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NTL WRESTLING: NUMBERS IMPROVING, WARNER BELIEVES SAYRE WRESTLING ON WAY BACK (7 PHOTOS) (2022-11-22)

By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
SAYRE — Sayre won’t have a full line-up, but coach Ralph Warner believes the 2022-23 season may be the start of a resurgence for Redskin wrestling.

“Numbers are looking good right now, like they do every year until we get going,” laughed Warner.

“We have nine varsity wrestlers, although one is injured and out until January, and we have 11 on the junior high team,” he noted. “Eight of the  junior high kids are 8th-graders, and we only have one senior … we have three freshmen and two sophomores.

“Hopefully, with these kids, and the 8th-graders moving up, next year will be our year,” added Warner. “It’s what I’ve been waiting for, for the last three or four years.

Sayre’s only senior — Sam Gorsline — has been away from the program for a few years.

“We have some fresh faces on the varsity this year, but you have to start somewhere,” said Warner.

Injuries and academics have caused major headaches for the program the last few years.

“We’ve come up with a new plan this year academically, and the kids have been doing well,” said Warner.

“We have a plan with the teachers … they e-mail me if someone is in danger of getting on the ineligibility list, and instead of practice we do school work,” he noted. “We get with the teacher, and solve the problem.

“I’m not a teacher, I’m not in the school, so it’s been hard for me to stay in the loop,” continued Warner. “Now, (athletic director) Barry (Claypool) has me on an e-mail list with the teachers.

“Honestly, this is the first time since I’ve been here that a concerted effort has been made to keep the kids eligible,” added Warner. “Barry (Claypool) has done a nice job with that.”

Warner will have Gavin McCutcheon and Aaron Raupers, who is also the junior high coach, as his assistant coaches.

“I really like having Aaron (Raupers) in the room,” said Warner. “He went on to the next level, and he’s very good with the defensive side.

“And, Gavin is young, and clicks with the kids,” noted Warner. “He works well with them, and they respond to him.

“All of us bring something different to the table … we all coach a little bit differently,” added Warner. “It’s been a good mix.”

The Redskins open the season Dec. 6 at Wellsboro.

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IN PHOTO: Sayre coach Ralph Warner works with a pair of his wrestlers during a preseason practice. … PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.

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