T he Whitehall varsity wrestling program begins the 2011-12 wrestling season this Saturday against Granville, and while the team is prepared for the match, it’s the end of the season the team is focused on.
“Our goal is what we do in February,” said longtime head coach Robert Diekel. “We would like to win the league if we can.”
The team is anchored by John Diekel, Al Aubin and Zach Diekel, all of whom qualified for the state wrestling tournament after winning Section II titles.
Zach Diekel, a four time Sectional champion who placed third at states last year, is the team’s lone senior and is poised to pass the 200-win mark this season.
An athletic 200 pounder, Zach will be gunning for a fifth Sectional Championship (a school record) and a state title.
John Diekel and Aubin will be two of the top wrestlers at their weight class in the league and both will be looking to build upon last year’s appearance at the state tournament.
The team will also look for contributions from Brandon Steves, Jake Gregory and Adrian Bebee, all of whom finished within the top six at last year’s Section II Class D tournament.
The team will also be buoyed by a deep and potential-laden team.
Robert Diekel said the wrestling program has nearly twice as many athletes participating this year as they did last year, a fact that should help them during the regular season.
Often times the key to winning dual meets is the ability to have a wrestler at each of the weight classes, a task that can be difficult at the smaller Class D schools like Whitehall, so the increased numbers should help.
Nearly half of the wrestlers on the team are freshmen, so the team will look for them to contribute this year while building the foundation for the future. Despite their age, Diekel has been impressed by what he’s seen so far.
“All of the wrestlers have shown in some way or another, some moxie or skills,” he said. “It’s been fun seeing the kids come together as a team. To see their growth, it’s been incredible.”
Diekel said the team will seek to improve at every level during the regular season and enter and see where that takes them in February.
“We’re excited for the season,” Diekel said.
The team hosts Granville at 1 p.m. this Saturday and Hudson Falls at 6 p.m. on Dec. 7. Other home matches include Fort Ann at 6 p.m. on Dec. 22, Hadley Luzerne and Lake George at 6 p.m. on Jan. 4 and Warrensburg at 6 p.m. on Jan. 19.
Zach Diekel, Sr.
Al, Aubin, Jr.
Adrian Beebe, Jr.
John Diekel, Jr.
Domminic Gregory, Jr.
Chris Kelly, So.
Jordyn McCoy, So.
Brandon Steves, So.
Chad Amerio, Fr.
Julian Barber, Fr.
Brandon, Bills, Fr.
Blake Briggs, Fr.
Justin Eagan, Fr.
Cody Gardner, Fr.
Ryan Love, Fr.
Austin Rich, Fr.
Zach Rozell, Fr.
Jake Gregory, 8th
Sat, December 3rd Granville @ Whitehall 1pm
Wed, December 7th Hudson Falls @ Whitehall 6pm
Fri/Sat December 9/10 Columbia Duals TBD
Tues, December 13th Whitehall @ SGF 6pm
Wed, December 14th Whitehall @ Corinth 6pm
Sat, December 17th Montgomery Duals 9am
Thurs, December 22nd Fort Ann @ Whitehall 6pm
Wed/Thurs, December 28/29th Pellerin Duals 9am
Wed, January 4th HL/LG @ Whitehall 6pm
Fri/Sat, December 6/7th Middletown Duals 4pm/9am
Wed, January 11th Whitehall @ Salem 6pm
Fri/Sat, January 13/14th Eastern States 9am
Thurs, January 19th Warrensburg @ Whitehall 6pm
Sat, January 21st Shenendehowa Tourney 10am
Sat, January 28th Big Ten Tourney 9am
Sat, February 4th Sectionals @ BKW 10am
Fri/Sat, February 10/11th Section 2 Championships ( GFCC) 10am
Fri/Sat, February 24/25th NYS Championships (TUC) 10am
Wed, March 7 Whitehall Wrestling Banquet 6pm
Wed-Sat, March 29-April 1 NHSCA Wrestling Championships