Chad Shirk, the winningest coach in Saucon Valley High School wrestling history, is in the midst of getting his team ready to compete for the upcoming 2017-18 season. All of the regular season wrestling action is just around the corner. What is the state of Saucon Valley Panther wrestling? Saucon Source was able to catch up with Coach Shirk and ask him a few questions. Check out what he had to say!
Q: What are your thoughts about the upcoming season? Who do you think are the favorites to challenge in the Colonial League?
Q: You have six returning Colonial League All-Stars (four-1st Teamers and two-Honorable Mention). Where are the strengths in your lineup?
A: We have four returning state qualifiers and two wrestlers that also made it to regionals last year. Our middle weights have proved that they can compete with the best in the state.
Q: It looks like you lost quite a bit up-top between 170 and Heavyweight. What about your lineup has you concerned?
A: We will have a few kids on the team that will be getting into the starting lineup for the first time. We believe that we have a great group of kids that are committed to working hard and improving as the season progresses. We are excited to see what these kids do with the opportunities that will present themselves throughout the season.
Q: This year’s wrestle-offs should be fun. What weight classes do you consider to be “toss-up” competition entering the season?
A: We have a lot of wrestlers around the middle weights in our line-up. Fortunately for us, our wrestlers are willing to put the team first, allowing the coaching staff to juggle line-ups when necessary. As a coach, you want to have everyone be competitive, it makes everyone in the room better!
Q: Who are some of the new faces that Panther Nation could expect to see competing for Saucon Valley this season?
A: Jared Harka and Tim Weaver have both signed up for the team and the coaching staff is really excited to see what they can do this year. They are both great kids that enjoy competing and will help the team. Braydyn Lugardo is coming off a great Junior High season where he captured a Junior High District title. Jarrett Hirschbeck and Thomas Spirk are also looking for an opportunity to show what they can do.
Q: Saucon Valley has won five Colonial League titles in a row. Is a 6th consecutive championship any part of the preseason discussion with your wrestlers?
A: We might mention it, but I believe it is an unspoken goal every year. The amount of time and effort that our student-athletes put into the sport in the off-season has been incredible. They would be selling themselves short if that was not a team goal this year.
Q: At this point, how would you define success for your 2017-18 team?
A: I don’t believe you can measure success on wins and losses. Our job is to make each and every wrestler better throughout the season. Success is seeing the progress that each wrestler is making as the year goes on. We want to be able to see kids peaking at the right time.
Key Upcoming Dates:
* Saturday, 12/9/17 Saucon Valley hosts a preseason tournament for high school and junior high wrestlers. High school wrestlers will compete in the high school gymnasium while junior high wrestlers go at it in the middle school gym.
* Wednesday, 12/13/17 Saucon Valley travels to Pen Argyl for Colonial League opener (6 p.m. JH/7 p.m. Varsity).
* Dec. 16 and 17 SVHS wrestlers compete in the nationally acclaimed “Beast of the East” tournament at the University of Delaware.
* Dec. 19 SVJH and SVHS host Salisbury in Colonial League dual (6 p.m/7 p.m.)
* Dec. 21 SVJH and SVHS host Notre Dame in Colonial League dual (6 p.m./7 p.m.)
* Dec. 28 and 29 SVHS wrestlers compete in the Bethlehem Holiday Classic.
Good luck Panthers, the Source is with you!