Paupack wrestling coach Steve Krushnowski says this may be his best team ever
Steve Krushnowski has been the face of Buckhorns wrestling for the past 14 years.
Over the course of that time, Wallenpaupack Area's varsity coach has led his team to success at both the Lackawanna League and District Two levels.
Experience has made him a shrewd judge of character and an accurate assessor of talent. So, when Coach Krushnowski makes a bold statement this early in the season, folks tend to pay attention.
"This is the best team I've ever had," he said during a short break at Monday's sweat-soaked practice session.
"I'm incredibly excited to get going. The kids have been working hard since the end of last season and they're pumped. It's their time. They want to win and win big."
The Buckhorns will get that chance soon.
Paupack opens its exhibition slate Saturday morning at Pocono Mountain East. The local lads compete in their first invitational on at Wyalusing (Dec. 7), then kick off the dual meet season at archrival Honesdale (Dec. 12).
Let's just be honest, shall we?
Paupack is loaded. The Buckhorns went 14-8 last year and they return 12 starters. Even more impressively, only three of those 12 are seniors.
They feature a pair of bona fide All State studs, a half-dozen battle-tested veterans and a slew of wildly talented youngsters.
Chase Gallik and Jared Wehrmann will be at the forefront of Paupack's attack this winter. Both are juniors and each will enter the season ranked among PA's top wrestlers.
Gallik is a coach's dream. Chase is already one of the most decorated grapplers in Paupack history. After just two years, he's piled up 60 wins and made two trips to the Eastern Regional Tournament.
In addition, Gallik is as smart as they come. In a sport know more for nrute strength than intelligence, Chase is an exception. He's ranked #1 academically and on pace to be his class valedictorian.
"Honestly, I don't even know where to begin with Chase," Coach Krushnowski said with a chuckle. "He's just a great kid ... an incredibly talented wrestler and a student of the sport. Chase is going to have a huge season."
When Gallik hits the mat for the first time next weekend, he will do so as the #14th ranked wrestler at 138 pounds.
Wehrmann's resume is every bit as impressive.
Jared hammered out at least 30 wins in each of his first two varsity seasons. He went 30-10 last winter, recorded 15 falls and finished fourth at regionals.
On the heels of a summer spent honing his skills at a nationally-renown camp, Wehrmann will open his junior campaign ranked #12 in the state at 182.
"Jared worked so hard to re-vamp his game during the off-season," said Coach Krushnowski. "He came back from camp with a new stance and a new shot. I'm looking for really big things from Jared this year."
Scott Frick and Andrew Demchuk will also be playing major roles for Paupack this winter.
Frick is a sophomore who'll be competing at 170. Todd gained valuable experience as a frosh at the varsity level. He posted 16 wins last year, 12 of which came via fall.
"I think Fricky is probably the toughest kid on the team," Coach Krushnowski said. "Heck, he might be the toughest kid in the whole school. "Fricky is a throwback, old school wrestler. He's tough, he's physical and he's mean."
Demchuk battled his way to 14 wins at 113 pounds as a sophomore and will move up to 120 as a junior.
"The two things that really stand out about Andrew are that he's smooth and fast," said Coach Krushnowski. "He's also very focused and physical. You get a full six minutes from Andrew every time he steps on the mat."
Seniors Scott Sives (152), Ryan Tarantino (132) and Kenny Roman (Hwt) are also expected to be leaders on the mat and off.