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Senior-led Depew wrestling looks for improvements

The Depew High School wrestling team is hoping some strong seniors can lead the way on the mat this season. The Wildcats look to improve on last season’s performance and hope some of the lessons learned in recent years will pay off this season.

“We got a big senior group,” Depew head coach Jim Szefler said. “This is their last year and we’re looking for positive results from them.”

Among the standouts for the Wildcats will be 152-pound senior Josh Rogacki, who took fourth at the Section VI championships last winter. Pat Mahony (182 pounds), Dakota Ward (heavyweight) and Phillip Calandra (99 pounds) are also looking strong for Depew.

Also looking for big seasons will be Chadd Nowak (113), Max Jaskier (126), Mike Treadway (145), Joshua Bakkila (160), Silas Garrison (170) and Dylan Grant (220).

“It should be a pretty good mix,” Szefler said after the team’s season-opening dual meet at Alden. “We got the first match under our belt and now we’re going to move forward.”

The Wildcats dropped that dual meet 51-28 to the rival Bulldogs. Forfeits at 120, 132, 138 and 195 pounds made it pretty much impossible for Depew to win the team scores, but there were plenty of positives for the Wildcats.

Depew got pins from Rogacki and Ward and a decision victory from Mahony. But the other six contested matches went to Alden.

“We competed well, but we need some improvements,” Szefler said. “I think we can work a lot harder than we did. I don’t think we were in good enough shape to keep up with Alden.”

The Wildcats will get ready for the postseason with some solid in-season tournaments, starting with its own Depew Wildcats Invitational on Dec. 8. Depew will also participate in the tough Lockport Invitational in mid-January.

Depew hopes its young wrestlers can continue to improve and the Wildcats can be at their peak when the Class B Section VI tournament takes place on Feb. 2 at East Aurora High School.

“We’re working hard,” Szefler said. “Hopefully we can keep getting better.”

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