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Coventry wrestling team wraps up another successful season

3/7/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COVENTRY — The Coventry High School wrestling team finished 26-9 overall and with a 6-1 record in the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division.

“I think we had a great season, especially considering most of my talent was underclassmen,” said head coach Keith Shinn. “I had three state alternates, and two of them were sophomores and one was a freshman. That’s quite an accomplishment. I also had another sophomore and another freshman who had more than 35 wins. So the future is pretty bright for us.”

The three state alternates were sophomores Josh Gunter and Zack Lake and freshman Jerek Cropper.

“Each of those guys had more than 40 wins,” Shinn said. “Josh had 42 wins, Zack tied for the lead on the team with 46 wins and Jerek had 42 wins with 32 pins.”

Topping the 35-win mark for the team were freshman Tucker Pearce and sophomore Mark Wedell.

“Tucker was one of our most improved wrestlers. He was a sectional champion at 106 pounds, and he’ll probably stay at 106 next year and make a bid to go to the state tournament,” the coach said. “On any other team, Mark would have been first in pins, but because he wrestles behind Travis Gosnell, he was second on the team in pins with 33. He’s a first-year wrestler who filled a void that we needed at 220 pounds. He has a work ethic that has really pushed him into the spotlight.”

At the district tournament, Coventry took ninth place, and Shinn said the finish is a sign of growth for the program’s young wrestlers.

“Our goal is to get on the board as a program — to be in the top 10 at the state meet — but we have to get to the top 10 in the district first,” the coach said. “Ninth place in the district is nothing to hang your hat on, but it’s something to build on with a very young team.”

Despite all of the success shown by the underclassmen, however, the team’s top wrestler this season was a senior.

“Travis Gosnell finished the season with 46 wins and seven losses, and 36 of his wins were pins, which is a school record,” Shinn said. “In his go-to-state match, he reported his 100th career pin, which is quite an accomplishment. He has surpassed both 100 wins and 100 pins in his career.”

In the state tournament, Gosnell was eliminated after two matches, but Shinn said the wrestler is leaving behind quite a legacy at Coventry.

“He is, by far, the best heavyweight wrestler that I have ever coached — and not just as a wrestler, but also as an athlete,” the coach said. “He also holds every one of our strength records. As an overall athlete, he’s at the top of the class.”

Gosnell was one of three seniors on the team. The others were Daniel Morgan and Brandon Pavlich.

“Both of them ended their careers by leaving it all out on the mat,” Shinn said. “Daniel was a district alternate and Brandon came a match away from being able to go to states. Both of them showed good leadership throughout the season to get our young guys prepared.”

According to Shinn, even though the 2012-13 season just concluded, the preparation for next season has already begun.

“For some of them, the offseason started last Sunday,” he said. “I already had guys in the weight room raring to go. I have guys working hard already for next season. My coaches and I are putting together a top-notch offseason program for the guys, and we’re looking to step up to the next level. We’re looking to be champions.”

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