Wrestling looks to start season strong under new leadership


Varsity wrestlers Devin Curran and Alex Horvat practice their technique at a recent practice.

As the temperature turns cool and sports head indoors, curiosity runs deep for the wrestling program at BG. This years program is filled with new leadership and wrestlers determined and ready to compete in the upcoming season. Jeff Vlk and his new and improved coaching staff look to turn the mats this year and add to the involvement in this growing sport.

In what will be his first year as head coach of the program, Vlk is looking to increase participation in what has become a drop in attendance. With the help of many of his wrestlers and coaches, promoting for wrestling has become a main priority.

“Right now, the biggest goal is to increase numbers for the program,” Vlk said. “We want to build interest and excitement and to set the expectations high.”

Vlk isn’t the only new addition to the wrestling program. This year, the entirely new staff will include varsity coaches Todd Greenberg and Matt Priban, as well as JV coaches Mike DiMatteo and Milan Vukovich. Most of the coaching staff has experience in wrestling as well as football, an interesting tie that Vlk is looking for while building  his team this year.

“I believe there is a direct correlation between the success in football and wrestling programs,” Vlk said. “Bigger numbers in both wrestling and football, will help benefit both programs, while  teaching great qualities for the athletes.”

As much as the program is trying to attract new members, the team will welcome back some solid athletes looking to lead the brand new team. Junior Jake Greenberg is now entering his third straight year with the team, and is determined to take an important role.

“Having been a part of the program since my freshman year really makes me want to take on a leadership spot,” Greenberg said. “I need to set a good example and encourage everyone else to do their best.”

Greenberg is a part of a veteran group that holds many of the experienced wrestlers, along with seniors Alex Horvat, Boris Star and Noah Festenstein. Leadership will be an important piece in this year’s team, in regards to an entirely new coaching staff.

Wrestlers began practicing on Nov. 10, preparing for their first meet against Maine South on Tuesday Nov. 25. According to Vlk, practices will be on a tight schedule to promote the hustle and speed of the sport.

“Practices need to have a pace to them to really get the team used to intensity, just like a real match,” Horvat said. “Practices should be tough enough to make meets and tournaments seem like a breeze.”

Practices consist of a brief warm up, technique work and many different situations for live practice. The team is looking to get plenty of wrestlers on top of the podium and improved collectively as a team.

“There isn’t a better feeling in the world than having your hand raised after winning a match,” Greenberg said. “Once you win realize all the hard work you put in is worth it.”