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Energy, optimism strengths of Copley wrestling team

12/6/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COPLEY — According to Copley High School wrestling head coach Jim Dies, the biggest strengths of this year’s team are “energy and optimism.”

“These kids like to work and are committed to this sport,” he said. “We have very little big match experience in our lineup, but we do have some kids that know what it takes to succeed and are buying into the program.”

Last season, Copley had a 6-6 record in dual meets and finished fifth in the league.

“It is always a goal to improve on our league performance. We had three individual league champs last season, but we need to improve in duals,” he said. “It is also always a goal to have kids wrestling on the last day of the season during those state placement matches. We continued our streak of sending kids to Columbus last year. We need to keep that going in 2012-13 and add another state placer to our wall.”

Copley featured four district qualifiers and one state qualifier last season, but the only district qualifier returning to the team this year is junior Austin Lewarchick (220 pounds).

“Austin actually won a match at the district tournament last season,” the coach said. “He should be a force on the mat this year, and we expect him to take the next step this season.”

Dies said this year’s squad is “a good mix of ‘old’ and younger wrestlers.”

“But again, our ‘vets’ are relatively new to the spotlight, and I believe they are hungry to prove what they can do,” he stated.

The seniors this year are a trio of returning letter-winners: Justin Hastings, 160 pounds, 20-match winner; Gabe Dorsey, 182 pounds, 20-match winner; and Sean Esparza, 138 pounds.

“They’ve worked as hard as any class I’ve been around in the offseason,” Dies said. “They’re not returning district qualifiers, but they’re kids who have worked a ton to get to that level, and we’re excited to see them get there. We’re hoping they have a chance to get on a podium.”

Other wrestlers Dies said he expects to make an impact for the team this season include junior Brett Powell (152 pounds), sophomore Chris Burke (heavyweight) and freshman Tyler Grimes (120 pounds).

“Brett is an up-and-comer I expect to surprise people. He wrestles a unique and entertaining style that puts him in danger at times but frustrates his opponents,” the coach said. “Chris is a returning letter-winner and we are confident the success he had in football this year will translate to the mat. And Tyler is a fantastic athlete that has worked extremely hard in all of our preseason activities, and he has opened the eyes of the upperclassmen and coaches.”

Dies is in his eighth season as the head wrestling coach at Copley High School. His assistant coaches are Jake Sexton and Jeremy Dombrady.

The head coach said he is excited to lead this year’s team “because they trust the system, believe in the program and aren’t afraid to work.”

Dies said the team’s realistic goals for this season are to “move up the league ladder, win more duals, bring home more hardware from tournaments, qualify half the team to districts, qualify multiple wrestlers to the state tournament and put a Copley Indian on the state podium.”

“These goals are realistic,” he said, “because if our student athletes continue to commit themselves and put forth the effort, good things will come.”

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