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Just one year after being reinstated as a varsity sport, the Western Reserve Academy wrestling squad posted a 10-5 record during the 2013-14 season, including a win in its first home wrestling match in three years.
The Pioneers finished the season strong with back-to-back wins against University School (Hunting Valley) and Hawken School (Gates Mills) and also posted a third-place finish at the Dean Kinley Invitational Tournament at Cleveland Central Catholic High School.
"The year was a reflection of the fact that we doubled in size from 14 wrestlers to 25," head coach Dave Farrell said. "We have the student population buying into the program and they can see what we are trying to accomplish.
"This year was more about proving ourselves and we battled a couple of schools really close. I think we went from feeling good about what we are doing to establishing ourselves."
The team was led by Most Valuable Wrestler and co-captain Robert Head, who went 18-1 on the season; sophomores Billy Walsh (21-5), Nick Farrell (17-4), a Hudson resident (Hudson) and Marcos Lopez (named Most Improved Wrestler); and senior Spencer Chlebina, a Hudson resident who was named the recipient of the Coaches/Spirit Award.
Now that the Pioneers have established themselves as a competitive team, they are planning to expand the program even further. They hope to compete at the Prep Nationals qualifying tournament at Mercersburg Academy (Pa.).
"We need to keep the buzz going for next year," Farrell said. "We need to keep the guys engaged in the program and get enough boys to try out for the team.
"If we do, then we will find wrestlers. We also a want a few more home matches and are looking for other teams to approach us because they want to be a part of what we are doing here at WRA."