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Freshmen Position Tribe for Success
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2023-11-29

            Expectations for Upper Perkiomen's boys wrestling team have been heightened. Head coach Steve Adam is aiming for a home match in the District One Class 3A team duals.

Branden Rozanski and Zane Saeger compete dur-

ing practice ealier this week.

            "I'm real excited for this group," the coach said. "I believe there's a lot of success coming in our future. We're going to be prepared. We're going to be up for the challenge."

            For the first time during Adam's tenure, the Indians will not forfeit any matches. According to the coach, a talented freshman class will allow them to fill all 13 weight classes. "I think we're going to surprise a few teams," Adam said.

            With five returners who posted at least 25 victories last season – and three who reached 30, including Branden Rozanski, a two-time state qualifier – along with a rugged schedule, Adam has targeted a top eight seed in the district duals tourney.

            "Anything else would be a disappointment," he said.

            For Rozanski, the team's top performer, the only acceptable option to finish his high school career would be to reach the medal stand at the PIAA Championships. Rozanski, who should reach 100 career victories in mid-January, is more determined than ever to finish in the top eight.

            Rozanski (36-7), Gabriel Tulone (32-11), Ben Godshall (30-10) Brandon Godshall (27-12) and Gabe Sanfelice (25-16) – all of whom qualified for regionals last season – lead a core of eight returning starters.

            On Saturday, the Tribe's lineup for the season opening Roughriders Tournament at Catasauqua High School could include seven ninth graders. Sean Murray could be the best of the class, according to Adam.

            "When you see his work ethic, you just know Sean is going to have a big impact," the coach said of Murray, who went 9-2 during two seasons on the middle school team, including a 6-0 record last season with four pins. "He wrestles year-round at a high level of competition."

            The Indians' strength should be in the lighter weights. Kia Finger, one of seven ninth graders on the roster, will start the season at 107 pounds. He should be challenged after Christmas by classmate Brandon Quinton, according to Adam.

            Tulone will return at 114 pounds. Ben Godshall, a sophomore, is expected to line up at 121.

            Adam provided three potential options for 127 pounds: sophomore Joseph Schmittinger and ninth graders Brennan Rooney and Murray. Brandon Godshall will follow one of them at 133.

            Rozanski, who will start the season at 139 pounds, needs 20 wins to reach the century mark. Adam revealed the wrestler is constantly working to perfect certain pieces of a specific move. Adam said improving his scramble technique is a priority.

            "Branden has all the tools," the coach said of Rozanski, who has one win in five career bouts in Hershey. "There are no weaknesses to his game. Wrestling in Pennsylvania is really hard."

The heavier weights will feature numerous inexperienced performers. Zane Saeger bulked up over the off-season and will participate at 152. He went 16-10 at 121 and 127 pounds last season as a ninth-grader.

            Drew Bennett, who competed at 152 pounds last season, will line up at 189. Sanfelice will wrestle at 145 pounds. Roy Cobb, who went 17-7 last season, could fill in at other middleweights.

            Dominic Wolf, a ninth grader, rounds out the crowded field at 145 pounds. Adam assigned two other freshmen, Ben Martin and Xavier Lopez, to the middle school team.

            "It pained me to have to do that," the coach said. "They both have a high upside and are hard workers."

            The rest of the spots will likely be filled by ninth graders. Dylan Bieber and Aiden Pena are both contending at 160 pounds. One of them may have to slide up to fill the 172-pound class.

            Erin Coates will wrestle at 215 pounds. Dylan Marshall should fill the heavyweight slot.

            "I finally have my heavyweight," the coach said of Marshall. "He was the anchor of the offensive line for the football team, and he knows how to wrestle."


 

 

 

 

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