Norwin’s DeAugustine eager to take wrestling program for spin

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Thursday, November 22, 2018 | 11:27 PM


For 14 years, former Hempfield wrestling coach Vince DeAugustine sat in his folding chair during matches against Norwin. Now, he’s changed chairs.

When DeAugustine took over as the Norwin coach last May, he took the reins of a stocked program. He is eager to build a winner.

“I’ve always been intrigued by the Norwin job, and they have an outstanding support from the administration, to the teachers, to the parents and alumni,” DeAugustine said. “It’s a program that I feel is getting ready to explode.”

The program is the equivalent to a “turn-key” business. The youth program already is established. The middle school and Junior Olympic programs are flourishing andfeed the varsity program some young top-notch talent that knows how to compete and win.

Two freshmen enter Norwin’s lineup this season: Chase Kranitz (132 pounds) and Luke Passarelli (113). DeAugustine is eager to coach the up-and-comers as both wrestlers are coming off of heralded middle school careers.

“Kranitz is a highly touted freshman, and I think he’s going to be a freshman that will turn some heads,” DeAugustine said.

DeAugustine likes the influx of young talent.

“The upperclassmen don’t want to lose a starting spot to a freshman, and the freshmen want to get in there,” DeAugustine said. “He’s like an Ivy Leaguer and a student of the game.

The Knights stand stout down the middle of the weight classes with three WPIAL qualifiers in sophomore John Altieri (132/138) and seniors Frankie Gill (138) and Bryce Long (152). Altieri (21-13 record), Gill (20-14) and Long (24-15) finished last season with winning records.

Senior letterman Luke Merkovsky (152) and junior Ryan Weinzen (170) also return. DeAugustine said he is looking forward to coaching Weinzen. Weinzen started last season by placing seventh at the Powerade tourney, but didn’t finish the season.

With any new coach comes new terminology, new philosophies and standards. DeAugustine brings strong a resume and prefers to keep things simple.

“Instead of teaching a system, I teach the kid,” DeAugustine said. “Each kid has a different talent.”

William Whalen is a freelance writer.

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