“It is going to be tough for us to find that kind of leadership,” Sorbera said. “We have a hole to fill there. Kevin and Mikey and Jacob, they were our leaders for a lot of years.”
Sorbera points to Jacob Russell (113), Paul LoRusso (120), Nate Miller (126) and T.J. Fay (145) as wrestlers who have made stepped up to fill the void this year. All four have been in the program for several years, and are improving steadily.
“I think some of those guys will be in line to have very good tournaments by the end of the year,” Sorbera said.
Both coaches admit, it will be a process. There are still holes in the line-up and dual meets will sometimes be un-winnable based on forfeits. The team is short on heavyweights this year; in its most recent meet, only one wrestler – Dante Poole at 195 pounds – competed in the final five weight classes.
Those weaknesses were obvious on Monday as the team hosted its first home meet of the season, losing to Herkimer 66-21.
“You know, despite the score, I was pretty happy tonight,” Sorbera said. “We had good effort. We’re going to have a lot of matches like that this year, but I think we see some kids working hard and improving. We’re going to keep getting better. We’re going to be competitive in the next couple of years.”
Against the Magicians, LoRusso, Miller and Fay got wins for Cooperstown and Jasmine Martinez (99) received a forfeit.
LoRusso, a freshman, recorded his tenth win of the season Monday pinning Marshall Borek in 55 seconds. Miller, a junior, pinned Kyler Ford at 3:59.
Fay, a junior, had one of the most exciting matches of the night, winning a 13-6 decision over James Pettucci. Fay took and 8-1 lead early in the third period, but then had to fight off a comeback by Pettucci, who got a reversal and a near pin, to make it 8-6. But Fay found a way to get off his back and ended the matches with a reversal and near pin to clinch the win.
“It was a good effort by T.J.,” Sorbera said. “In the past he wouldn’t have been able to fight through that.”
January will be a big month for the squad, with seven more dual meets, beginning with a match at Delhi tonight. Plus the team will go to the CNY Tournament this weekend at V-V-S.