CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – The Horace Greeley varsity wrestling team consistently has been progressing each year since Brent Lobien and his senior classmates joined the team as freshmen, highlighted by a 21-7 record last year.
The Quakers are planning to take the next step, led by their five seniors – Scott Wymbs, a 2012 195-pound Section 1 Division I finalist, Kirby Atlas, Bing Bing Xie, Sam Tugendhaft and Lobien.
Horace Greeley opened its season with a 3-2 record at Saturday's Bernie Miller Dual-Meet tournament. Atlas and Xie both went 5-0, Lobien was 4-1 and Mitchell Klein was named the team’s most outstanding wrestler.
“We’re all talented,” said Lobien, following the team’s win Saturday vesus Lakeland/Panas. “We just want to continue what we built on last year.”
Lobien said the first couple of years on varsity, the Quakers were under .500, but the wrestlers knew the team was improving with each practice and match. Last year, the Quakers went 4-1 at the Bernie Tournament and used it as a springboard for the remainder of the season.
“When you start out fast, it always helps because it gives you confidence knowing that when you go into a match you can compete with anyone,” Lobien said.
Lobien credits the team and the coaching staff of head coach Mike DeBellis and assistant Anthony Tortora with raising the level of Greeley wrestling. DeBellis was a Section 1 champion for Carmel and Tortora was a two-time sectional titlist and New York State place-finisher for Greeley.
“The seniors have been the catalyst for Greeley wrestling all four years,” DeBellis said. “They have acted as leaders, teachers and peer mentors. I wish I could freeze time and keep them all next season, as well. They make us a legitimate threat in every match.”
The Quakers returning experience has helped make practices so far intense and crisp.
“We are focusing on more technique and technical stuff,” Lobien said. “We know we have a shot to do something special this year.”