Another tremendous season was celebrated and the future dreams of those who aspire to achieve the success of a wrestler like Saucon’s Josh Jones were stoked at Sunday’s 2019 Saucon Valley Wrestling Banquet at Steel Club.
Saucon Valley Wrestling Club President David Spirk was the emcee for the event, which was attended by Saucon Valley High School, middle school and youth wrestlers, along with their families, coaches and supporters.
Spirk exhorted the boys to always “work hard” and “be good examples,” even when there is temptation not to do those things.
Youth wrestling head coach Ben Chunko commended his wrestlers for “another great year” in which they achieved an overall record of 12-3 and went undefeated in their division. Saucon youth wrestlers also won their division for the fifth year in a row.
“We’re only as good as everybody–all the parents in the program,” Chunko said. “Thank you very much.”
Middle school wrestling under the direction of head coach Andy Koch and high school wrestling also celebrated great seasons at the banquet.
“This is one of the best groups of kids that I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching,” said high school head coach Chad Shirk, noting that the 2018-2019 high school team won Saucon Valley’s fourth district title in four years.
Rookie of the Year awards went to freshmen Cael Markle, Ty Csencsits and Chris Arciuolo.
The Most Improved award went to senior Nick Rosengrant.
And the Outstanding Wrestler award went to senior Josh Jones, who Shirk said “is everything that you want out of a wrestler.”
Shirk praised Jones’ character, work ethic and ability to rebound from “heartbreaking” losses, all of which he said helped Jones bring home a gold medal from this year’s PIAA state wrestling championship last month.
The 2019 Mom “WOW” Spirit award–like the Rookie of the Year award–recognized a team trifecta: co-manager Lauren Polak and seniors Jarrett Hirschbeck and Josh Jones.
Given in honor of legendary Saucon wrestling superfan Lorraine “Mom ‘WOW'” Bowers, the spirit award is presented annually by her children: Saucon wrestling scorekeeper Cathy Leibensperger (with husband Walter), Curt Bowers and Mary Sue Ricker.
“She’s been gone for 10 years now,” reflected Cathy. “She loved Saucon Valley wrestling.”
The name “WOW” originated from a tattoo Lorraine got one year on a dare from the wrestling team. Written upside down, “wow” spells out “mom,” and that was the word Lorraine saw whenever she looked down at it. It was also how she felt about her role as a devoted Saucon wrestling fan for 42 years, Cathy said.
“She never recognized Saucon Valley as a community,” she explained. “She recognized them as her family.”
The guest speaker at Sunday’s banquet was Lehigh All-American wrestler Nate Brown.
Also recognized at the event were the parents and volunteers who contributed to help make the 2018-2019 Saucon Valley wrestling season a big success.