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Wrestlers to open the Amy era at PHS

Posted Tuesday, November 25, 2008 by Steve Amy


PRINCETON — A new era of Princeton Tiger wrestling will be unveiled Tuesday night when first-year coach Steve Amy leads the Tigers onto the mats of Prouty Gym against Peoria Notre Dame.

Amy succeeds longtime Tiger coach Randy Swinford, who retired from coaching after last season. Swinford remains on the PHS teaching staff.

The new Tiger coach likes what he’s seen so far in the Tiger camp.

“I’m real impressed with the group we have. They’re working real hard and doing a pretty good job learning the new stuff I’m teaching them,” he said.

Amy, who was a three-time state champion for his dad’s Rockridge Rockets, graduating in 2000, said he’s teaching new techniques and putting the Tigers in a lot of different situations they may wind up in on the mat.

Taking over a program as established as Princeton makes Amy’s job a whole lot easier as a new coach.

“I couldn’t ask for a much better situation,” said Amy, who had been assistant coach at Lincoln College. “I’m real happy with the whole situation. It’s going to be interesting. I think we’re going to surprise some people. We’ve got a lot of young talent nobody knows about.”

The Tigers won’t quite be at full strength when they take the mats Tuesday. Amy said some wrestlers are still working to get down to the weights they’ll wrestle at this season.

The Tigers return three sectional qualifiers from 2007 in junior Joe Staton (189) and sophomores Reiter Bird (119) and Kyle Lilley (103).

Lilley, who was 8-3 at 103, moves to 112. Bird (8-5) goes from 119 to 130, and Staton (11-14) moves up to 215.

Senior Matt McClure (152 pounds) most likely would have followed them, but opted out of the second half of his junior year to concentrate on an Illinois Select soccer team. He finished the season with a 17-2 record, losses coming to state qualifiers.

“Right now, he’s our best guy. He’s unbelievably athletic and working hard. Just from soccer, you know how athletic and how talented he is,” Amy said.

One of the wrestlers dropping down is senior Ethan Kloster, who goes all the way from heavyweight to 189.

“He could be a real force there. He’ll be bigger than most guys,” Amy said.

Senior David McKenney returns at heavyweight with juniors Teddy Bartoli back at 145 and Darren Rowe at 160.

The Tiger roster includes freshmen Zach Schutz and Zach Evans at 103; sophomores freshman Peter Butler and Eric Bickett and John Zearing at 119; junior Justin Jenkins and freshman Cody Barringer at 125; sophomores Tyler Griffin, Zeke Rosas and Cody Cumpton and freshman Earl Towne at 135; sophomores Dylan Olson and Colton Pate and freshman Logan McCauley at 140;  sophomore Lyle Conner at 145; Justin Lucas at 171; Brewer Ary at 189, junior Jacob Robinson at 215 and sophomores Kyle Jackson and Alan Delbridge and freshman Ben Staton at 275.

Tuesday’s dual meet will start at 6 p.m. Plano was to join Notre Dame and PHS but canceled, not wanting to wrestle before Thanksgiving, Amy said.

“I’m pretty excited. We’ve been beating on each other for two weeks. It’s going to be good to get out there and get going,” Amy said.

Amy believes the Tigers have a chance to win regional and get three or four wrestlers to state.

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