New era of Polk wrestling aiming to live up to past

Published 6:10 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Alex Avgerinos prepares to pin Dylan Walker in a recent wrestling scrimmage at Polk County High School. (photo by William Trakas)

A year ago, the Polk County High School wrestling team owned the mat.
They dominated the regular season and state tournament with individual performances like the one from undefeated state champion Tyler Philpott, and ones from two other state runner-ups.
This year’s Wolverine squad will have to make do with the loss of more than a half dozen key seniors and perhaps the most important member of last year’s successful run, coach Brandon Schweitzer, as he stepped down to take an administrative position with the school.
The success of last year, however, is being used as a motivational tool for this year’s team.
“The trophy cases for Philly (Tyler Philpott) and James Maxwell – it’s a good reloader,” said new head coach David Powell, “We have a lot of young and skilled wrestlers this year, and it’s good for them to have something to live up to.”
Powell, a football coach, was asked to step in to take over the young team. As a heavily recruited offensive lineman out of high school, Powell was always too big for the mat; and although he has limited wrestling experience, the wrestlers still say he is an effective motivator, with assistant coach Russell Wilson handling the technical side.
“At first, having a new head coach was a little bit scary,” said junior Juan Vera. “But after getting into practice, I realized that it was more or less the same.”
Vera’s statements are brimming with confidence and rightfully so. As a sophomore, he reached the state final, only to lose in a close match to his friend and training partner from North Henderson, Vera’s former school. This year, Vera is a bright spot for the Wolverines and is considered the favorite for the state title, wrestling in the 113-weight class.
The Wolverines went into their scrimmage Friday, Nov. 18 hoping to silence the doubters with a scrimmage in which they split the team into two smaller groups.
The first match was a lightweight showdown between freshman Chris Meeks wrestling for the blue team, and sophomore Peyton “Goat” Gevadon for the white. Gevadon won in the second round of a close and evenly matched contest.
Senior Jose Ramirez used his blinding quickness to pin talented freshman Anthony Marino in the first as the blue team picked up another victory.
In a bout between first years, junior Alex Avgerinos defeated senior Dylan Walker in the second round. Sophomore and heavyweight hopeful Chase McMurray won his match easily in the first.
The match scene was far from whole as six wrestlers were kept off the mat with injuries, including key wrestlers such as Vera, John Modlin, Ethan Moore and Sean Corcoran.
When asked about the performance of his young team, Coach Powell said it was good.
“I like to see the high emotion and intensity,” Powell said. “It was great to see the intensity of the kids because they know that they are all fighting to start. It felt good.”
The Wolverines head to the Knights Invitation (NHHS) on Nov. 26. The squad’s first home match is Dec. 6 vs. Chase.

by William Trakas

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