Warriors look to overcome depth concerns

By on December 3, 2014
Seniors David Brubaker (far left) and Avery Quinn (far right), shown with coach Ned Bushong, will be two key leaders for the Warwick wrestlers this year.

Seniors David Brubaker (far left) and Avery Quinn (far right), shown with coach Ned Bushong, will be two key leaders for the Warwick wrestlers this year.

During the football season, David Brubaker and Avery Quinn were hammers on the line for Warwick.

Now that they’ve traded in their shoulder pads for singlets, the two senior wrestlers figure to carry that same role in the upper weights for the Warriors.

“I think we’re pretty solid up top,” Brubaker said.

As two key returnees for Warwick this winter &tstr; along with the likes of juniors Devin Schnupp (29-4), Brock Lieberman (23-12) and Ben Hershey (10-10) &tstr; they will certainly be counted on.

That is especially the case after losing about 80 combined wins from graduated wrestlers Josh Charles (District qualifier, 27-9), Logan Stroh (26-13) and Carson Snavely (25-14).

“They had a lot of wins between them,” Warrior 10th-year coach Ned Bushong said. “Those are three really big losses for us as far as number of wins. Both Josh and Logan were just a few bouts short of 100 wins for their careers &tstr; you hate to lose those kinds of guys.”

Others who moved on from the team that finished 2-4 Section One (9-8 overall) last year were Tanner King, Kameron Kline and Jim Bushong.

Schnupp is Warwick’s lone returning District qualifier from a year ago.

Certainly, the Warriors have a mix of youth in the lineup to go with their veteran leadership. But Quinn and Brubaker believe the team’s work ethic is one of its strengths and they are excited to get started.

“I think it all depends on how hard we work,” Quinn said, “and that will be the determining (factor) of our season &tstr; how hard our better guys work to see if we can get bonus points against other teams and how hard our (younger) guys work to see if we can not give up bonus points.”

Depth is a concern for this year’s Warrior edition, with just 19 wrestlers on the varsity roster. If they can stay healthy, improve and continue that hard-working style, Warwick is hopeful to be competitive in the Section One standings and return to the District Three Team Tournament.

“I think if you take Penn Manor and Solanco out of the mix, there’s going to be a lot of parity (in Section One),” Bushong said. “We’ll find out, we’ll see how we do against Hempfield (in the Section opener on Dec. 16). We could end up with the same record as last year. It’s going to depend on how we match up.”

Medical issues have cost Warwick the services of Trevor Esbenshade, Peter Harris and Tyler Melhorn. Esbenshade was slotted to compete at 106, but at this point, the Warriors will forfeit there.

Schnupp, recovered from the back injury which hampered him at the end of last season, is expected to be at 113. Bushong describes his junior star, a State qualifier in his freshman season, as being a little bit bigger and stronger than he was last season.

“We’re looking for him to be a State placer &tstr; that’s a realistic goal for him,” Bushong said.

Superfrosh Logan Boring and Lieberman will handle the duties at 120 and 126, and then Hershey appears to have the job in the 132-pound class.

“Ben really, really improved over the summer,” Bushong said. “He’s done a lot of work.”

Seniors Jakob Kempinski (4-8 in 2013-14) and Marcus Tout are battling for the starting nod at 138, while the much improved senior Alex Tshudy (5-21) is holding things down at 145.

“We’re expecting (Alex) to have a much better season than he did last year,” Bushong said. “He’s working hard and really coming along for us.”

Senior Eric Esbenshade (5-13) will likely be at 152, with junior Drew Keller &tstr; wrestling again following a hiatus since competing in junior high &tstr; slated to step in at 160. Junior Jason Coonan, up from the JV team, has the inside track at 170.

Junior Josh Miller (6-9) looks to be the starting 182-pounder for Warwick.

“Josh Miller got in at the end of (last) season at 182 and he was improving as the season went along,” Bushong said.

Depth could particularly be tricky for Warwick between 145 and 182, where according to Bushong they are only one wrestler deep.

“In some weight classes, yes (there’s depth),” Brubaker said. “Some, not as much.”

“We have some inexperienced depth,” Quinn said, “some guys that have potential but maybe aren’t quite there where they can be right now.”

With Quinn at 195 and Brubaker at 220, Warwick is solid in those two weights. Sophomore Eric Garner, who didn’t wrestle last season due to a football injury, is in the mix in the upper weights, and sophomore Nate Miller, a fourth-place finisher at the Elizabethtown Tournament in 2013-14, provides Warwick with an option at heavyweight.

“There’s a little bit of wiggle room,” Bushong said, “but not much.”

Warwick opens its season at the Exeter Duals next Saturday, Dec. 13 before hosting the Black Knights to begin Section competiton on Dec. 16.

“My goals are to improve as a team, bring our younger guys along, be competitive and see how many boys we can take deep into the post-season,” Bushong remarked. “Potentially, we have three, four, maybe more, depending how they come along, that could potentially get to Districts.”

Competitive is also what the Warrior wrestlers hope to be in 2014-15.

“Like Avery said, we need to win matches that we need to win, we need to strategically match up our better wrestlers against their better wrestlers and move some guys around and fill those empty spaces,” Brubaker said. “As a team we want to compete in the Section, be up toward the top, win matches and get into Team Districts.”

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