The Waynesburg wrestling team has a great opportunity in front of it. When they take the mat for the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championships Saturday, Feb. 15 at Washington & Jefferson College, the Jackets can win their fourth straight PAC championship.
Standing in their way, however, is host W&J, who Waynesburg beat 22-21 in January, and Thiel who Waynesburg defeated 26-12 on senior night.
Despite his team seemingly having everything going for it, coach Ron Headlee knows completing a ‘four-peat’ will be a challenge.
“We know it’s not going to be easy for us,” Headlee said. “I think our guys have gained momentum. They’re wrestling with a good bit of confidence after winning the dual meet part with W&J and Thiel. We’ve been working really hard in the room, and I like their attitudes.”
Senior Dan Verhovsek thinks anything less than a fourth straight championship would be a failure.
“Honestly, I think that it would be a let down if we did not complete it,” Verhovsek said. “That’s what we have been training for and working toward all season. So, we are going to give it our best shot.”
Since Waynesburg faced both Thiel and W&J, Headlee knows what his team needs to do to be successful again.
“We need [individual] champions. Last year we had five champions and that’s what won it for us,” Headlee said. “We’re going to need to find I think three or four champions and then a lot of second placers. Getting guys to the finals and find their way to get there is big for us.”
Verhovsek, who clinched the dual meet victory against Thiel with a 3-1 win, realizes the talent of Waynesburg’s competition.
“I think that both teams are very strong,” he said. “They were both picked in front of us in the [PAC] preseason poll. So that shows some of their strengths in itself. Both teams are loaded with talent, great wrestlers and have good coaching. They both have the ability to move wrestlers around to create match up problems for us.”
To beat W&J and Thiel, Verhovsek believes that every member of the team must be up to the task.
“It’s going to take a total team effort,” Verhovsek said. “One guy can’t just come in [and] win the whole thing for us. Each and every person needs to just come and wrestle the best they can. That’s what I’m going to do at least. I am just looking to do my best and if everyone does that, we should be able to win another PAC title.”
For Verhovsek and the rest of the seniors, it would mean the world to them if they were able to capture the PAC title for a fourth consecutive year.
“Every PAC tournament has been a battle for us throughout all four years,” Verhovsek said. “To be able to come out on top of those battles for four years would really be something that we can be proud of.”