2011-12 W&J Wrestling Season Preview
The Washington & Jefferson wrestling team looks to return to the top of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference standings as it enters the 2011-12 season with a new leader at the helm of the program.
Tommy Prairie has taken over as head coach, looking to improve on the team’s 6-3-1 dual meet record and third-place showing at the PAC Championships last season. Prairie spent the previous four seasons as the head coach at Plymouth State (N.H.) and inherits a team that returns five regional placewinners.
Sophomore Josh Etzel (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth Forward) looks to improve on a rookie season in which he finished second at the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional and was named to the D3Wrestle.com All-Freshman Team. Etzel, who wrestles in the 141-pound weight class, made his debut for the team midway through the season and won seven of his eight matches.
Junior Robbie Mies (Boonsboro, Md./Williamsport) will attempt to successfully defend his 197-pound PAC title for the third consecutive year. Mies is the 22nd wrestler in program history to own a pair of PAC titles and is just one fall shy of tying Ed Morasczyk ‘75 for sixth place in W&J history at 25. Mies led the team with 15 falls a season ago and was second with 22 individual victories.
Seniors Zach Cecchetti (Freeport, Pa./Kiski Area) and Taylor Potts (Wellsburg, W.Va./John Marshall) will provide the Presidents with veteran leadership. Cecchetti has won 65 matches in his first three seasons, good for 12th all-time, while Potts has earned 47 victories, including 12 pins. Cecchetti is hoping to bounce back from an injury plagued junior year.
Also returning are sophomore David Dibenedetto (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel), who won a team-best 24 matches last year, and junior Chris Leva (Perrineville, N.J./Notre Dame), who earned 14 victories in the 141-pound weight class despite battling injuries. Junior Eric Kohr (Ellicott City, Md./River Hill) is also the returning starter at 174 pounds.
Coach Prairie has also added a seven-man freshman class that will provide the team with solid depth.
The Presidents will open their season on November 5th at the King’s Monarch Invitational in Wilkes Barre, Pa. W&J will host the sixth annual Washington & Jefferson Open a week later at the Henry Memorial Center.