STRASBURG ― Strasburg is celebrating its 50th season as a wrestling program this year. The team hopes to do that in style with another strong year.
Strasburg head coach Mike Wood said the Rams have some strong returners as well as some promising newcomers.
Leading the list of returners is junior Peyton Stickles, who finished second last year at 126 pounds in the Class 2 State Championships for the second year in a row.
Stickles said he is motivated to win a state title this year.
“It gives me something to work toward,” Stickles said. “I don’t want to get second three years in a row. I’ve got that drive to get first.”
Junior Alec Campbell finished third at 145 pounds, and sophomore Jaylon Burks was third at 126 pounds at last year’s Class 2 State Championships. Both return this season as does senior Austin Stickles, who also advanced to the Class 2 State Championships at 106 pounds.
Strasburg junior Chase Hart, who placed sixth at 170 pounds last year, decided not to wrestle this season.
Wood said freshmen Anakin Burks and Cole Ramey could also have successful seasons for the Rams.
“They’re poised, if we get them in the right weight classes, to possibly do some good for us this year,” Wood said.
Wood said there are some other wrestlers that were on the verge of making the state tournament last year that he thinks can do well this year including sophomores Zach Asher and Collin Reynolds.
Seniors Levi Miller and Greg Mason are back out for wrestling after not participating last season. Miller is wrestling for the first time since his freshman year, and Mason wrestled two years ago for the Rams.
Wood said he’s been impressed with junior Luke Jenkins this season as well.
“Luke has improved tremendously and is going to help fill us out at the top,” Wood said.
The Rams have struggled to have wrestlers at the heavyweight classes in the past, but with Jenkins (220) and Miller (285), that shouldn’t be a problem this season.
Wood, who is in his sixth year as Strasburg head coach, said they should come close to filling out the 14-man lineup this season. However, he said they should do better in the individual meets than the dual meets.
The Rams finished sixth last season as a team, after finishing either second or third three years in a row. Wood said he believes they should improve on that this season and the future looks bright for the program. He said his goal is always to have around five or six kids in each class. The Rams have six freshmen on the team this year.
“That junior class is a good group for us,” Wood said. “They’re going to bring good senior leadership for us next year and then it’s just going to fall right down the line.”
Strasburg opens its season on Dec. 5 in a tri-match with Woodgrove at James Wood.
Wood said he is closing in on a personal milestone as he has around 280 wins as a coach between Strasburg and other teams he coached in Pennsylvania.
He said he believes Strasburg is also closing in on its 800th win as a program.
With so many milestones around the corner for the program, Peyton Stickles said it’s nice being a part of the Strasburg wrestling tradition.
“My family has all wrestled throughout the years here at Strasburg,” he said. “And it’s great just to be here for the 50th year.”