|Junior Captain Trey Aslanian|
From LoHud Wrestling Blog
My second stop on Monday was at Edgemont to see how first-year head coach Peter Jacobson and his team were handling the transition after 22 seasons with George DiChiara at the helm. Jacobson inherited a team loaded with talent after coming on strong to finish second in the section in Division 2 last season. The Panthers lost not one senior for last year?s team, which leaves them with tons of experience across the board.
Here are some of my observations from my visit:
- The transition from DiChiara to Jacobson seems to be going pretty smoothly. As DiChiara?s head assistant for the past nine seasons, Jacobson is very familiar with the team and how they?ve done things. ?George and I coached together for 10 years, and he was my coach in high school,? Jacobson said. ?I was lucky enough as I progressed in my experience, we got to the point where we were very much co-coaches. We made decisions collaboratively. ? That?s something that we?re carrying forward. There really haven?t been very many changes. It?s just improving on the model.?
- For the Edgemont wrestlers, it was certainly different without DiChiara in the room, but they were obviously very comfortable with Jacobson. ?There?s no one better to take over,? senior Danny Kornberg said. ?It is a little strange the first time we stepped in without (DiChiara), but he still makes his presence known and stops by.?
- Jacobson also seemed to be very excited about his new coaching staff. Including volunteers, they now have six coaches on the staff. It sounds as though he was very particular in the process, bringing in specialists to work with his lightweights and heavyweights. ?We?ve been fortunate because of the jumps that we?ve made in the past few years, and the enthusiasm and the momentum that we?ve been able to generate,? Jacobson said. ?It?s been easy to find guys who want to come in and help out.?
- As for Edgemont?s lineup, the Panthers literally bring everyone back. That is extremely rare at this level, and should be a major benefit. Just about everyone who steps on the mat will have at least a year?s worth of experience under their singlets. ?I feel more confident than I ever have,? Kornberg said. ?It?s been completely different coming into this season. We?re returning everyone, and we have a bunch of new kids who are ready to go also.?
- The big name is obviously junior Trey Aslanian. He lost in the final seconds of the state championship match last season, and does not seem to be satisfied with a second place finish. He?s a stud, and should wrestle at 113 pounds this season. ?Most certainly this year,? he said when I asked about the importance of winning a state title in the next two seasons. ?You have to have bigger goals than the state tournament, but I?ve wanted to win that since I was 10 years old.
- Aslanian talked about having a great offseason, in which he worked with former NCAA champ Max Askren and placed seventh at the USAW Junior Freestyle National Championships in Fargo. ?It was probably my best offseason in terms of getting better, getting bigger and getting stronger,? he said. ?It?s really improved my game.?
- Aslanian also mentioned his younger brother, who will likely step in and fill the role of a 99-pounder for Edgemont in his eighth-grade season. (The first name is escaping me.)
- Kornberg is another key member of the lineup who missed time during the season due to nagging ankle and wrist problems. He says he?s completely healthy now, and will fill the 220-pound spot for the Panthers. He placed fourth at sectionals last season. ?I?ve been a lot more proactive than in previous years,? he said. ?And I?m seeing the benefits.?
- Other names of key wrestlers in the lineup who placed in the top five last season: Skylar Korek, Tyler Aslanian, Max Abramsky, Colin Hopkins, Jack McCormack, Mike Rothstein, Jason Worobow and Oliver Oks.
- The one weight class that could be problematic for Edgemont is 285, where they still don?t seem to have anyone.
- I asked a few people in the room about their potential competition in D2, specifically defending champ Nanuet. Nobody took the bait. ?We?re just focusing on ourselves,? Aslanian said. ?You can?t start looking at teams like Nanuet and other teams upstate. I can?t control what they?re doing everyday, all I know is what I?m doing everyday and the example that I?m setting.?
- Jacobson seemed to be cautious about the high expectations that the team is entering the season with, but felt that they can meet them with hard work. That was evident, as most of the team stayed after practice to do extra strength and conditioning work. But that doesn?t mean that he has warned them about getting too caught up in the hype. ?To be honest, just the fact that you?re here today sends a message,? he told me. ?Rankings aren?t anything; it?s the results that count. ? We had a long talk before practice today. When you?re dealing with high school kids, sometimes confidence can be a funny thing. One area where we?re pretty good is having our guys motivated and enthusiastic.?