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Northern Tier Sports Report
It looks to be a tale of two seasons for Northeast Bradford wrestling.

They have high exceptions for some of their individuals this year, however, their lack of numbers make succeeding in dual meets difficult.

“Individually we should be OK,” said assistant coach Tyler Wheaton. “We have a lot of inexperience in our group.”

Lone senior Kenric Ricci is one who they see as having a good season. He finished 18-14 a year ago, but came up short in the North Section Tournament.

“We’re just picking up where we left off,” Wheaton said about Ricci. “We’re correcting the little things with a lot of repetition. I think he’ll go out on top for a senior.”

Ricci would like to keep NEB’s streak of state qualifiers going this year. Dawson Brown has made the trip to Hershey the past two seasons.

“If we have a states I would like to make it to states this year,” he said.

He did a lot of training over the summer and has seen the results.

“I started lifting more,” Ricci explained. “I went to basic training over the summer. I got a lot of running in and a lot of cardio. I feel pretty good.”

The new weight class configuration in the state didn’t do Ricci any favors as he’s now toggling between 189 and 215.

“It is what it is,” he said. “I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again. I’ll come back faster and stronger.”

All the stops and starts this year have made it difficult to stay focused and train, but it can also give an opportunity to those who have been able to stay focused.

“You just put your head to the grindstone and just kind of work for it,” said Ricci.

The other wrestler they think could make some waves is junior Jack Shumway.

Shumway has confounded his coaches at times. He was 12-18 a year ago but also qualified for the District IV Individual Tournament as he won back to back matches in the consolation round of the North Section Tournament to take fourth.

“We’re doing just the basics, that’s what it comes down to,” Wheaton said about Shumway. “Jack has a lot of natural talent, a great kid, tough, he just has little mental mistakes we’re trying to work out of.”

Shumway had matches he was winning only to be caught and beaten, so he’s gone back to the drawing board for this year.

“I’m just doing the basics; really, really basic moves,” he said. “The last couple of years I’ve really liked to do funky stuff and was more immature, but now I’m really being a technically sound wrestler. We started going over to a camp this summer and I’ve really started working on techniques all summer and that’s what I want to focus on.”

Shumway has noticeably grown and filled out, looking more the part of a middle weight wrestler.

“I’ve been lifting a little bit,” he said. “I had fractured ribs a couple weeks ago, but I’m back at it. I might go up to 170 or shoot for 160.”

The biggest thing holding him back might not be physical but mental.

“I get really nervous as a wrestler,” he explained. “A lot of people have been working with me on that and I’ve been watching YouTube videos about that. I think if I can just calm my nerves down I can control myself more in the match. I’ve been working a lot on the mental side of it.”

He recalled wrestling Benton state medalist Nolan Lear over the summer.

“I didn’t even know who he was and I was doing great against him,” said Shumway. “I think a lot of it is in my mind because as soon as I found out he was a good wrestler I just shut right down.”

Wrestling is as much mental as it is physical, if not more so, and a lot of wrestlers have to work on both, and Shumway plans to do that.

“I just want to stay focused and really stay consistent in the mat room, and in the weight room,” he said. “Stay focused on my training and calming my nerves.”

Right now the wrestlers are adjusting to going at it in masks, but the coaches feel they’ve done well.

“They’ve taken that in stride,” said Wheaton. “They’ve done really well with it and we’ve taken frequent breaks so no one’s over doing it. I think we’ll be OK with it, they’ll be ready to go.”

Numbers across the board for wrestling programs have seen a drop so NEB is hoping things will pick up after the pandemic has past. The coaches also know success will bring kids out, too.

“We have to improve and tell (the wrestlers) ‘talk to your friends,’” said Wheaton. “We have a young lady in there, Anaiah Kolesar, a really tough kid, a really good wrestler and she’s been talking to her friends, and just a lot of talking to friends.”

They believe the numbers will improve in time.

“Our numbers grew from junior high a little bit so that’s promising,” said Wheaton. “But being a small school it’s tough.”

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