Preview: Young Wrestling Team Taking Positive Step

Friday, November 2, 2012

Matt Parker
Parker won a career-high seven bouts at 141 last year.
If the Muhlenberg wrestling team was a law firm, it would be like Matt Parker went from clerk to senior partner in a matter of months.

Last year, Parker was the youngest member of a senior-dominated team. For the 2012-13 season, which begins tomorrow at the Monarch Invitational at King’s, Parker is the oldest member, a senior whose five teammates are freshmen.

“It’s a little difficult not having any peers and having to carry the leadership role all by myself,” he said. “But we’re in a rebuilding stage, and it’s nice to be a part of it.”

Parker has never competed on a team that won a dual meet during his college career (he was sidelined with a concussion when the Mules beat Yeshiva two years ago), and that is not likely to change this year. With only six wrestlers, Muhlenberg can’t fill out a complete lineup. But the Mules realize that they are providing a foundation to re-establish a program that produced six All-Americans between 2001 and 2009.

“Individual improvement is ultimately what we’re striving for,” said Parker. “From our first meet Saturday up until Regionals, we’re hoping everyone shows marked improvement in their game.”

The five freshmen on the team are Che Chengsupanimit, a prep national qualifier and member of the Thai National Team, Jimmy Coiley, who competed for New Jersey at the Junior Nationals in both Greco-Roman and freestyle, Tyler Florio, a fourth-place finisher at the state meet in Massachusetts, Matthew Goldstein, a two-time all-county selection in New Jersey, and Logan McCabe, who placed sixth at the Delaware state meet.

“Everyone seems really dedicated, and they’re picking up a lot at this early stage,” said Parker. “They’re all very accomplished in high school, which is definitely a positive.”

He added, “We’re moving in a positive direction. The future is bright for Muhlenberg wrestling.”