Eight short years ago the wrestling team started out. They didn't have mats; they had to borrow them. They didn't have any singlets or t-shirts; they wore leftover LaCross t-shirts and shorts until their singlets finally arrived. What they did have was a handful of kids with guts and determination.
That handful of kids from the original team are now helping to power their varsity teams. Some are in college. Marcus Robbins is at Clarion. Dan Gallagher is at Penn. Jim Gallagher is at Albright. Tyree Gardner is at Kutztown. A few current seniors are looking to join their peers soon.
Just as some things have changed, some things have stayed the same. The Springer brothers have been replaced by the Avellino brothers. Dymond Wright has been replaced by his cousin Jerry Batchler. Rashone and Rasheed Lusane have little brother Rasheer. The comparisons could go on.
The K-9 Unit has grown to about 30-35 kids. They will, as in the past, grow during the year to about 45-50 kids. The toughness and glamour of the sport is attractive to most of the local youth. As soon as they see their buddies out there rolling around, they want to give it a try. The coaches are committed to the kids having fun, learning a little about wrestling, and learning a lot about being a good student and sportsmanship.
The BIG goal is to get the kids to the high school. The kids have had a great deal of success these past seven years and if you look at the high school team there are some guys up there that continue to succeed. Coaches like Mike Gelman, Joe Rodriguez, Pat Wright, Jeff Wroten, Rah Rah Lusane, Shawn Catlow-Sidler, Shane Springer, Cody Baker and Coley Adams help make sure that the program continues and thrives.
GNPAL Executive Director Brett Wells has been a great help as has the PAL Board. Brett has a special ability to find reasons to make things happen instead of why they can't. He is a positive influence that the program is very grateful for.
From the beginning, the kids have been taught to be aggressive and go for the pin. It has translated to the present team as well.
The Springer name has been closely related to the Headlock. When ever you see a Norristown PAL singlet the thought of "Headlock" crosses the opponents mind. The biggest compliment was received last year. A wrestler was loaned a PAL singlet because he lost his, when he showed up for his match, his opponent's grandmother shouted to her grandson "Watch out for the headlock!" Ironically, a few moments later the kid in the PAL singlet did just that to win by fall.
This weekend is week one of the season. All the kids seem excited and ready to get it on. The match is at Haverford High and the world famous PAL Van will be transporting the K-9 Unit to the battle.
Get info and details on ALL Norristown high school, middle school and outh wrestling at www.NorristownPAL.com.