He was instrumental in maintaining the foundation of youth wrestling in the Birdsboro area.
Now, Jim Hogan has the opportunity to work with some of his charges higher up the ladder.
Hogan, who oversaw the Blazer Mat Club for nine years, took over the Daniel Boone High School wrestling program earlier this summer. He replaces Kevin Oswalt, who compiled a 32-54 dual-match record in four years heading the team.
“I saw the senior kids in the youth program,” Hogan said. “I’m hoping to transfer some of the success we had in youth wrestling to the high school.”
Hogan pointed with pride to both the quantity and quality achieved by the Blazer Mat Club over the years.
“Our numbers were great,” he said. “We averaged between 70 and 100 a year, in Grades K to 6.
“We had kids who won junior states, and some went to nationals. We also had novice wrestlers who were learning the sport.”
At Boone, Hogan takes over a program whose biggest individual accomplishment last season was seeing the graduated Jesse Enck go 35-3 and qualify for AAA states at 220.
Teamwise, the Blazers (2-5 Berks Conference, 5-9 overall) placed sixth in the conference’s eight-team Division 1 and were 10th of 15 in the District 3-AAA Section 1 competition.
“I want to change the culture … show the kids the proper work ethic,” Hogan said. “My goal is to fill the whole lineup; and for those who don’t make the lineup, I want them competing, too. I expect a full lineup of wrestlers competing.”
Seniors like Jonathan Arms, Steven Keim and Tyler Ring will be looked to for leadership this season. They’re also at the front of the crew that’s currently been involved in informal workouts.
“The last eight weeks, in the room weekly, we’ve had up to 15 lifting and wrestling,” Hogan noted. “There have been some returners, and some young guys.”
Maintaining the connection between the youth-wrestling club and Boone’s varsity team will remain a priority.
“The youth program has been keeping busy trying to help the high-school program,” Hogan said.
Hogan’s background in the sport predates his involvement with the Blazer Mat Club. He was a schoolboy grappler in the mid-1990s who finished as high at third place in New Jersey’s state tournament, then went on to be a four-year starter at Bloomsburg University.
Hogan has a storied member of Boyertown’s mat program joining his Boone staff: Alex Pellicciotti, a 2010 graduate who won three state medals and finished his career as the Bears’ all-time win leader with 170. Pellicciotti has four Section Four and three District 1-AAA South championships on his resume, in addition to one gold and two silver-medal finishes at the Southeast AAA Regional level.
“I’m putting together a group right now,” he said. “We have two guys in the club, and we want to see if more come in. The middle school is returning its coach, but we need nore to be there and show techniques.”