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IAC WRESTLING: NEWARK VALLEY EXCITED TO GET BACK AT IT (2021-02-19)

BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
TIOGA COUNTY — Newark Valley is the only wrestling team in Tioga County which hasn't competed in a match yet. That all changes Saturday when the Cardinals head to Elmira Heights to take on Edison and Spencer-Van Etten / Candor.

Coach Mike Daly will have his group ready to go — a team full of veteran grapplers, including at least four legitimate state tournament candidates (if there were a tournament this season).

One plus for NV is the attitude of the wrestlers, whom Daly said have maintained a positive attitude.

"Especially now with the top three guys going to states in Section IV, we had a pretty good crew that had a shot at it, and many of them seniors," he said. "It's disappointing, but I think they've had a lot of disappointment through this whole thing, so I think something positive, they're grabbing a hold of and that would be a season."

The Cardinals made a necessary COVID-19 adjustment and split their practices into two shifts to accommodate social distancing protocols.

"As far as the staff goes, it's been a pain for us, and I can't even imagine being the AD," Daly said during the first day of practice. "Every AD right now should get triple pay, because I doubt any of them have slept much or been off. I'll bet you they've all burned cell phone batteries up in the past week, because every coach wants every answer in every different sport and those answers change three times in a day.

"That part's been hectic for him (athletic director Scott Wandell), hectic for us in trying to throw things together and answer parents' questions. It's different, but it's going to be a season, so that's a positive."

"Our organization will change as far as we're practicing in shifts. We're not going to have all the kids in the room at the same time. That level of it has changed, but the goal is still the same. The goal every year is to get your kids to be the best wrestler they can be by the end of the season. This is a short season, so we might not have as much progress, but still, the goal is to get them from where they are today to the best they can be by March 5, and then convince them to do the work after that to be more ready for next season.

"The immediate thing you worry about is the regular season, which is only going to be a month long or so and so that goal is still the same. I don't see a whole lot of difference in how we train as far as the intensity, or what we're teaching. You're going to have to change it. You're going to have to abbreviate it. You're going to have to focus on what's really important, because you can't hit it all. Our program and the way we run things is going to be the same, just with some things pulled out."

Daly noted his wrestlers were excited when they found out there would be a season. You can bet they'll still be excited when they step on the mat Saturday for their first dual meet.

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IN PHOTO 1: Connor VanZile goes through drills on the first day of practice. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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