Former Shaler Area wrestler returns as assistant coach to help bolster program

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Sunday, January 23, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Drew D’Agostino counts himself lucky.

Building a coaching staff after two years away from the Shaler wrestling program didn’t take interviewing many random applicants. The Titans were able to get some of the band back together when Mickey Moran, a 2004 Shaler graduate, relocated back to the district from New York.

Moran, who wrestled collegiately at the University at Buffalo, was happy to get back involved with the Titans.

“For me, wrestling was always a driving force for what I did,” Moran said. “In high school, I was so devoted to it that it ended up producing my college track. Wrestling at college helped turn it into my first job. It always seemed to be there for me. Not that I allow it to run my life, but it’s always at the forefront of the opportunities I had.”

Moran was a four-time section champion at 160 pounds for Shaler. He won the WPIAL title in 2003 and was the PIAA runner-up as a senior in 2004. Moran collected 144 career victories during his time with the Titans.

After his wrestling career stopped, Moran was the head coach at Williamsville North High School in New York. He was also an assistant at Lancaster High School and an assistant with Buffalo for one season.

D’Agostino was happy to bring Moran back after Shaler struggled with low numbers during the past two seasons.

The Titans were 1-9 last season, including an 0-4 mark in section matches.

“I was happy to have Mickey come onboard, he was part of teams that were WPIAL champs and so forth,” D’Agostino said. “We’re trying to instill in the kids the history of our program and that we have a great program. We’re trying to reestablish we are a premiere program. We’re going to be back and stronger in the next couple years.”

Shaler has started to lay the foundation to build back up. Team-wise, the Titans are 5-5 overall and 2-2 in section matches.

Sophomore Michael Ulery (160/172 pounds) already has five more victories this season, compiling an 11-7 record thus far.

Senior Mason Dibon has also shown immense improvement at 215 pounds.

Dibon, who in the past has wrestled at heavyweight, has a 16-4 record this season with seven pins. At the Allegheny County wrestling championships, Dibon reached the third-place match before losing 2-0 to Chartiers Valley’s Josh Sarasnick.

“Mason doesn’t just compete, he competes at every position,” Moran said.

“He’s tactical with how he approaches each match. He’s able to put together a game plan, and he doesn’t always have a lot of time to do it. At tournaments, you have 45 minutes to an hour between matches. He always seems to have a good game plan when he goes out there.”

Coaching at his alma mater wasn’t necessarily part of Moran’s game plan when he decided to move back home. While he described himself as an “active alumni” while away, Moran had no way of knowing there would be openings with the Titans when he returned.

But now he’s excited to have a role in helping get Shaler’s program back on its feet. Moran said it’s a two-fold approach.

“We want to make sure these guys enjoy their experience and take everything they can from the sport,” Moran said.

“At the same time, we want to implement the type of changes we need to build it into something it can be.”

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