Behind Division I recruits, young wrestlers ready to make impact for Chartiers Valley

Sunday, January 22, 2023 | 11:01 AM

It’s a young team on the mats at Chartiers Valley High School but a team longtime coach Bill Evans is watching develop in front of his eyes day after day.

The Colts are led by two future NCAA Division I wrestlers in Pitt commit Dylan Evans and Davidson College recruit Brady Joling. Beyond that, the Colts rely on several underclassmen.

“We have a ton of young guys … a lot of young blood in the room that are really tough,” Bill Evans said. “So, Dylan and Brady are returning state qualifiers, but we have a crop of some really tough, young kids. We’re going to be a pain in the neck in a few years.”

Entering the week of Jan. 15, the Colts were 2-4 overall and 0-3 in Section 3-5A matches. They are mathematically eliminated from team playoff contention, but that has allowed the Colts to turn an eye to development.

Freshman Michael Lawrence has eight wins — four by fall. Sophomore Logan Connolly has seven wins. Junior Tyler Glover is over from football, wrestling at 215 pounds, and is 7-2 with six wins by fall. Morgan Silberman is another freshman who is starting to come out of his shell a bit, according to the coach. Silberman has five wins so far.

Other wrestlers Evans and his staff are excited about are sophomores Howard Clellen and Tamerlan Kapitonov.

“These guys are sponges who love wrestling and learning,” Bill Evans said. “You have to have those guys that look forward to coming to the mat every day. We had kids move in, and it’s a challenge to get everyone to jell together, but they’re a team.”

The youthful nature of the group may show at times with mistakes, but Bill Evans said he expects that.

“We make a ton of freshman mistakes, but we have a ton of good kids,” he said. “We run into that sometimes. Freshmen in general are habitually bad on bottom because they don’t really understand it yet, so they take some time to figure out how to wrestle from the bottom.”

That’s not to say a young group can’t have success. They’ve had it at Chartiers Valley as recently as the girls basketball team seeing a class go 110-7 with four section titles, three WPIAL titles and success at the state level.

“It’s a mixed bag. We’re freshman- and sophomore-heavy, so that will carry us, but it’s hit or miss. You might get a big class soon. It’s weird,” Bill Evans said. “We’ve had teams at Chartiers Valley that have been young and very good. Look at the girls basketball team. That group was young at one point but still having success.”

Bill Evans expects Dylan Evans and Joling to have more success at the district championships and at the state level. He also thinks Lawrence could be a tough competitor at the WPIAL level in a little over a month.

He expects Dylan Evans and Joling to continue to lead before turning their attention to individual tournaments. Joling is starting to close in on 100 career wins as well.

“Dylan and Brady, just being veterans, know they’re training for March, so they kind of have a mindset of helping the newer guys and work on some things now,” Evans said. “As we get closer to the end of the season, they’ll get a little more selfish, which I expect and that’s fine.”

In the end, the young group has time now to focus on development, which the coach is excited about.

“Being successful as a team in the sport of wrestling is tough. You have to have some depth because kids are going to get hurt. You have to have experience. … There are so many intangibles,” Evans said. “We’re going to go out there to compete, but we are focused on development. That’s a good thing.”


More High School Sports

Penn-Trafford’s Lett, Hempfield’s Prola get unexpected wins at Lady Spartan/Wildcat Invitational
WPIAL softball rankings: Week ending April 14, 2024
WPIAL baseball rankings: Week ending April 14, 2024
A-K Valley athletes of the week: Fox Chapel’s Jillian Haigh, Valley’s Alex Vagnier
After taste of success, Norwin volleyball wants more