbie is currently ranked #1 in the country in Junior College rankings and is headed to NC State to wrestle next fall.

The JV kids did a great job in their workout back home yesterday.  Big thanks to Coach Gaumer and Coach Kuncio for running that workout.  Coach Montes will be flying out today.  From what the kids and coaches have relayed to me, everyone is doing well with their weights and did well in their run yesterday.  I am excited to get out there.  I will be in attendance at the Delaware Valley-Scranton match tonight to support a kid I used to coach who has cancer.  My flight leaves out of Philadelphia tomorrow evening.

Thanks to the parents and boosters for making this happen for the past twenty years.  Thank you to our administration for supporting this trip.  We hope to represent the school with another positive and productive Reno trip.

 

Go Rovers!!

Coaches Blog-pre Reno

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Tomorrow is the day we begin our 20th trip to Reno, NV.  We are extremely excited about going out there again this year.  We will leave in the early AM hours to catch a plane out of Newark and probably get to Reno in the late afternoon.

As is our time honored tradition, the boys will complete a five mile run upon arrival.    They always run the two and a half miles out to the Peppermill resort and turn around and come back to the Silver Legacy.   Hopefully this helps the boys sweat a bit of weight  off as well as help their conditioning adjust to the high Nevada altitude.

After this the boys tend to Sprint down to the arcade and spend ridiculous amounts of money trying to win prizes.  In 2005 Zach Pizarro won enough tickets to get a motorized mini Scooter that was too big to take on the plane.

We should have an unbelievable time out there this year.  Mr.  Snyder is being honored for distinguished service to wrestling before the finals on Saturday.  Hopefully we can bring  home a number of other awards as well.  It’s amazing to think we started this tradition twenty years ago.  Hopefully we can keep this tradition going.

Reno Line-up

106 Corallo

113 Santiago

120 Keleher

126 Nunez

132 Fidelibus

138 Montes

145 Saylor

152 Ragland

160 DiRenzo

170 Walker

182 Stahlecker

195 Catalano

220 Betts

HWT Werkheiser

We will update you throughout the week.  Thank you for all the support.  Follow us on Twitter @eastonwrestling and Instagram @easton_wrestling

Manheim Tournament 2014

Tradition is what we are all about here at Easton and what better way to keep the Holiday Traditions going than the Manheim Tournament. It is an awesome experience for our boys to witness the hospitality of so many wrestling fans who open up their homes to host our boys during one of the busiest times of year.

Easton once again will be heading out to Manheim on Dec 29th & 30th.

Unfortunately they only open their homes up to the wrestlers, so family & friends of Easton wrestling you may want to book your room now.
Hampton Inn – 72 North of Manheim
Lancaster Inn & Suites – On 72 South of Manheim

Wrestling begins Monday at 9AM

Hope to see you there!

Get Your 2014 Team Wear

TeamWear

2014 TEAM WEAR PACKAGE
for wrestlers and fans.

$53 Package

Above items are sold as a package. A minimum of 1shirt & 1 pair of shorts need to be ordered together.
Additional items can be added to initial order.
Orders will be taken up to November 29th, but may close earlier. Please get your order in ASAP.
This order will not be guaranteed to arrive before the holidays. We need a minimum of 24 orders for us to place our initial order.
For sizing questions, please use the sizing chart included in the order form.
Download and return order form and money to Lisa Corallo

 [button color=”#ffffff” background=”#ed1c24″ size=”medium” src=”http://eastonpawrestling.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/TEAM-WEAR-PACKAGE.pdf”]Download Here[/button]