Chartiers Valley wrestlers come together during unsual season

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Sunday, February 28, 2021 | 9:01 AM


Last year, the Chartiers Valley wrestling team won the fifth-place match in team sectionals and qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

This year, with only two teams from each section qualifying for the smaller district wrestling team tournament, the Colts missed out on the team postseason.

“From a dual meet record standpoint, obviously it could have gone better,” Chartiers Valley wrestling coach William Evans said. “Our school district only allowed us to wrestle dual events, no individual tournaments until the postseason. I wanted our team to compete in events like Powerade and other individual events.

“But we believed in the process and the decisions of our athletic director Mike Gavlik, our school district administrators and school board. It worked out in our favor. As a result, we were able to have a full practice and competition schedule for our team. As a result of everything we have had to deal with this year, our team, although often distanced, has been one of the closest teams that I have ever coached.”

From Day 1 of the winter sports season, various issues arose that limited the number of wrestlers able to participate for Chartiers Valley.

“There have been some situations that didn’t benefit our team, but were in the best interests of the wrestlers and their families,” Evans said. “We lost roughly 50% of our lineup to decisions of families as a result of covid-19. Many will be back next season, and I am looking forward to our 2021-22 team. Of course, it would have been nice to have them on the team this season.

“However, if their decisions kept those athletes and their families safe during the pandemic, I completely understand and respect their decisions. A few more dual meet victories would have been great, but in the grand scheme of things, their health and safety is paramount.”

Two Chartiers Valley wrestlers who qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA individual wrestling championships a year ago who returned this season are sophomore Dylan Evans and junior Christopher Beatty.

Both finished second in the recently completed Section 4-AAA tournament. Evans lost in the finals at 138 pounds to Cole Homet of Waynesburg, and Beatty lost in the finals at 160 pounds to Nate Stephenson of Waynesburg.

Even with fewer qualifiers, both earned a spot in last weekend’s district championship tournament.

“They are both very hard-working and talented wrestlers,” Evans said. “Christopher is a returning section champion from last year and has the toughness and grit to compete against anyone. He isn’t one of the top 3 favorites in the WPIAL at 160, but he is definitely a dark horse to go deep into the postseason.”

Dylan is Evans’ son, which always adds a different dynamic to any team.

“We definitely have our moments,” Coach Evans said. “There are good days and bad days for sure. This time of year, the lines between the father-son and coach-athlete relationship get blurred. Over the years, we have been through a lot together, so we have learned how to exist like this, but it doesn’t really get easier. We don’t have a mat at home. We try to leave the wrestling at the school as much as we can so that we can have some father and son time.”

“As he gets older, his expectations for himself get higher and higher. So as a coach, you have to push that athlete harder. Coach (Tim) McConnell coached his three children at Chartiers Valley, and we have talked at length about this. It can be a real challenge. But while I am pushing him to be the best wrestler that he can be, I’m also being a parent the other 20 or so hours a day.”

This was a young Chartiers Valley wrestling team, so the immediate future is a good one. Dylan Evans and Beatty return along with the likes of juniors Josh Sarasnick and Ashton Sadowski and sophomore Brady Joling, among others.

However, Coach Evans is proud of this year’s team and all it accomplished on and off the mat.

“Along with being a great group of hard-working kids, like most teams that I run into all over the WPIAL and PIAA, it is gratifying to coach a group of young men that are so committed to their academic and character development,” he said. “There are absolutely no discipline issues with this team and our starting seven or eight wrestlers have above a 4.0 GPA with their weighted GPA due to college or AP classes. They work hard in the classroom as well as on the mats. I couldn’t be more proud of those types of results. They are working to become champions on and off of the mat.”

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