Rassle dazzle wrestling at Honesdale High

By TED WADDELL
Posted 2/5/20

HONESDALE, PA — The folks over at Honesdale High School take wrestling pretty seriously, and they have the chops to prove it.

On Monday, January 27, the Hornets hosted a dual wrestling meet. …

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Rassle dazzle wrestling at Honesdale High

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HONESDALE, PA — The folks over at Honesdale High School take wrestling pretty seriously, and they have the chops to prove it.

On Monday, January 27, the Hornets hosted a dual wrestling meet. It kicked off with a match against the Red Raiders of Blue Ridge High School, located in New Milford, PA, and wrapped up with the feature match against the Western Wayne High School Wildcats from Lake Ariel, PA.

At the conclusion of the meet, the home-team grapplers emerged victorious as they defeated both rivals (Honesdale 66, Blue Ridge 12; Honesdale 54, Western Wayne 24).

The bouts take place in a gym resplendent with red banners recording the successes of the school’s wrestling program. A lamp hangs over the center of the mat, featuring the likeness of a fighting hornet.

The wrestling program at the Home of the Hornets has a long-standing tradition of turning out talented matmen.

The current stat leaders for the 2019-2020 season are Tim Dailey (18 wins and 11 falls) and Tristyn Bodie (22 takedowns and 7 near falls).

Honesdale’s wrestling program is helmed by several coaches: varsity head coach Ryan Chulada, varsity assistant Joe Arnone, jayvee head coach Chris Carroll and a trio of assistant coaches, Kyle Olver, Mike Ondich and Mark Snyder, all supported by student statisticians and a photographer.

Rounding out the program is a high-energy cheerleading squad made up of Alexis Barone, Emily Chorba, Isabelle Curreri, Sarah Decker, Marisa Johannes, James Manoy, Alysa Martin, Hannah McConnell, Olivia Novak, Paige Novobilski, Riley Skelton, Nadia Slish, Sidnie Taninies and Madison White. 

As leaders of the varsity wrestling program, Ryan Chulada and his assistant Joe Arnone, both grads of Honesdale High, returned to their high school alma mater 15 years ago. “He and I have been rocking and rolling since we came back,” said Chulada of his assistant. “We’re thrilled to carry on the tradition that was started way before we got here.”

Chulada graduated from the local high school in 1999; while there, he wrestled and played football and baseball. “I had 98 wins, just shy of one hundred,” he said of his career as a high school grappler. He went on to wrestle at Bloomsburg University and, during his final two years, was a starter on the Division I team.

At Honesdale, tradition carries the sports flag from one generation to the next; Chulada follows in the footsteps of his father, Rich, who coached at the Home of the Hornets for 35 years. “He was a football and wrestling guy himself,” said Chulada.

This year, the Hornets wrestling squad “is a really young team” with eight freshmen in the starting lineup. “We’re green but competitive… We have a lot of ebbs and flows from one match to another,” said Chulada

Asked his take on the relevancy of sports, and in particular wrestling at the high school level, Chulada replied, “Sports in general are great for character development, but wrestling has so many intangibles that develop young men better than some other options.”

The historic legacy of Honesdale’s wrestling program:

In 2005, Josh Arnone was crowned state champion at 189-pounds—so far, he’s the school’s only state champ.

Honesdale has banners hanging in the gym proclaiming the school’s victory in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s (PIAA) district championships of 1974 and 2018, and the PIAA team district title in 2017 and 2018.

In addition, they won the Lackawanna League championships in 1985, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2009 and 2017.

Posting 100 career wins are Kevin Mulligan (123 wins from 1981 to 1985), Joe Arnone (113 wins from 1997 to 2001), Josh Arnone (156 wins from 2001 to 2005), Ryan Smith (113 wins from 2009 to 2012), Matt Evans (110 wins from 2009 to 2012), Zach Smith (117 wins from 2010 to 2013) and Evan Kennedy (108 wins from 2011 to 2014)

Honesdale High’s PIAA Wrestling State Qualifiers are Dan Miszler (1974, 145-pound weight class, did not place (DNP)), Dave Olver (1979, 145-pound weight class, third), Brian Tallman (1980, 185-pound weight class, DNP), Kevin Mulligan (1980, 103-pound weight class, DNP), Joe Arnone (2000, 160-pound weight class, DNP), Joe Arnone (2001, 152-pound weight class, seventh), Josh Arnone (2002, 160-pound weight class, seventh), Josh Arnone (2005, 189-pound weight class, second), Josh Arnone (2005, 189-pound weight class, first) and Alec Dragos (2017, 184-pound weight class DNP).

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