Faith Christian head wrestling coach Ben Clymer isn’t overly concerned with his team’s recent performance in the Battle at Bethlehem Duals at Freedom High School in which the Lions went 2-3 overall.
He knows it is about the bigger picture down the road.
“We still have about three-and-a-half months left to keep learning and figuring out where we will be at the end,” said Clymer. “We ended up forfeiting six weight classes in the duals, some during the matches due to injuries.
“We have major expectations for our guys, and we know they will grow later in the year. Still, we had a number of individuals who did well.”
Sophomore Eric Alderfer (120) and seniors Max Schultz (160) and Britton Walter (170) all finished undefeated in the duals with overall 5-0 records.
Alderfer (39-10) was second in districts and fifth in regionals last year; Schultz (27-16) was third in districts last year; and Walter (15-18) also was third in districts.
“It’s a good start for those guys,” noted Clymer about the trio. “They all gained experience last year, and they know how to respond and take charge.”
Senior Isaiah Vizcarrondo (138) and freshman Lincoln Hower (132) ended the day with 4-1 and 3-2 records, respectively. Vizcarrondo finished second in districts last year and had an overall 27-14 mark.
Clymer also expects to have seniors Damon Waltenbaugh and Zion Bartholomew back in the lineup soon as both of them suffered injuries from the soccer season. Waltenbaugh was a district champion last year and was fourth in regionals.
The four-year head coach and former state high school champion also has high aspirations for junior Jake Kurlak and sophomore Leo Muzika, both of whom missed the majority of last season due to injuries. Muzika had a breakthrough year as a freshman with a 27-16 overall record and a third-place finish in districts.
With six seniors and a highly touted group of underclassmen, the Lions should again find themselves in the hunt at district and state duals as well as achieving success on the individual level.
“We have a good group of seniors and enough talented underclassmen to keep us right there,” said Clymer, who is the school’s athletic director. “We have some injuries now, but we expect to have a solid lineup when we are healthy.
“We see some of our younger kids developing quickly. Our junior high program looks pretty solid.”
The Lions are anxious to unveil their new gymnasium Dec. 17 against Methacton, a team that has beaten them the past two years. From there, they will end the month with the BAL Duals Dec. 19 and finish with tournaments in Wilkes-Barre and Bethlehem.
Initially, their gymnasium was scheduled to be unveiled against Coatesville Dec. 11, but there were still some final touches needed for the two-year project.
“We’re really excited about finally getting in our new gym,” boasted Clymer. “We are also anxious to meet Methacton and to rock and roll. We want to put it on them for beating us the last two years.
“We feel pretty good about where we can be if we can have a good showing the rest of the month.”