YOUNGSVILLE, Pa. – Youngsville wrestling, like every other high school athletic program in Pennsylvania, is currently on hiatus due to the latest COVID-19 mitigation efforts in the commonwealth.
But when they finally do hit the mat this season, they’ll have something they haven’t had in several years – a full lineup.
“I’m excited for this season,” said Youngsville coach Paul Clough. “This will be the first time in quite a few years Youngsville will be able to put a full team on the mat. Most of the kids who wrestled last year are back. We have a good freshman class; combining them with a few new faces should allow us to have every weight class filled.”
That freshmen class is indeed good, and has strength in numbers with five wrestlers, tops with the sophomore class for most on the team.
The senior class, meanwhile, fields just two – Collin Clough and Damon Reese. Clough, after a strong postseason a year ago, has his sights set even higher in 2021.
“Collin has some high hopes,” his coach and father said. “Qualifying for regions and picking up a win there let him see what he’s capable of when he’s ‘on’. He’s been working since last season to try to earn a trip to states. If he consistently wrestles to his ability, I think he’s got a good chance. He’s continued to improve his strengths while shoring up some of his weaknesses. He’s been very driven by the realization that this is his last chance at making it to the big show.
“Damon Reese is our other senior. He’s incredibly strong and has improved quite a bit in the practice room. This is his third and final year wrestling, and I’m looking forward to seeing some good things for him this season.”
The Eagles did lose some talent from last years team, but, as their coach alluded to, have plenty returning. One of those is sophomore Alan McAllister, who will step into a key role this season.
“Last year’s regional-qualifying heavyweight, Jake DeSimone, graduated,” noted coach Clough. “Sophomore Alan McAllister will fill that role for us this year. Alan was an area champion and Jr. High state qualifier in eighth grade and we’re expecting him to step up to the challenge this year.
“We also lost Deven Morris, but with the changes to the upper weight classes PIAA made we’ve been able to juggle kids around to fill the spots.”
He pointed in particular to five wrestlers that should make a big impact this season.
“Sawyer Lawson was a district qualifier last season,” coach Clough said. “Cody Jespersen is an incoming freshman that qualified for Jr. High states last year in his first year of wrestling. Matt DeSimone is a very experienced incoming freshman that’s been to youth states more than once.
“Logan McDonald has taken some huge steps in the offseason since his first year last season. I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people this year. Caden McCune has also been putting in a lot of off-season work and could turn some heads.”
And when they do come back, it’s likely they’ll have to deal with some restrictions because of the virus.
It’s something that none of them are thrilled about, but understand the necessity in order to have a safe season.
“Nobody is excited about the COVID restrictions, but we all understand we have to do what we need to in order to try to see that this wrestling season happens,” Clough said. “We had a few kids who were wrestling last year that weren’t able to compete this year due to concerns with the coronavirus. We’ve got one that isn’t allowed to practice right now because of motherly virus concerns and another one that had to quit because of concerns from the home front.”
A look at the Eagels’ roster:
– Matt DeSimone
– Gavin Bundy
– Mason Henry
– Cody Jesperson
– Aidan Mancuso
– Caden McCune
– Logan McDonald
– Ian Mancuso
– Allyson Henry
– Alan McAllister
– Michael Crane
– Sawyer Lawson
– Colton Garris
– Collin Clough
– Damon Reese