At Central Bucks South, it’s not about results. Instead, it’s about attrition and culture.
First-year head coach Chris Meister is willing to endure the growing pains in order to reshape the program into a consistent winner.
He already has taken some major steps along the way. For the first time in five years, the Titans were able to field a full lineup.
“That was a team goal and a milestone for us,” said Meister, who was a standout at Archbishop Wood and was the head coach there for six years. “It took some doing, but we worked to accomplish it.”
Meister has a young flock to develop, having 10 freshmen and five sophomores from his 21-grappler varsity unit.
He also isn’t shy about tossing the Titans into the fire, as they have endured a battle-tested schedule with the always competitive Battle at Germantown, Chambersburg’s My House Duals, Council Rock North’s Rock Yard Duals and the Eastern York Duals on the docket this year.
The Titans did have a respectable seventh-place team finish at the Suburban One League (SOL) Continental Conference Championships Jan. 25. They concluded their regular season with two wins after a 42-35 loss to Chichester Tuesday night.
“We want to wrestle the best competition out there,” stressed Meister. “We’re all about getting experience right now.
“It is about trying to get some lineage along the way and grow the culture. We already see some of the guys beginning to meet their potential. It’s hard now because things are more down than up. But the kids are buying in, and we’ll have some big transition years ahead.”
Meister is optimistic about the chances of lone senior 138-pounder Dominic Stoughton, who has a 24-4 mark with 13 falls after a 33-win season last year. He took second place at the SOL championships.
“He’s a hard worker and intense,” said Meister about Stoughton. “He wasn’t that far off from states last year. We believe he can hang in there to get to states.”
Freshmen 113-pounder Gabe Whittington and 152-pounder Skylar Speak have been progressing as well as sophomore 170-pounder Mark Hetrick. Junior 285-pounder Aaron Collachi was second and freshman 182-pounder Eddie McDonald was fourth at the SOL meet.
“We as coaches love and live and die with the sport, and the boys are starting to get that feeling,” stated Meister. “We can see them grow, and we know it takes time. They realize that this is more intense and there is more accountability.
“Everything is more positive and they are starting to see what they can do. They know they need to stay the course.”
With the postseason in two weeks, Meister and his team are confident they will see some immediate results and some more favorable ones in the future.
In addition, Meister can see improvement in the district’s middle school programs. He credits his coaching staff of Kevin Reilly, Erich Meister, Dillon Evans, and Newt Hill along with middle school/youth coordinator Dan McCauley for helping to cultivate the program.
“We believe we can get out of the wrestle purgatory the program has been in,” said Meister. “We have had great support and growing success from our youth and middle school programs. We’re getting more seventh- and eighth-graders involved.
“Our kids will battle at districts and we should see some good results. Whatever happens, we all believe we are on the right track.”