A dominating start

Annaliese Witmer, Staff Reporter

 Bellefonte Area High School’s wrestling program has hit many milestones and accomplishments both individually and as a whole. With postseason right around the corner, the team has a record of 7-1 in dual meets with only one tournament left before districts come in February. 

This season, head wrestling coach and history teacher Mr. Michael Maney also got his 200th career win as a coach. He credits the great coaches he had throughout his career including his parents, as well as all the dedicated, hard-working student-athletes and their families he has helped coach in helping him get to this point. However, Mr. Maney feels that this goes deeper than wins and losses and beyond the wrestling mat. 

 “If the coaching staff can instill values and life lessons that will not only help them be successful on the mat but in life, the wins will take care of themselves. More importantly than the wins, I want to hear the stories of how they went on to be great role models, husbands, fathers, and employees,” Mr. Maney said.

Senior Jude Swisher has also been making a statement this season, both locally and nationally. Jude is currently ranked top in Pennsylvania and 16th nationally at the 145-pound weight class. Jude is also a Pennsylvania University commit and has a record of 28-1 on the season up until this point. Jude’s most notable win this season so far is beating returning state champion and North Carolina State commit, senior Finn Solomon from Franklin Regional High School, 4-3. Jude recalls yelling  “Let’s go!” after the match concluded. However, he also knew that he was going to win from the beginning. 

Not only did Jude beat a returning state champion, he also got his 100th career win and was named a team captain this year alongside seniors Tyler Putnam and Franklin and Marshall commit Adian O’Shea. Jude prepared for such a dominating performance this season by training at the M2 training center with Olympic gold medalist coach David Taylor all year round and lifting at Victory Sports and Fitness. Jude’s performance so far this season has not impacted his confidence on the mat going into states come March. Jude’s goal remains the same: To become a PIAA state champion.  

I believe I’m the best wrestler in the state, and I’m just excited to go prove it,” he said.

Mr. Maney said that both senior Tyler Putnam and freshman Noah Weaver have impressed him this season. He hopes that Noah will continue wrestling well like he has been recently this regular season and continue to do so postseason.  When you decided to wrestle for the Bellefonte wrestling program, you automatically have to hold yourself to a higher standard. 

“If you are working hard in the classroom and in the practices as well as socially, you will be well on your way to reaching your goals,” Mr. Maney said. 

This year, the team’s goal is to simply be the best teammate you can be. However, there is more to being successful than just being a good teammate.

 “There is no secret to success…hard work and believe you are wrestling for something greater than yourself or any one person,” Mr. Maney said.

With the postseason creeping around the corner, Mr. Maney has a plan on how to keep his athletes in peak condition. 

“Each team and individual are slightly different, so as we approach the individual postseason some wrestlers will need to push a little harder, some may need to refine some technique, others might need some rest. The coaching staff has consistently been successful in putting the wrestlers in the best position possible to peak at the right time.”

Fans can expect the team is going to continue to work hard and work towards their goals and hopefully watch as they all reach their goals and potential this season.