Sunday, November 26, 2023, TRIB-LIVE
There will be plenty of decisions for Michael Frank and the Fox Chapel wrestling program to make this season.
Frank has a wrestling room with plenty of available bodies to help the Foxes’ program continue to show improvement. Fox Chapel has 45 boys out for the team this year from grades nine through 12.
While the Foxes will likely have some ninth-grade wrestlers at the junior high level, it is exciting for Frank to have options.
“The exciting part is I think we have some good balance throughout,” Frank said. “We have a few juniors in the lighter weights and D’Angelo Hamilton is a heavyweight who started to wrestle well last season. It’s nice when you have those bookends to start and finish up with confidence in those spots. In between them, we have seven or eight kids who had varsity experience last year.”
Last season, Fox Chapel qualified for the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs as a team. The Foxes beat Bethel Park, 34-28, in the pigtails before losing 54-9 to Waynesburg in the first round.
Frank believes Fox Chapel will challenge for a playoff spot again this season. The Foxes will host North Hills to open the season Dec. 6.
“That’s the thing we strive toward,” Frank said. “I thought we wrestled well last year as a team. We improved as the kids got more varsity level experience. Now that a lot of the guys are back, we have higher expectations.”
Alexander Kaufmann was one of eight Fox Chapel wrestlers to get through North Section to qualify for the WPIAL championships last season. The others were Landon Funk (107), Michael Worsen (114 pounds), Adam Haines (121), Milo Chiu (145), Joseph Geller (172), Trevor Katz (189) and Hamilton (285).
Katz is the only one who graduated. Josh Alexander (189) didn’t make the WPIAL playoffs last season, but will also be counted on to win big matches for Fox Chapel. Alexander won more than 20 matches in his sophomore and junior seasons.
“We only graduated one senior last year who started in a weight class,” Frank said. “We are at a much better place to start this year than last year. They took their lumps and are ready to go.”