CURWENSVILLE — Curwensville Wrestling enters the 2018-19 season in the middle of rebuilding their entire program from the top to the bottom. This year, they had 11 wrestlers come out for the team, of which eight are returning letter winners.
While Curwensville expects to give up five forfeits each match, head coach Dean Swatsworth isn’t concerned with the outcome on the scoreboards. He knows that in order to win any dual meets, he’ll need to come from behind from a 30-0 deficit in each match. Instead, Coach Swatsworth is placing his time and focus on developing his wrestlers to each do their best, and he’s told his team that they can keep score on the actual head-to-head matches wrestled.
Coach Swatsworth has found recent shots of success with assistant coach Johnny Sutika. They produced two state place-winners at last year’s PIAA AA State Wrestling Championships. Last year, senior Steven McClure placed fourth to bring honor to his school and community, and his teammate Blake Passarelli placed eighth as a junior.
Passarelli is a decorated wrestler who placed eighth at states last year after also qualifying for the tournament as a freshman and sophomore. He comes into his senior year with an 88-26 career record following a 30-8 junior campaign. He expects to start the season at 126 pounds but should drop to 120 by January. Passarelli will be helping freshman Jacob Carfley and Spencer Hoover improve and learn to compete at the varsity level, as they fill in at 106 and 113 this season.
Other returning letter winners this year include juniors Zach Holland and Adam Straw at 138. Holland had an impressive run as a sophomore last year, going 20-7 and earning a trip to the Northwest Regional tournament. He showed many moments of pure athleticism, but he is currently coming off of a knee surgery and hasn’t been cleared to practice yet. Adam Straw has grown as well, and looks to improve upon his 13-12 season.
Jake McCracken will return after a very impressive freshman season where he reached the 20 win plateau in districts before losing out at 152, and he’ll return in good form this season at 170 before he eventually drops down in weight from the football season. Cole Bressler will work around his weight, returning as a senior for his final outgoing. He went 13-15 last year, but he wrestled tough in many matches. Also included in this weight cluster is Caleb Stiles, a junior who went 2-9 last year.
Nick Holbert and Gage Roos round out the returning letter winners as the only upperweight wrestlers on the team. Both of them are juniors who are still fairly new to the sport, but they work hard and give it 100% every day.
Though Curwensville has a small roster, they have seen growth in terms of their youth turnout which is sporting close to 50 wrestlers in their practice room between kindergarten and sixth grade. The young men in the practice room want to be there and are working hard every day to improve themselves mentally and physically. They will rely on their leaders to help strengthen each other as the experience on the team ranges from being novices to wrestling at a state caliber with hopes of medalling in Hershey.
Curwensville wrestling kicks off their season on December 13 when they wrestle away at Redbank Valley.
|12/13||@ Redbank Valley|
|12/15||@ Ridgway Duals|
|12/29||@ Redbank Valley Duals|
|01/05||@ Bo Wood Individual|
|01/25 & 26||@ Grove City Tournament|
|01/31||@ West Branch|
|02/02||@ District IX Team Duals (DuBois)|
|02/22 & 23||District IX Tournament (Clearfield)|
|03/01 & 02||Regional Tournament (Sharon)|
|03/07 – 09||PIAA AA State Tournament (Hershey)|