Last year Saugerties High School wrestling head coach Dominic Zarrella was concerned about his team of young grapplers. For the most part they were freshman and sophomores; that group ended up coming together rather well finishing with a record of 16-7, and a division title.
Those kids are one year older and of these sophomores and juniors with a few freshmen and one or two seniors sprinkled in, Zarrella is still wondering if his team will come together.
“We’re kind of thin in the lower weight classes such as 106 and 120, but are well stocked in the higher weight groups,” he said.
One of the school’s huge successes, the football team’s 7-2 record and it’s run up into the Sections, is something Zarrella is hoping will inspire his team, which includes a number of those football players.
Zarrella, who was also the head coach of the football team says, “Anytime you experience that type of success it can translate into the classroom, to other teams, and hopefully to this wrestling team.”
Two of the captains of the team were two of the football team’s leaders, quarterback Matt Bucci, who will wrestle at 160, and running back James Ball, who will wrestle at either 195 or 220 pounds.
The two shared Zarrella’s belief that the football team’s success would carry over to the wrestling team.
Bucci said, “that as a captain we’ll be sharing that success and telling the members of the wrestling team that weren’t football players what it was like and hope to inspire them.”
“You see them working harder in the weight room, and in practice. We have the experience of winning and now we want to build on it,” Ball added.
In addition to Ball and Bucci, the third captain of the team is Sam Spiers, who Zarrella says is ready to have a “break out year.”
He’s also looking for big years from Colby Amell and James Heinlein, in the lighter weights, along with Anthony Owen and heavy weight Peter Leser.
“Cornwall and Wallkill will be tough again, as they are every year,” Zarrella, and he expects Monticello, and Goshen to provide tough contests as well.
“But we should be alright, and the kids will have fun,” he concluded.
The Sawyer grapplers open their season at Newburgh Free Academy on November 30.