CATTARAUGUS — The Cattaraugus-Little Valley wrestling team lost its standout to graduation. Now it’s time to see who the next great wrestler could be to step up and lead the Timberwolves.
Without Sam Grey, who went 38-5 last year (184-65 career) and placed fourth at sectionals, C-LV doesn’t start the year with an obvious candidate to lead the team and represent it at the highest levels.
But coach Rex Brown so far likes the leadership and commitment shown by two siblings on the 2019-20 team, junior Liz Hines and her brother Christian (13-13 last year).
“The Hines kids are doing well,” he said. “Liz Hines is a junior and her brother that's a sophomore, Christian Hines, they're working hard. They ought to do fairly well this year. They're both at like 126, 132-pound weight class. They seem to be the most dedicated and taking the leadership role.”
C-LV starts the year with another small roster, continuing an unfortunate recent trend.
“I've got nine people on my roster night now, so it's definitely a rebuilding year,” Brown said.
“It's about what it's been the last three years or so. The population is not growing for sure, and kids don't seem to want to put in a lot of time and effort, which wrestling takes to get good.”
Seniors on the roster include Dan Briggs (160/170 pounds), who went 11-13 last year, and Ivan Fuches (285). C-LV’s juniors include Brandon Hughes (285), Anthony Snyder (220), Cullen Guerin (160/170), Liz Hines and Aaliyah Small (126/232).
Keeping everyone on the mat so far has been a challenge.
“We've got about four out of the nine that are pretty dedicated, have been there every day,” Brown added. “But we've got some others that are kind of struggling and had some injuries. I have two people sick today (Monday), so it's interesting to try to match people up in practice, too, when people are missing. It's going to be a challenging year.”
Despite the challenges, Brown hopes to see improvements across the board. That kind of goal would make for a successful season.
“Just try to get everybody to improve overall, everybody to enjoy it, and if we can somewhere along the line, win a dual meet, that would be great,” Brown said. “But if we can just win more matches than we lose, that would be a great goal to have.”
After hosting Frewsurg on Wednesday last week, the T-Wolves compete in the Portville tournament Dec. 14 and host Randolph Dec. 18. What would Brown like to see from his team?
“Just learning,” he said. “If they could learn every single day, that would be great. If they could stop making the same mistakes that they make at the beginning of the year, don't make them throughout the year, that would be fabulous. That's what I'm looking for.”