Robinson, Juniata wrestlers make mark on TVL all-star team

When glancing through this year’s Tri-Valley League wrestling all-star list, it’s no surprise to see that the cooperative program between East Juniata and Juniata – now wrestling as Juniata – dominated the 2013 team, garnering the respect of the league as Mike Robinson was named coach of the year and six Indians made the squad.

Seniors Sean Heggs, Adam Barrick, Luke Nanna and Patrick Fitzgerald were joined by juniors Jared Benner and Derek Beitz on the all-league team.

One of the workhorses of the squad and fourth-place finisher at the state tournament a year ago, Heggs had an opportunity to medal again in 2013, but an injury in the state tournament forced him to default, sending him to an early exit.

“It was a tough situation for Sean,” Robinson said. “He had a great year and it was just cut a little short with injuries.”

Heggs gained access to the coveted tournament at Giant Center with a first place finish in the Class AA Southwest Regional tournament after winning District 6.

“He’s a phenomenal athlete and I’m looking forward to watching him wrestle in his college debut,” Robinson added.

Barrick’s first-team selection was also well deserved, Robinson said. Robinson noted that Barrick was part of the foundation that helped Juniata wrestling be successful.

“It’s nice to see him earn the first-team selection – he has a great work ethic and he always worked hard – I’m looking forward to seeing him continue his wrestling career at the next level as well.”

Another team leader and senior, Nanna served as a team captain.

“Luke is another wrestler with a great work ethic – it’s nice to see him recognized as well and he will definitely be missed,” Robinson said.

Another senior who will continue his wrestling career in college is Fitzgerald – the team’s anchor and one that Robinson said will be sorely missed.

“We counted on him and expected a lot out of him and he came through for us,” he said. “He’ll do very well – no matter what he does – Patrick is just so motivated on and off the mat, it’s incredible.”

The attitudes and work ethic of the seniors seems to permeate the underclassmen each year – an attribute that Robinson said has greatly contributed to the team’s success through the years.

“We’re fortunate because the attitudes and the work ethic that these seniors had – they instilled the same attitude in the underclassmen,” he said.

Benner, a junior, will have some big shoes to fill in 2013-2014 but by all accounts, he will not miss a beat.

“Fortunately we have (Benner) back again – he’s just a hard nosed young man and we know that he’s going to give 100 percent every time he’s on the mat,” Robinson said.

Last but not least is Beitz – another junior who had a successful season worthy of the first-team accolade. Beitz too will have no trouble assuming the role as a team leader as he did so this past season.

“He’s one that has already stepped up and is making his mark,” Robinson said. “I look for big things out of him next year – it’s nice to see him selected to the TVL all-stars.”