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Upper Perkiomen Wrestling Team Gearing Up for Season Despite Limited Numbers
Written by Bradley Schlegel Correspondent
2015-11-24

Saturday morning Indian wrestlers got their first taste of competition this season with a multi-team scrimmage at Upper Perk. Above, Mike Modugno, on top, wrestles an opponent in a two-minute bout at 200 pounds.

        Numbers for the Upper Perkiomen wrestling team are down for the second straight season. The team will likely forfeit at least two matches in every bout, according to head coach Sam Walters.

        "We only have 12 wrestlers," he said. "We didn't gain any freshmen this year."

        According to Walters, the Indians' entire roster competed at the varsity level in 2015. He called the whole group quality performers.

        "They all have experience," Walters said. "They are all pretty good wrestlers."

        The coach identified Mike Modugno and Mike Felix as the Indians' top returners. Walters said both wrestlers, who qualified for the regional tournament last season, are legitimate contenders for the PIAA Tournament.

        "It's the next logical step for both of those guys," Walters said. "I'm expecting big things."

        Upper Perkiomen's healthy wrestlers who participated in Saturday's scrimmage against visiting Council Rock North, Souderton and LaSalle performed well, according to Walters.

        The coach said Modugno's strength is on his feet, though Walters added that he has not seen anybody able to hold the junior down.

        Modugno, who finished fourth in the District One Class AAA tournament at 220 pounds in February, discovered a weakness during the controlled practice.

        "I have to work on escaping when I am on the bottom," he said. "It's a matter of want to, keep moving and digging deep."

        Since qualifying for regionals last season and finishing with an 18-19 record, Modugno has made significant strides, according to Walters.

        "Mike is much improved," the coach said. "He's stronger and he's worked out all summer. His intensity and drive are way up, too."

        Modugno, who has set the personal goal of winning a medal at states, says he's become more aggressive on the mat, and that his defense has improved.

        "I think I am applying more pressure on top," he said. "Mental toughness is the key. The goal is to break your opponent."

        Felix, a senior who finished fourth at 170 pounds in the district tournament at Spring-Ford, relies on solid technique to succeed, according to Walters.

        "Mike is so conditioned," the coach said of Felix, who finished his junior season with consecutive losses at the Southeast Regional tournament. "He uses his stamina to wear guys down."

        The team that lost five seniors to graduation, including state qualifiers Dustin Steffenino and Eric Miller, should be competitive in the Pioneer Athletic Conference, according to Walters.

        "Even with our numbers down, we should be in the middle of the conference," said the coach, who labeled Boyertown as the top team. "We should be able to beat some of those teams with our quality guys."

        Sophomores Jared Kuhns (106 pounds) and Jarek Svanson (113), along with junior Jacob Folk, each qualified for the last season's district tournament.

        According to Walters, the team will eventually benefit from the 30-member wrestling team at the middle school.

        "Right now we're hurting for numbers, and we knew it was coming," the coach said. "But once we get through this lull, we will restock in a year or two."


 

 

 

 

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