The Waynesburg University wrestling team made its long awaited debut for the 2021 season against Garrett College.
It was senior night, but it wasn’t a good night for seniors Marco Parry, Josh Kumer, and Dan Booth, who went a combined 0-4 on the night including exhibitions.
Waynesburg didn’t need its seniors to carry the load. The power of youth prevailed for the Yellow Jackets in the 24-12 win over the Lakers.
The match started with sophomore Noah Grossnickle making his debut at 125. Grossnickle won in overtime to start the Yellow Jackets on the right track.
Harley Constable and freshman Alex Coppolo kept the ball rolling for Waynesburg to start the match up 12 to nothing. Coppolo pinned Brady Villa, a Shippensburg University transfer and a guy the Waynesburg coaching staff had an eye on.
“Alex had a really good match,” Waynesburg coach Ron Headlee said. “He came out and did a great job in controlling his match while looking confident out there.”
Waynesburg saw its first loss when Justice Hefley spoiled Marco Parry’s senior night with an 8-4 win.
The Yellow Jackets and Colby Morris righted the ship. Morris went to war with a Division I transfer in Trey Weinell.
Morris came away victorious 6-2 and extended Waynesburg’s lead 15-3.
“There was definitely first match jitters,” Morris said. “My plan was to tire him out with hand fighting. It was a good battle.”
Freshman Trevor Verkleeren faced off with another freshman in Noah Korenoski. Verkleeren won 8-2 and impressed Waynesburg head coach Ron Headlee in the process.
“Trevor wrestled really well,” Headlee said. “I thought he was solid in a tough match.”
Waynesburg dropped two matches straight. Garrett College inched closer and only trailed 18-12 heading into the final two matches.
The roommate duo of Luke Lavanway and Rocky McGeary sealed the deal for the Yellow Jackets.
Lavanway came away with a 9-6 win. McGeary started off sluggish and won 3-1. McGeary got his feet under him in an extra match with a pin.
“My timing and confidence really wasn’t there in my first match,” McGeary said. “I’m not upset, there are just areas in which I can work on.”
McGeary was just thrilled to get back on the mat after COVID-19 and an off-season foot surgery made his sophomore debut delayed by 11 months.
“It feels really good competing and watching my team compete,” McGeary said. “We haven’t had the opportunity to wrestle like most other teams in the country.”
It’s unclear on how the rest of the season will look for the Yellow Jackets, but the one clear thing is that Waynesburg is 1-0 on the season.