The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 9, 2013

Harold Raker's wrestling column: Milton hosts, but can't partake


"In my eyes, I think we can come down here (to Milton) and compete for one of the top three spots. But, obviously, it will take some hard work on their part," Snyder added.

"We are not that far off," he said.

Snyder likes what he sees in the returning wrestlers as well as those in the junior high program.

Coach Steven Greenly's junior high program has 25 kids all but one of them in seventh or eighth grade and, Snyder said, they have been very competitive, as much as they have in seven or more years.

Snyder said the elementary program is also thriving. "I am excited to see that many kids back in the program. Hopefully we can keep those kids interested and build on what we have down there."

Keeping young people in the sport can be a daunting task. "This is a demanding sport. You've got to make sure as a coach a lot of times that you're building these kids up and giving them praise when they need it, being their friend sometimes and being their toughest critic other times."

But, with all of his wrestlers back from injuries that left holes in his lineup, Snyder is excited about what the Black Panthers can do in the upcoming individual tournaments.

As for the hard work, that is what Snyder has become used to seeing from, among others, his senior returning state champion, Ryan Solomon, and a much lesser known wrestler, senior James Jones.

He said Solomon, a three-time state place-winner and 22-0 this season, has been the kind of leader the younger wrestlers need. "We use Ryan as much as we can and he embraces the role," Snyder said.

Snyder said that Solomon, as good as he is, is an even better person than he is a wrestler.

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