By Ed Greif
The Cumberland County High School wrestling team was treated with an award's luncheon Sunday afternoon in the school's wrestling complex.
"We started out with 25 and ended up with 11," said first-year head coach Wes McNeely. "We've built a foundation...lets keep it going. We have no seniors. Everyone comes back."
Coach Mac, as he is known, and assistant coach Kenneth Davis presented letter awards and survivor awards to them.
For the non-lettermen/survivor awards, he said, "As most of you know, wrestling is a very tough sport...the toughest in high school. A quarter of the kids who start the season do not survive the first two weeks and another quarter does not survive to the end of the season. We are very proud of the wrestlers who made it through the whole season, but did not meet the criteria to letter. For these wrestlers, we have a picture frame and the banquet DVD."
To earn a varsity letter, the boys must earn 30 varsity points without forfeits, wrestle 75 percent of the varsity matches, completed two full seasons or complete their senior season. Girls must qualify for the state or complete two seasons. Managers must complete two seasons. Lettermen receive a letter and a wrestler pin or a bar for lettering multiple years.
Receiving letter awards were: Shawn Ansell, first year letter/pin; Shawn Foster, second year pin; Kendall Payne, first year letter/pin; K.C. Trosclar, first year letter/pin; Austin Hackerman, first year letter/pin; Dalton Davis, first year letter/pin; Zeth Bolin, third year pin; Jeff Pugh, first letter/pin; David Scavo, first year letter/pin; Alex Moore, first year letter/pin; Alec Moore, first year letter/pin; Timmy Billings, first year letter/pin; and Marrisa Vicnent, first year letter pin.
Managers Kelsey Pugh, Kendra Pugh and Joan Pugh were also recognized.
Captain's pins were awarded to Foster and Bolin.
Vincent received her state qualifier patch and certficate.
Most Improved Wrestler Award went to Payne.
"The Most Improved Wrestler award goes to the wrestler who most improves his winning percentage from the previous season, but this year, it was a decision made by the coaching staff based on day one performance. Out of about five wrestlers who really improved this year. this wrestler blew away the coaching staff because of the gains he made from day one until now. As with all awards, one thing that must be considered was the wins and losses, and this was the only separating factor in this race," said McNeely.
Bolin won the Jet Pride Award, which "goes to the wrestler who possesses all the attributes a coach wants in this wrestlers, such as work ethic, leadership, character, courage and wrestling abilty. This year's receipient has shown great improvement in all of these areas, just since last season as an outsider looking at the program and seeing how he did last year. He has come a long way in terms of leadership and self-discipline and has become an excellent captain of this team," according to McNeely.
Scavo was the Most Valuable Freshmen, which had the "largest candidate pool, due to the youth of our team. This came down to two wrestlers when all of the numbers were put together and evaluated. It was so close that the two were tied with wins and separated by two losses and three points toward the team's scores, with 16 varsity wins (all by pin) and a few more years of experience over the rest of the freshmen class. All of our freshmen have a bright future in wrestling," added McNeely.
Foster was the Most Outstanding Wrestler, who "scores the most points for his team in dual and tournament competition. While amazingly, four of our wrestlers have scored well enough to put them in hunt for the MVP Award. He also led the field in points with 102 points and wins at 17 on the season. While several wrestlers were very close behind in wins and points, they could not reach Shawn's," added McNeely.
McNeely pointed out new record holders for most pins in a season, most wins in a seaon, most wins in a career and most pins in a career will be assigned to the Wall of Fame until 30 people have beaten their records.
He recognized his AAU seventh and eighth graders, who are "the future of wrestling team, along with our current undergraduates. Aza Morrison and Drew Foster will received a DVD from McNeely.
He also thanked the booster club for their support in helping the wrestlers go to camp, feeding them at least once at every match or tournament, continuing the food bank, raising funds through grants and gym adversting, having a summer cookout and producing an awards banquet for the kids.