As the years pass by, and players come and go, the Alexander wrestling team finds a way to maintain their success each and every season. The 2014-15 season will be no different for the Cougars under head coaches Sean Moistner and Daryk Cochran.
This year’s squad sees its share of returning state placers and is also infused by another youth movement of talented freshmen. Leading the way for Alexander this season once again is Roman Boylen.
Boylen is a two time state champion, winning at 119-pounds in his freshman year, and taking the top title last season at 138. He finished second while battling a full season of injuries his sophomore year. This year Boylen will be competing at either 138 or 145.
Boylen is coming off a successful season and summer. Last year, the AHS grappler was nearly unbeatable. His only loss came to a two time state champion and All-American from South Carolina. Over the summer, Boylen finished fourth in Greco Roman and became a an All-American himself.
This season Moistner wants to work with Boylen to get him NCAA Division-I college ready.
“The physicality is different at the college level and we need to get him more work on the bottom, something he has never had to deal with at the college level,” Moistner said. “At the college level, that is the biggest thing that players lag at.”
Also returning to this year’s varsity squad are Bryce Hollomon, Matthew Beske, Muhammad Ansari and Bobby Boswell.
Hollomon is a two time state qualifier with over 100 career wins. He lost in the state placer match in last season’s tourney. Moistener said he is excited about his development. Hollomon will be competing at 120 or 126.
Beske is also a returning state qualifier. The senior has worked hard over the summer and has filled into his body. Last year he had to wrestle up at 160, despite only being a true 145. This year he will wrestle at either 152 or 160.
Ansari will wrestle at either 170 or 182. He is a returning state placer, finishing fourth last year.
“He is focused and took the suggestions we made last year to heart,” Moistner said. “He did a good job at addressing what he needed to work on.”
Boswell is a retuning start qualifier at heavyweight. Moistner said he is struggling with his weight right now but he is much better than he was in the 2013-14 season.
Several freshmen have impressed early on, Vinnie Ferrara and Logan Dasaro. Both players are very experienced after competing at the club level. Ferrara will compete at either 113 or 120. Dasaro will wrestle at 126 or 136.
“We are expecting big things out of Vinnie and are really excited about Logan,” Moistner said. “Both kids are like [Chad] Starnes and Boylen before them, they come in with a lot of experience and will grind it out on the mat. They will do nothing but impress.”
Alexander picks up a big time transfer from Kansas in Willie Dieckmann. Dieckmann is a two time state placer that will compete at either 145, 152 or 160.
“We feel like he is going to challenge for a title right of the bat,” Moistner said. “He will make us stronger in the duals and is someone that can push Roman and Matthew.”
Also on the varsity squad are two seniors that have fought their way through the system and are finally getting their chance to start. Shane Hornsby will compete at either 160 or 170 and Wesley Shepherd will compete at either 195 or 220.
“Shane wrestled some for us on varsity last year and has the ability to place at state,” Moistner said. “Wesley has done everything he is supposed to do and now it is his time. He is the type of kid who can help us challenge for a team title.”
As for expectations, Moistner never changes, saying the team wants to win another title.
“We have an experienced group and they understand what we are about,” Moistner said. “We feel like we have a chance but it is going to take everyone buying in and staying focused.”
Alexander will be moving to 5A this year, and there are plenty of challenges waiting for the Cougars. Region 5-AAAAA has nine teams that finished in the top five in sectionals.
“This season will be more difficult, and more challenging,” Moistner said. “We have tough schools like Allatoona and South Paulding in the region, Kell is well coached, and Cambridge returns as the defending state champion. We also have Camden County, which is being allowed to play down a class. They were the 6A runner-ups last year.”
Despite, or perhaps because of the challenges, Moistner is excited to get started.
“This is probably the best group of young men I have had,” Moistner said. “They care just as much about what they do in the classroom and in the community than they do on the mat. They are a fun group to coach.”