Solanco High School's varsity wrestling team has four openings in its lineup as it prepares to open the 2017-18 season.
Last year the Mules went 6 – 3, and with some holes in the 2017/2018 lineup, that record may be equaled, but not likely exceeded since they will forfeit four weight classes.
Sheldon Pieffer is penciled in at the 126-pound weight class. Grayson Charles at 138; A. J. Wilson at 152; Tucker Pierson at 160; Ben Root at 170, and moving up to heavyweight Kaleb Tucker.
Solanco will have six senior starters. Junior Chase Charles is projected to start at 120, and sophomores Joey Vandergriff (145) and Nick Yunnutz (220) complete the wrestlers with some varsity experience. Lost to graduation is Josh Weder, whose two year career record resulted in 33 wins, including 17 pins.
Entering his 36th year as the team's head coach, John Little has a career record of 321 wins, including two District III and eight Lancaster-Lebanon League championships.
Head wrestling coach, John Little said he feels confident Root, Wilson and Grayson Charles are likely to enter post season competition. Root needs but 17 wins to reach the century mark. Last season the year around competitor, who is headed to American University following his high school career, ended with a 39-9 record, which included 18 falls.
Little knows his work is cut out for him this season. “We do not have the experience in the room and very little talent coming up from the Junior High program,” wrote Little. He said the key to the team’s success is avoiding injuries and possessing a positive attitude throughout. “And how well our inexperienced guys come along,” he added.
Assisting Little is Assistant Varsity Coach Matt Jensen. Scott Perdue will serve as the Junior Varsity Head Coach, while Tony Mendez continues as Junior High Head Coach. Evan Wertz will be Mendez’s Assistant Coach, and Billy Richards has come on board as a volunteer assistant. Ed Spiller and Joe Welk are Junior Varsity volunteer assistants.
Little sees Cocalico as the team to win the L-L League Section I title, but hopes the Mules can pluck some feathers from the Eagles on the Mules way to victory. It will not be an easy task. The two confront one another at Solanco on Thursday, Dec. 21.
The Mules begin their season on Friday, December 8, when they join a host of schools in the 20th Annual Mule Classic. The week following Solanco will be entered in the Penn Manor Comet Classic Tournament. They begin the regular season visiting J. P. McCaskey on Wednesday, December 13, at 7 p.m.