Raider Duals fundraiser to feature seven wrestling squads

Members of the Twin valley wrestling team take a break from drills during practice to pose for a team photo. Photo by Justin Finneran/Tri County Record

The Twin Valley Wrestling program will be hosting the 3rd annual Raider Duals Tournament on Saturday, January 19, beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Twin Valley Middle School gymnasium, located at 770 Clymer Hill Road, Elverson, PA 19520.

The Raider Duals is a high school team tournament featuring seven area teams Kutztown, Brandywine Heights, York Suburban, Reading, York Tech, Conwell-Egan, and host Twin Valley with each school squad wrestling others multiple times throughout the day.

(The Raider Duals) means a lot to us because (Twin Valley Wrestling) is a self-funded team, said Twin Valley junior and team co-captain Dan Grant. To see all of the teams come together and support us by taking part of the Duals shows how strong the wrestling community is. The Duals is a big mental game, you wrestle a lot throughout the day so you need mental toughness, strength and drive to get through it.

John Halulko, a Raider wrestling coach and the Treasurer of the Raider Mat Club (the booster club for the wrestling program) provided details on the make-up of the event.

We will have seven teams taking part of this years Duals. We would have had a few more but there were scheduling issues. Each team will get to wrestle in five matches and Twin Valley (because of their being an odd number of teams) gets to wrestle four matches.

Cost to attend the duals is $5 for adults and $3 for students. In addition to the admission fee, funds are to be raised through the sale of concessions and items including Raider Wrestling hats, shirts, and a team yearbook created by one of the wrestling parents.

The Raider Duals will begin at 9 a.m. and is expected to be completed by 4 p.m. Around noon there will be a break in the action so that the Raiders can honor those business sponsors who helped the team raise the much-needed funding that allowed for their new wrestling mat: local sponsors National Penn Bank, AJs Pizza, Republic Services, as well as Sports Graphics Inc., out of Ohio.

There has been a lot of fundraising in the past three years since the (wrestling) budget was cut (from the TVSD budget) and we owe a lot to the community for their great support, said Halulko. We are still looking for a couple mat sponsors to help us get another mat. A second mat will allow us to effectively run all of the tournaments we want to run without having to borrow mats from other schools.

A sponsor making a mat donation will get their logo placed on the Raiders wrestling mat. Any businesses or individuals interested in finding more about sponsorship can contact John Halulko at john@raidermatclub.com or 484-316-0533.

It is great to see the community rally around these kids, said Coach Mark Colantuno, who also serves as Vice President of the Raider Mat Club. If it was not for the community and businesses supporting us this would not be possible. The team recognizes that and when you see their level of dedication to wrestling it is just wonderful.

This years campaign has seen ups and downs for a Raider team filled with promise. Although they recently captured their first team win of the season over Muhlenberg, Twin Valley had an outstanding showing at the Phoenixville Individual Tournament on Jan. 5 where they placed third overall out of eight teams, saw seven wrestlers earn medals, and had Dan Grant receive the Outstanding Wrestler Award (awarded to the best overall wrestler as determined by a panel of judge-coaches).

Raiders medaling at the Phoenixville Individual Tournament were: Aaron Wildonger (weight class 113) 1st place, Dan Grant (120) 1st place, David Abbadusky (170) 1st place, Jared Fetterman (182) 2nd place, Sal Hatfield (195) 2nd place, Max Elliott (220) 2nd place, and Jacob Ewing (285) 3rd place.

We are definitely doing better this year, said Halulko. I believe that injuries and sickness cost us a few matches this season. We had a great showing in Phoenixville despite missing four weight classes. It shows that a lot of individuals are making great improvements. The Duals is a really good option to see local high school wrestlers compete and to see where the Twin Valley program is headed and we appreciate the other teams coming out to participate.

Visit the Raider Mat Club online at www.raidermatclub.com.

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