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Nick Wade named new head coach of Pottstown wrestling

POTTSTOWN >> He experienced the situation during his days as a high-school wrestler at Phoenixville.

So Nick Wade has a feel for the best way to approach the circumstances he’ll face in taking over Pottstown’s varsity mat program this winter.

Wade has become the Trojans’ new varsity wrestling head coach, his position affirmed by the Pottstown school board at its Oct. 23 meeting. He will be the third one in as many seasons, preceded in the post by Brad Clark (2016-17) and Brad Bechtel (2015-16).

It’s similar to what he faced at Phoenixville, working under three head coaches — Gary Barron (2000-01), Adam Staton (2001-02, 2002-03) and John Tornetta (2003-04) — during his scholastic career. Suffice it to say, consistency and stability are two of the foci of his new job.

“Continuity is the important thing,” he said.

Wade has considerable familiarity with the Pottstown wrestlers, having served as an assistant coach the past two seasons. He was part of the Trojans going 21-17 in that span, highlighted by finishing in a three-way tie with Pottsgrove and Upper Perkiomen for the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s Frontier Division regular-season championship.

“My expectation is for us to compete for the PAC Frontier Division title,” he said. “We were proud to win it. It’s a tangible goal.”

Wade originally hadn’t figured on becoming a head coach. But that plan changed when Clark, a star wrestler at Methacton in the mid-2000s, opted to return to his alma mater to take over its varsity program.

“It’s not something I had my sights on. I didn’t see it opening up,” he said. “But when it did, I talked to (athletic director) Steve Anspach and (assistant coach) John Armato, and they felt it was the best route for the kids.”

Wade had a combined 31-29 record during his last two years at Phoenixville, wrestling at 119 and 125 his junior season and 145 as a senior. He went on to attend Penn State University’s Berks campus and had some participation in the sport at the club level.

“I liked focusing on technique … where I was at, feeling out the other wrestler,” he said of his competitive style. “One point I try to pass on is, don’t take any practices off. Don’t wait for goals, go get it now.

“I want to get the guys to be physical, always attacking,” Wade added. “I hope as we get going, I have my own wrinkles I want to bring in.”

At a recent meeting, between 25 and 30 candidates for the 2017-18 team turned out. Wade is hoping to see that number raised to the 30-35 range for the upcoming season.

“Maybe we can fill every weight class this year,” he said. “I’m predicting a full roster.”

Once again, though, the Pottstown program will have to contend with not getting a number of football-playing wrestlers in the fold until after Thanksgiving Day. Wade estimates approximately 11 candidates are out for the football team.

“That’s about one-third of the team,” he said. “Once they come into practice, that will change our whole procedure. But I’m glad to see they’re playing a sport they love … one that’s physical.”

The main departure from last year’s squad is Isaiah Mayes, a PAC runner-up and sixth-place District 1-AAA West medalist at 170.

As for his staff, Wade has assistants Armato and Tom Daniels coming back. Anspach and older brother Brad Wade are other possibilities.

“I want to build a strong coaching staff,” he said. “Everyone has different styles, and I want to utilize them.”

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