Quaker Valley wrestling aims to reach new milestones

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Sunday, December 3, 2023 | 11:01 AM


The strong just keep getting stronger.

Quaker Valley’s wrestling team compiled a 15-6 record in 2022-23 that included a section title with a 6-0 mark.

And the Quakers have eight wrestlers — including WPIAL Class 2A champion Jack Kazalas — back from last year’s winning group.

“We expect to be competitive in the team and individual postseasons,” QV coach Austin Heinl said. “We expect to compete at a high level this season and achieve new milestones for our program.”

While the 121-pound Kazalas, a senior who was a PIAA medalist in his sophomore season, heads the list of experienced grapplers, there are many more names of talented athletes to discuss.

Other returning starters consist of sophomore Bruce Anderchak (107), senior Isaac Maccaglia (114), sophomore Eoin Parnell (139), juniors Jack Diemert (152) and Marcus Richey (160), sophomore Kris Brown (189) and senior Chase Kretzler (215).

“On top of the eight starters returning, we have a couple guys, juniors Grant Castaldo and Wyatt Hamm, who have been on the team the last two years that are going to crack the lineup on a consistent basis,” Heinl said. ”Grant and Wyatt have come a long way development-wise so I’m excited to see how they do this year.”

Castaldo and Hamm were varsity lettermen in 2022-23.

QV’s team captains consist of Kazalas, Anderchak, a regional qualifier last season, and Richey. Kazalas and Anderchak are both Division I prospects.

Kazalas is a two-time section titlist and owns a 106-21 career record with 51 falls including seven technical falls. He was 38-5 last year after finishing 40-8 and 28-8 in his first two seasons with the Quakers and is chasing all-time wins leader Patrick Cutchember (141).

“Jack is also on pace to be our program’s first four-time state qualifier,” Heinl said. “He is looking bigger and stronger since last season at 121 pounds.”

Kazalas has finished second, fourth and first in the WPIAL and third three times at the regional tournament.

Last year, he defeated McGuffey freshman Lucas Barr, 8-6, in the WPIAL championship match. Kazalas started his bracket run with a fall in 1:17, then topped his next two competitors via 15-9 and 10-0 scores.

“A team expectation is to be in the Final Four again,” Kazalas said, “and ultimately to win it all. I think our team has greatly improved with everyone getting better.

“A goal for me is to get better every week and improve in the areas that I need to improve. Ultimately, being on that podium in Hershey (is the goal) though. I’ve been working on getting better in my hand fighting, working out on bottom, and also getting stronger.”

Anderchak made an immediate impact in the wrestling program as a freshman. He was one of three team members able to eclipse 30 wins last season, racking up a 31-13 record. Anderchak was a section runner-up and placed fourth in the WPIAL at 107.

Maccaglia, who won 19 decisions (19-17) last year, carved out 26 wins as a sophomore and has pinned 35 opponents in his career.

Diemert was 28-14 a year ago and a sixth-place WPIAL finisher at 152. Richey ended up eighth at 160 at WPIALs.

Newcomers in the QV lineup looking to make an impact include freshmen Trey Dunlop, Harper Sipes, Aris Haniotes and Sawyer Stelzig, senior John McKenry and sophomores Matthew Danna, Logan Benedict and Benny Janeway.

The Quakers are scheduled to compete in the Moon Duals (Dec. 9), Panther Holiday Classic (Dec. 15-16) at Mount Aloysius College and MyHouse Trojan Wars (Dec. 29-30) at Chambersburg.

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