By BOB YORK —
According to coach Mark Scandling, the Deerfield Academy wrestling program continues on its road to recovery.
Just one year removed from nearly flat lining–as the school had considered pulling the plug on its ventilator due to an overall lack of participation in the sport–the patient is sitting up and taking nourishment and the coach is breathing a sigh of relief.
“We doubled our win total from last year to this … from two to four … so if you’re basing our progress on just wins, we met with more success this season,” said Scandling. There’s another key number that Scandling had in mind in determining the team’s success this season, however, and figure was determined well before the Big Green’s first meet.
“We opened preseason training with 21 kids on the roster,” said Scandling, “which is a good number … probably the most we’ve had here in a few years. We didn’t have a complete lineup, meaning we didn’t have someone competing in every weight class … but we’re working on it.”
Another fact about this winter’s roster that has Scandling excited is that of those 21 wrestlers, he will be losing just two to graduation. “So, we should certainly have a good nucleus to build our team around nest year,” said Scandling.
The Big Green saw four of its wrestlers produce top-ten finishes in their respective weight classes during this winter’s Class A Championship, which were held at Loomis Chaffee. Gene Thagard (15), who led the team throughout the regular season with a 13-2 record, led the charge in the postseason as well with a silver-medal effort in the 138-pound bracket. Kade Johnson (14), this year’s winner of the Deerfield Wrestling Trophy, posted a regular-season mark of 12-3 and a bronze medal at 170 pounds. James Chung (15), meanwhile, wound up fifth at 120 pounds following a 7-10 showing, while Henry DeCamp (15), who rang up a 6-6 regular-season showing, was sixth at 152 pounds.
Other Big Green wrestlers hitting the mat this season were Robert Mollo (17) in the 182-pound weight class, Elias Murdoch-Morales (16) at 170 pounds and Chris Roussas (15) represented the 160-pound weight class. Hill Kelly (16) battled at 145 pounds, as Mohamed Kadry (16) and David Darling (16) went to work in the 138-pound bracket, as Clay Wadman (16) and Will Morgan (17) were Deerfield’s go-to-guys at 132 pounds.
“All in all, I feel as though we had a good season for ourselves and I think we’re continuing on the road back to competitiveness,” said Scandling. “I think if we can continue our motivation and keep up our ethic of hard work, we’ll continue along that road.”