Wrestling team looks to rebuild after middling season


Kishore Annambhotla

Senior Braedon Alder faces off against a Salisbury wrestler in a postseason scrimmage/

On its surface, wrestling is a wholly individual endeavor: one competitor against another in a battle of strength and strategy, with only one coming out on top. However, a strong team bond can provide much-needed morale and encouragement to an otherwise solitary sport. Herein lies the driving force behind the Southern Lehigh wrestling team.

“Our [strength is] unity,” Coach Brenton Ditchcreek said. “They’re a really close-knit group of kids. They’re all eager to learn and get better.”

Despite their commitments, the 2022-2023 season has brought another average record for the team. They compiled an 8-12 win-loss record this season, finished in 9th at the Colonial League Championships, and took 13th at the District 11 AAA Championships. This is a drop from the 2021-22 season when they finished with a 15-13 record, reached the Colonial League final, and took 19th place at the District 11 AAA Championships. 

Numerous injuries throughout the season have been a significant factor in this drop.

“Obviously, [we were better] at the beginning of the season when we were fully healthy,” junior Ian Gill said. “In the first tournament we lost two people, [and] we’ve only lost more. We keep losing matches due to forfeits.”

Senior Braedon Alder, juniors Joshua Sirard, Cole Lorio, and Anthony Lorio, and freshmen Teagan Barr and Sean Wayock are among the wrestlers who suffered an injury this season. Despite the team’s fragility, Alder still maintains confidence in Southern Lehigh’s status as a top team.

“Even though half of our team is injured right now, we’re better than a lot of teams,” Alder said. “Even though we give up five forfeits per match, we’re still good enough to win.”

Thankfully, the team looks forward to a prosperous future in its younger stars. Among the seven freshmen to join the team is Griffin King, who boasts an impressive 30-9 record and is on track to break the elusive 100-win barrier before graduation. Additionally, an abundance of talent and skill in the middle school team has prompted excitement among many of the wrestlers.

“Next year, we have a lot of good kids coming up [from the middle school],” Alder said. “I have high hopes for them. I’m hoping to come back next year and help them a little.”

As the 2022-23 winter season comes to a close, the team looks forward to next year, hoping to end a streak of so-so seasons and capitalize on their young talent, camaraderie, and an overwhelming passion for the sport. First, however, each wrestler must continue to commit to the daily grind of training in pursuit of greatness.

“[We] wrestle the same people for practice with the intent of getting better,” Gill said. “It takes a lot to do the same thing day in and day out.”