The news that coach David Wilkerson would be stepping down from the head coaching position of Washington & Lee High School wrestling team, after accepting a new job elsewhere in the Commonwealth, was a bit of a shock last week.
Wilkerson started the wrestling program at the high school in 2007. But, it was assistant coach Brian Satterwhite who had the biggest surprise when the former coach contacted him by phone to see if he would be interested in the position.
“I told him, ‘yes, of course I would be interested,’” said Satterwhite. “I was there last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel like I have good rapport with all the athletes on the team so it was something I was really excited to step into.”
Coming into Westmoreland County last year, Satterwhite had five years of experience coaching middle and high school wrestlers. But this year will mark his first season as a head coach.
Three top returners including junior Moses Oviedo, senior Raskey Dejesus and sophomore James Snider will join Satterwhite and continue defending their district title, trying to win the region championship and send as many wrestlers to the state tournament as possible.
“We have a shot at being successful in the district again this year,” Satterwhite said. “I’m not downplaying any team…I just expect them to do well.”
Last season Oveido and Dejesus won their respective district championships, with Snider finishing as runner up. Oviedo is also the region’s two-time district champion and finished fifth in the state. Dejesus and Snider follow as the region’s runners up.
Snider made it to the Round of 12 in the state tournament after his first season wrestling, Dejesus placed eighth in the state.
“I don’t really differentiate too much from what established last year…and after the first day of practice I was thoroughly impressed,” Satterwhite said. “From day one I’ve excited about what I have.”
About 35 students came out on the first day. Satterwhite said he expects to fill all of the weight classes, which will give his team a competitive edge over other schools.
“I’m going to continue moving forward and that’s my goal. Keep the accelerator pushed to the floor and continue to excel,” Satterwhite said. “I can see the talent I have here after starting the wresting club for the youth in the area…there is a great potential there for Washington & Lee wrestling to continue to be prosperous in the future.”
At Montross Middle School, Satterwhite said with the funding assistance from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, wrestling mats were able to be purchased and offer students an introductory after school course on the sport.
Satterwhite said he hopes that will continue to offer that for students.
Washington and Lee will start the season travelling for their first match of the season to Caroline High School on Dec. 8 (time TBD) and will host the fifth annual Montrossity Tournament on Dec. 15 beginning at 8 a.m.