Hampton wrestlers fight through adversity

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Friday, January 10, 2020 | 12:52 AM


The Hampton wrestling team features some of the top individuals in the WPIAL. The goal is to field one of the top teams, too.

The Talbots were 5-3, which included a recent 42-37 win over Fox Chapel, despite a depleted roster that leads to forfeits during dual meets.

But Hampton’s potential is beginning to be displayed.

“I really think we turned a corner,” coach Chris Hart said. “We can’t control forfeits. We try to bounce them around and compete really well. But I’m pleased with the amount of effort these guys are giving and the improvements they are making. They’re becoming better wrestlers and student-athletes.”

The Talbots were hampered by health issues last season.

That has not been a big concern this season, but the flu bug hit juniors Dawsen Dietz (285 pounds, 13-3 record) and Justin Hart (195, 10-3) before the annual Powerade Tournament on Dec. 27-28. Dietz and Hart expect to fare well at the WPIAL championships.

Both pushed their limits with strong results given their respective circumstances. Dietz went 6-2 with all six wins by pin. He finished fifth.

“He missed a week of practice with the flu,” Chris Hart said of Dietz. “We had a heart-to-heart conversation, and he didn’t practice leading up to it. He did some cardio, and we were worried he had a pneumonia, but it was bronchitis. … He came in the next morning and said ‘Coach, I want to give it a try.’ ”

Hart said Dietz wrestled his best at Powerade.

Justin Hart wasn’t as fortunate.

He showed up for weigh-ins unable to hold down food but still competed. The junior went 3-2, qualified for the seventh-place match before defaulting because of illness.

George Mason commit Ty Kocak (170) and San Francisco State commit Zach Wright (126) also lost in wrestlebacks, but Hart said both performed well against tough competition.

“It’s not about necessarily wins and losses,” coach Hart said. “Because you gain more from a loss than a win. Both those guys I think gained a lot of confidence, which will propel them for the postseason.”

Others contributors for Hampton include Cameron Rakar (106, 5-1), sophomore Jon Maguire (132, 3-7) and Gage Galuska (160, 7-3), Conrad Harold (182, 5-3), Jayden Resch (195, 1-1), Ryan Olszewski (126, 4-6) and Corey Scherer (170, 2-0), who is coming off of a major injury.

“All these tournaments and dual meets are leading up to the postseason,” Hart said. “That’s what we focus on in February”

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