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Kyler, Mead look to fill void for Sheffield

Times Observer file photo by Cody Elms Sheffield’s Trenton Mead takes control during a match against a Cranberry opponent last season.

Sheffield head coach Tom Holden along with seniors Chase Kyler and Trenton Mead are ready to hit the mat this weekend to start the 2023 wrestling season.

“As a team, we should have a winning record,” said Holden, who graduated several strong performing seniors from 2022. “We’ve got some holes in the lineup. We’ve got some inexperience and we’ve got some experience. It’s kind of a mixed bag with us this year. The middle of our lineup is tough. We have a good middle.”

Mead and Kyler are filling the void of departing wrestlers A.J. Barnes, Collin Brown and Matt Lobdell; however, the current seniors are not backing down from their role as both competitors and leaders.

“Trenton Mead really looks good right now and he’s really strong,” said Holden. “He’s put on probably a good 12 pounds of muscles this summer. Chase Kyler, I don’t think he’s missed a trip over to Titan Wrestling this year. He’s been an ironman all summer.”

Mead and Kyler, who both have benefited from strong leadership as underclassmen, have welcomed the opportunity to positively influence young wrestlers like they were.

“I think I’m taking a big step here trying to be a leader,” said Mead. “I’m trying to help the younger guys get caught up, maybe in condition and stay focused on tasks.”

“We had great leaders last year,” said Kyler. “They have been in the program for a long time. I just really need to know the line between friend and leader.”

Leading by example is the theme, and Holden recognizes that in both Mead and Kyler coming into the 2023 season, where both are looking to improve over their previous years on the mat.

“Chase didn’t like his results last year,” said Holden. “He was disappointed in his year. He decided he was going to change it, and he’s worked all season to do that. And the same with Trenton. I don’t believe he’s hardly missed a day all summer lifting weights. That’s what he thought he needed to do to be better and he’s working at it. They’re putting an effort in, and I think that translates in your mind to success because you feel you deserve it and that’s a big part of winning.”

Both Mead and Kyler are looking to make it out of districts and compete at regionals.

The main one is to just earn a ticket to regionals and hopefully that’ll be a pitstop on the way to Hershey,” said Kyler. “For now, I’m not really looking that far into the future. Just everyday I’m working on bettering my craft and at the end of the day trust the work that I’ve put in and go out and compete on the mat.”

Holden expects freshman Carter Campbell to make his way into a varsity spot sooner than later, while others improve and grow as wrestlers to be ready when called up.

“Carter Campbell is a freshman, and so is James Wagner, and they’re both right now second string, and I think when Chase drops and Hayden drops and Bryden drops, that Carter will slide into 138,” said Holden. “James is only a second-year wrestler but the reason I’m not letting him wrestle Junior High is because of the partners he has in the room. In Junior High he’s not going to develop and get better.”

One welcome surprise coming into this season was Alex Marfink, who Holden described as having solid matches last season but was prone to making costly mistakes.

“Marfink is really looking like a different Marfink,” said Holden. “He’s always been strong but he’s looking like he’s putting it together and learning control.”

Despite some gaps in the lineup, Holden is approaching the 2023 season business as usual and waiting to see how things play out as the season unfolds.

“We have some weak spots in our lineup, there’s no doubt about it,” said Holden “We’re going to count on our solid spots to win us our matches. I’m more focused on getting to Hickory and seeing where we’re at and then focus on Clarion.”

Sheffield will compete in the Hickory Invitational this weekend, then travel to Bradford on Dec. 6, followed by another road match at Central Clarion on Dec. 13. The Wolverines host their first match Dec. 19 against Oswayo Valley.

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