The value of hard work and not being afraid to take risks in life is a lesson Elk Lake wrestling coach Rob Gagliardi hopes to impart upon his athletes.
Wrestling is a sport that fosters teamwork as well as individual goals.
For the past few years, the Warriors have not been able to complete a roster, and have had to forfeit many classes throughout a meet. Gagliardi is hoping, with new additions and freshmen, to remedy that problem.
“One of our goals this season is to fill 10-11 of the 14 weight classes throughout the season. This will be a vast improvement since I began coaching at Elk Lake. I expect our kids to continue to work hard and push themselves not just on the mat, but in the classroom. I expect to be a league competitor and hopefully get a few wrestlers to the regional tournament,” said Gagliardi.
He added, “Noah Atkins has had a great offseason, finding success as a first year cross country athlete. He pushes not only himself in the room everyday, but also the rest of his teammates. I am excited to see his leadership this year on the team and his wrestling success this season.”
Elk Lake lost five grapplers to graduation last year and is only returning six with varsity experience, none of whom are seniors.
Gagliardi is looking forward to a challenging schedule as well. “We will be looking forward to heading back to the Dan Wickham Classic tournament in New York which we could not attend last year because of weather. Moreover, we will be attending an individual tournament in South Williamsport for the first time this year which should offer great competition.”
The Warriors have traditionally had one or two standout performers in recent years, and this year, Gagliardi is looking forward to a new crop of wrestlers to hit the mat- including Todd Snyder, who had a successful junior high season at 132 last year.
Gagliardi added, “Our athletes were some of the hardest working of the last few years, but not being able to field a full lineup makes it hard to compete as a team. We had some individual success last season, and look for more improvement and growth this year.”
But the Warriors are not without their own issues. “Our athletes tend to revert back to some poor technique habits that they may have had success with at a younger age, but do not work as well at this level,” revealed Gagliardi.
The team’s main strength would be the conditioning as a team. The wrestlers work very hard during practices and the coach feels that needs to be kept as a priority. “I am trying to work with them on preparing more for the mental side of the sport, but we are also refining our skills and technique continually to try to improve our wrestling,” said the five year head coach.
Gagliardi feels the team’s conditioning and ability to fight for a full six minutes can set the Warriors above other teams this season.
Elk Lake practices after school in the mat room in the elementary school and competes in the elementary gymnasium.
Roster: Juniors Thaddeus Woodhead, Jared Kerchner, Noah Atkins, Dakota Barber, and Herbert Roe. Sophomores Mason Pryor, Jacob Yetter, Kaleb Bennett, Josh Skinner, Kellen Wescott and Nik Canfield. Freshmen Todd Snyder, Reid Whipple, Codi Bomboy, Terrence Brozonis, Wyatt Wood, Alex Rumage, Adison Noble, and Erick Skinner.
Schedule: Dec. 8 at Wyalusing Duals; Dec.12 vs. Lackawanna Trail, 7 p.m.; Dec. 15 at Lackawanna League Tournament at Wallenpaupack; Dec. 28-29 at Tunkhannock Holiday Tournament at Tunkhannock; Jan. 3 vs. Montrose 7 p.m.; Jan. 5 at South Williamsport Tournament; Jan. 9 vs. Blue Ridge, 7 p.m.; Jan.12 at the Wickham Classic in New York; Jan. 16 vs. Mountain View, 7 p.m.; Jan. 26 at Northeast Bradford Duals; Jan. 29 at Sayre, 7 p.m.; Jan. 30 District 2 AA Duals; Feb. 2 District 2 AA Duals; Feb. 16 at Western Wayne, 1 p.m.; Feb. 22-23 District 2 AA Districts at Kingston Armory; March 1-2 Northeast AA Regionals at Williamsport; March 7-9 PIAA AA States at Hershey.