Torsell leads B-A wrestling into new era


Hailee McConnell

Jason Pluebell and Ethan Norris are two of four lettermen returning for the B-A wrestling team this season.

Caleb Beiswenger, Staff Writer

The Bellwood-Antis wrestling team is back and ready to make some big changes. With a new head coach Nick Torsell the Blue Devils look to improve from their season last year, and after only winning one match, the team has much room for improvement. 

Although this is Torsell’s first season as a head coach, he has goals to accomplish in his first year.

“I want every underclassmen we have to come back and bring back, assuming they enjoyed their time. I want the athletes that I have to realize their personal goals and feel fulfilled in their season,” says Torsell, who graduated from B-A in 2014.

Bellwood-Antis opened its season with the I.C.C. tournament on December 2 at Claysburg-Kimmel High School. The team wants to get out to a successful start of their season, trying to have as many wrestlers placed at the tournament as possible. Junior Elias Alley went 2-2 in the tournament at the 160 weight class. Senior Hunter Foor also picked up a win at the tournament at the 172 weight class. Sophomore Hayden Robison also got a win at 215.

The Bellwood-Antis wrestling program has had to overcome some serious issues in the past years. In 2021, longtime head coach Tim Andrekovick stepped down after 30 years in the program. In January Kyle Fink abruptly resigned, leaving the team to be coached by assistant Aric Reader, who did not return for the 2022 season. 

Torsell has big plans and aspirations to change the culture of wrestling at Bellwood-Antis. 

“I have some long term goals to fill my roster with a full team by the time I am three years in. I want to coach Bellwood-Antis’s first wrestling state champion. I also want to create a wrestling culture at Bellwood-Antis,” says Torsell. 

The Devils’ now move on to the Blairsville tournament. Their first home match is against Everett area on December 13. Some other important matches the team has include the Penn Cambria tournament, Glendale dual meets, and the West Branch Open Tournament. The district meet for individuals is at the beginning of February.

Bellwood has high hopes for some of irs own wrestlers to become District champions. Senior Ethan Norris qualified for the District tournament last year where he placed 2nd at 220.

“My goal for the season is to win the district 6 championship. I am excited for the season this is my first year wrestling in the heavyweight class. Although we do not have a strong number of wrestlers, everyone on the team is very skilled and strong. I hope we can start out our season strong as a team at the I.C.C. tournament,” stated Ethan Norris.

Torsell’s top priority for the season is to make sure every wrestler improves throughout the season. 

“My goals for the season are to ensure the improvement of every individual wrestler,” he said. “I want to allow them to reach their goals while having an enjoyable time. I want everyone to learn the awesome combat sport that is wrestling.” 

Bellwood-Antis has 3 seniors: Ethan Norris, Hunter Foor, and Jason Pluebell. 

Some other returning wrestlers include junior Elias Alley, sophomores Kolben Alley, Seth Regan, William Maule, Hayden Robinson, and freshman Christian Jennings. 

The Blue Devils have lost 4 seniors who played a large role on the team in 2021-22. The seniors this year are excited to have the challenge to fill the missing pieces. The Blue Devils may be lacking in the numbers, but everyone on the team is very dedicated and has worked hard to prepare for the season. 

Some concerns that Torsell has is his team’s lack of numbers and injuries. 

“My main concerns are the amount of kids that don’t come out,” Torsell said. “Many people don’t understand why it is an important life skill, not just a sport but the idea of self defense as well. I am also concerned about keeping everyone injury free throughout the entirety of the season.” 

Bellwood-Antis has 4 returning lettermen: seniors Ethan Norris, Jason Pluebell, and Hunter Foor, and junior Elias Alley.