The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Harold Raker

January 9, 2012

Sounds of silence around Mifflinburg mats


What is more impressive is not only is this a team with only four seniors in the starting lineup, but their best wrestler, junior returning PIAA sixth-place medalist Ty Walter, has been out of action with a back injury since the season-opening Top Hat Tournament in Williamsport -- and his younger brother, freshman phenom Cole Walter, also missed one dual meet with an injury.

Murray, noting that Ty Walter returned to the practice room Thursday and is expected back soon, said, "That's how solid we are becoming; that's evidence of a solid team. When you have Ty, who in my eyes is the guy who could win the state title, and Cole ... out of the lineup and still defeat a team like Selinsgrove (last) week ..."

Murray gave a lot of credit to elementary and junior high coach Doug Walter and varsity assistant Tony Piermattei. "It's just an overall effort of a systematic approach to wrestling from the elementary level up to high school and now we're here," Murray said.

"I've never encountered this as a coach. I have so much belief in them."

In fairness to the Braves and first-year head coach John Supsic, the three-time defending champions have lost three starters for the season to injuries: sophomore 120-pounder Tristan Paul, junior Jesse Shambach (170/182) and promising freshman Alex Schaffner (106).

Nevertheless, Supsic expects his team to be much improved by the end of the month when the wrestlers are able to drop in weight classes and thus field a full lineup.

He is not concerned about the team's ability to bounce back from its rare early-season loss.

"We are going back to the drawing board. We are going to learn from our mistakes. I thought we got out of position way too easily (Thursday) when we did get pinned," he said.

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Harold Raker
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