The start of the 2012-13 wrestling season for West Deptford pales in comparison to the previous year. One year ago, it took the Eagles until Feb. 1 to lose their second dual match of the season. This year, their second loss came before Christmas.
That makes a big day at Friday's Arthur Marinelli Tournament in Egg Harbor Township so much more important.
The Eagles (0-2) ran into two very tough squad in the their opening matches of the season last week. Their first loss came against conference-rival Collingswood (4-1), which has won four straight games since an opening night. Last Friday, West Deptford fell to a Delsea (5-0) team that is regarded as one of the best in South Jersey.
First-year head coach Christian Scannell said that there's a lot of improvement forthcoming for his young lineup.
“Right now we have a lot of inexperienced guys in the lineup,” Scannell said. “We need to get those guys field-tested and battle-tested.”
West Deptford was the team champion at last year's Arthur Marinelli Tournament, with seven wrestlers placing in the top three of their respective weight categories. Repeating last season's performance will be tough, but a few Eagles will have a good shot at the top prize.
Senior Rory Bonner is one of West Deptford's big anchors and hopes to bring home first place in his weight category for the second consecutive year. Bonner has yet to wrestle this season, having won his first two matches by forfeit last week.
Rory's younger brother, sophomore Griffin Bonner, has gotten off to a fast start this season, having won five of his first six matches in 2012-13, including both of his matches in the Eagles' dual meets.
Meanwhile, senior Tyler Kaminski enters Friday's tournament with an undefeated 4-0 record. Last season, Kaminiski lost a tough match with Williamstown's freshman standout Anthony Racobaldo and settled for third place.
Scannell is very confident in his big three going forward into the tournament. He said it's especially important for them to get into match shape, especially after facing so many forfeits in the first two dual matches.
“One of the big issues (Rory Bonner and Kaminski) have had is forfeits,” said Scannell. “The other schools have been moving guys around to lower weight classes against our inexperienced wrestlers. But they can't run away from those guys tomorrow, which will be nice.”
Beyond their top guys, Scannell is confident that the team will move forward in the right direction as the calendar turns to 2013. He said that he hopes to see wrestlers not named Bonner or Kaminski go deep into the postseason come February.
“We know were always going to get points from the Bonners, Tyler and Christian Terinoni,” Scannell said. “They're showing us a lot of good habits already. We're hopeful about them. Where we are at right now is not where we'll be in February.”
There will be 13 other schools competing on Friday. The field includes a few schools off to fast starts such as Clearview (5-2) and Cinnaminson (2-0). The tournament will kick-off around 9 a.m. and will continue throughout the day.