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John Jay Wrestling Out to Continue Tradition

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – Going into the 2011-12 high school wrestling season, John Jay-Cross River is well aware of one thing.

Based on the graduation of two-time Section 1 Division I champion Lucas Myer, state-qualifier Mark Swertfager, Wyatt Gilchrist and Jay Smith, the Indians will not be as good as in past years.

If that is an opponent’s perception, Declan Myer feels it is unjust.

“We have a lot of good wrestlers in this room and we are looking pretty good so far,” said Myer, who returned to practice after missing opening week while preparing for the football Senior Bowl.

Mike Rosenthal and Myer are the only seniors for John Jay, which won the 2010 Section 1 Division I team title. Since coach Bill Swertfager restored John Jay to varsity status earlier this millennium, the Indians have established themselves as one of Section 1’s elite.

John Jay has built a tradition and the Indians want to keep it going this year.

“You hear a lot about the whole tradition surrounding John Jay wrestling and when it’s your turn, you want to follow in the footsteps of the great wrestlers before you,” said Myer, in his second year of wrestling.

Along with Myer and Rosenthal, John Jay returns a trip of solid juniors in Alex Lambiotte, Louis Talia and Ethan Smith. The five veterans are the leaders on a young team, featuring a large number of sophomores and freshmen.

Myer said it was weird walking into practice and not seeing the four senior leaders from last year’s team.

“They were a big presence in the room and we all looked to them when it came to learning moves,” Myer said. “Now, we are the older guys in the room and we have to take charge.”

The upperclassmen have been working with the freshmen and sophomores. Their enthusiasm and dedication to the sport has the upperclassmen looking forward to the season.

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