The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

Wrestling Q&A with coach Harry Keyser

A Q&A with the LM wrestling coach Harry Keyser.

Last year, the Aces’ wrestling team had an improved season compared to previous years, posting a team record of eight wins. Regardless, the team has recently lost a lot of the seniors that contributed heavily to the success of the team, leaving Captains Tayo Seyi-David ’24 and Tatum Daley ’24 to lead the squad. Regardless, this year is different. For the first time in a long time, the team has a bigger roster of young wrestlers that are hungry to succeed in the sport, and, so far, their potential to be great wrestlers has just started to turn into reality. For further details on how the team is doing, I asked Head Coach Harry Keyser at the end of January to share his thoughts on the team.

Q: How is the team doing so far?

A: We are doing well this year despite many obstacles. We lost a lot of seniors due to graduation, we had some former team members not come out this year, and we have had some critical wrestlers get injured this year. Even with all of that, we are currently 3-5 in Central League duals.

We’ve also had a lot of success in individual tournaments this year. Seyi-David has placed in every tournament so far and we’ve had several other wrestlers place in one or more: Abby McGrew ’27, Tatum Daley ’24, Keegan Daley ’27, Sam Soeffing ’26, Aaron Silber ’26, and Tamir Griffin ’26.

Q: What were your short term and long term goals this season?

A: I typically set team goals around the same three areas: league dual meet record, postseason accomplishments, and getting wrestlers to the All-State Academic Team.

For this year, I was hoping we could finish 4-4 in Central League duals, have five wrestlers qualify for Regionals, two wrestlers qualify for states, and have five wrestlers selected to the All-State Academic Team.

As of now, it looks like we are on track to achieve all of these goals, but more work needs to be done to stay on that path.

Q: Last year, there were a lot of talented seniors that graduated who were crucial to the team. Did this affect the team as a whole?

A: Losing the seniors we had last year definitely had an impact. They were a special group of kids who provided great leadership and they really left our team with a great culture. We continue to see the positive impact they had on our wrestling community with the current team.

It is also a credit to our current team to be having as much success as we are even after losing so many seniors. K. Daley and McGrew have come on strong as freshmen and have helped us win matches. Soeffing, Silber, and Griffin made huge improvements during the offseason and have been big contributors. K. Daley currently sports a record of 18-11, McGrew 8-7, Soeffing 14-10, Silber 14-14, and Griffin 19-8. That is a lot of wins out of a young group who had less than ten high school wins combined last year. McGrew has also helped us fill the 107 lb weight class that we have had vacant the past few years.

And, of course, T. Daley and Seyi-David are providing valuable senior leadership this year and they are having really good seasons. T. Daley is currently 20-5 and Seyi-David is 18-9.

There is another team member who also stands out as a huge contributor for us—Sam Lledo ’24. Lledo completed his athletic eligibility last year and decided to stay with the team as a coach and training partner this year. I know this transition was hard to do for him, but I couldn’t be happier that he decided to stay with us and contribute to our success in the way that he has. He provides good leadership for our athletes, helps us out with teaching technique to newer wrestlers, and is part of the strong culture that he and the rest of the seniors last year helped build.

Q: There are at least 36 people on the roster this year, which is a huge increase compared to previous years. How has this increased participation  impacted the team?

A: We had forty students come out during the first week of practice. This is the most we’ve seen at LM in a very long time. I think students are excited about what wrestling has to offer: building athleticism, increasing strength and conditioning, building character, being a part of a team with a strong positive culture, and having the opportunity to display your skills in a one-on-one environment. This makes winning a wrestling match one of the most exciting feelings in the world.

The large turnout this year has had a valuable impact on the team. We are very young this year [with] only a handful of seniors and juniors and a very large number of freshmen and sophomores. Our younger wrestlers have a really good work ethic and if they continue to have this, we will be a very good team for years to come.

I also know and hope the student body knows that wrestling is a sport for everybody and everyone can contribute in some way. Having lots of freshmen come out has helped us fill lower weight classes we’ve had to forfeit in the past. We have also had a few girls join the team this year and make contributions.

We also continue to have older students come out for the sport with no experience which helps the team. Uriel Solomon ’24, Charlie Welgs ’26, and Joel Paz ’24 are all first-year wrestlers who have won some matches for us this year and have made a difference.

Q: What stood out to you so far this season?

A: I’m very happy that we are on pace to have as good of a season (maybe better) this year as last even after so many seniors graduating. I’m blown away by how hard our younger wrestlers have worked and they continue to get better. I’m also pleased to see how many people have helped contribute to the team this year in various ways. I’m very excited about what our team can do in the next few years.

Top left, top center photos courtesy Sam Lledo ’24. Top right, bottom row photos by Aaron Silber ’26/Staff

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