Led by state qualifier Austin Bashore, the Hamburg High wrestling team come into the new season loaded with senior leadership and talent enough to win a division title. The Hawks are coming off a season in which they were tied for first place in the division with Schuylkill Valley with a 5-1 Berks League record. They have every starter back this season but one.
'We're excited to get the season started,' said head coach Derek Sola who is starting his fifth season at the helm at Hamburg. 'We have many seniors who can provide solid leadership.'
It's easy to get a little too confident when you have a team stocked with talent like Hamburg's squad this year. But Sola isn't about to let that happen to his team this year. He's got a lot of talented wrestlers who aren't afraid to work.
They are led by senior Austin Bashore (195), whose third place finish at the District 3-AA Tournament earned him a spot in the state tournament in Hershey last year. There he lost two matches, but they were valuable learning experiences for him, and made him that much hungrier to get back to the state tournament.
Chris Kummerer, wrestling at the 132 pound weight class, will also be back after advancing as far as the Class AA Southeastern Regional Tournament last year, where he lost to of three matches. He was 33-11 last year and is only nine wins away from reaching the 100 win milestone.
Senior Cody Miller is also back for the Hawks, after going 2-2 at the Southeastern Regional Tournament last year. He had an impressive 36-10 record in 2012-13, and is 95-26 overall in his high school career.
Sean Stanish is a junior who owns a 55-20 career record. He was a regional qualifier in the 2011-12 season, and hopes to get back there again this year.
'All of them had solid seasons last year and are among the best in the state at their weight class in my opinion,' said Sola. 'We have several other wrestlers that have the potential to qualify for the regional tournament, and possibly qualify for states as well.'
Some of the other key wrestlers are seniors Nick Oswald, Joe Raffensperger and Kerry Mega.
As far as team goals, Coach Sola keeps them simple.
'Our team goals are to improve every day and be at our best at the end of the season, for both team and individual events,' he said. 'Everyone needs to buy into working hard every day and doing what is necessary to reach our potential.'
The Hawks begin their season on Dec. 11 at Pottsville. They open their home schedule on Dec. 18 against Wyomissing.