STVM wrestling team looking to top last season’s results
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Overall, the St. Vincent-St. Mary (STVM) wrestling team had a 3-3 record in dual meets through Jan. 4, but head coach Anthony Gary said dual meets are not a primary way for him to measure how his team is doing during the regular season.
“Our schedule is set up to tune us up for the end of the year — to have a strong finish when it comes to the postseason, such as the sectionals, districts and state tournament,” he said. “Starting out the season with our football players playing in the state final meant we didn’t have them for the first week of competition, so that kind of threw off the team as a whole. But we’ve been working to get all of the kids in shape and we’ve been ramping up the competition and working on the little things, so we are progressing at a good rate every week and every day in practice.”
This year’s team is led by returning state champion Aaron Adkins, who is wrestling at 182 pounds in his senior season.
“He has only been back for two weeks and still working the rust off and getting back into wrestling mode,” Gary said. “But Aaron’s having the season of a state champ. He’s battling, he’s working to get in shape and he’s focused on becoming a two-time wrestling state champ to go along with the two football state titles that he’s won. So he’s doing awesome.”
Joining Adkins on the team this season is his brother, Tony Adkins, who is wrestling at 195 pounds.
“This is Tony’s first year of high school wrestling,” Gary said. “He wrestled all the way up through junior high with Aaron, but when he got to high school, he didn’t want to wrestle. He was talking to his brother Aaron last year, and he basically told Aaron that if Aaron won a state title, he would wrestle his senior season with him. Well, lo and behold, Aaron won his state title and Tony’s wrestling with us. He is doing really well. He’s got some great athleticism and his natural instincts have kicked back in from his junior high years.”
The other seniors on this year’s team include: three-time state qualifier Walter Gibson, 145 pounds; Sal Ferrise, 120 pounds; and three-time state placer Ryan Skonieczny, 138 pounds.
“A lot of the seniors have been together since junior high school and they are all good friends as well as quality wrestlers,” Gary said. “They all push each other and work hard. They have good team camaraderie. They are all focused on placing as high as they can at the state title and to help the team place as high as we can.”
Other key wrestlers on this year’s team, the coach said, include juniors Drek Brumley, Garrett Carter and Matt Chu; sophomore Ben Knaus; and freshmen Joe Koontz and Steven Mileski.
“Drek is a heavyweight at 285 pounds. He’s a returning state placer, and he’s projected to do really well at the state tournament this year. Garrett is wrestling at 132 pounds and he’s also a returning state placer. They are wrestling well, and their goals are to be in the state finals this year. They are putting in the work to make that goal a reality,” the coach stated. “Joe is wrestling at 126 pounds, Steven is at 160 pounds, Matt is at 170 pounds and Ben is at 152 pounds.”
According to Gary, the STVM wrestling team’s goal this season is to finish even better than last year’s highly successful squad did at the state level.
“Last year, our goal was to finish [in the] top three in the state, and we finished third,” he stated. “This year, our goal is to give St. Paris Graham a run, and if we end up finishing second, that will be a feather in our cap. Our goal is to finish in the top two in the state and to get eight state placers.”
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