Jayhawks Staying Close To Home
Schimek Infusing Jamestown CC Roster With Successful Local Grapplers
When Jamestown Community College wrestling coach Kris Schimek first took over at the helm three years ago, there was not an overwhelming focus on getting more wrestlers from Western New York onto the Jayhawks roster.
That is because Schimek needed to find any wrestlers at all to fill out his team, regardless of where they hailed from.
“My first year I only had like three guys,” said Schimek, who graduated from Pine Valley Central School in 2011. “I took over a quarter of the way into the season. It was a big rebuild and the only local name that I had at that point was Howie Nolan.”
The priority at that time was getting the program ready to compete at a team level, and thanks to his background of wrestling in the Southern Tier, Schimek knew that there was plenty of talent available in the area.
“I would say that the Southern Tier has a really good cluster of local talent,” Schimek said. “Obviously Falconer speaks for itself, they are (highly ranked) in the state for small schools and coach (Drew) Wilcox does a really good job.”
“He and I work together a little bit in the offseason, I help out with their club,” Schimek added. “So it’s nice, I get to interact with the guys and get to meet them and they get to see a little bit of what I do and I get to see what they can do. Coach (Mark) Hetrick at Maple Grove, he and I have always had a good relationship. I’ve helped coach his boys for a long time and I think overall there is just a lot of talent.”
In just a short period of time, Schimek has done an excellent job of getting some of the best local wrestlers to compete at the NJCAA level. Of the 16 grapplers currently on the Jayhawks roster, more than half have roots close to Jamestown.
One of the strongest of the bunch is sophomore Cameron Page, a product of Wilcox’s Falconer program.
At this past weekend’s match against Ithaca College, Page entered as the No. 2 ranked NJCAA wrestler at 184 pounds against No. 1 Jake Ashkraft. Despite ending up on the wrong side of a one-point decision, Schimek was pleased with Page’s performance.
“He caught Cameron in an awkward position and actually threw him from the bottom which is really rare. That was a six-point move so that put him up, and then from there the only other point we surrendered was an escape because we let him go, and a penalty point.”
Joining his former teammate from Falconer at Jamestown CC is Dan Torres of Cassadaga Valley, a two-time fifth-place finisher at the NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships.
While Schimek typically likes to wait until the end of his team’s early month of strength and conditioning before naming any freshman as captain, the impression that Torres made was exceptional.
“I usually wait until the end to pick a freshman captain and I gave it to him after a week,” Schimek said. “Dan is the hardest working kid I’ve ever seen in my life, not just wrestling, everything. He’s got a 4.0, he works any chance he gets when we don’t have practice. He comes in early, he’s an hour early every single day, he’s the last to leave every single day.”
Torres is currently wrestling at 174 pounds, just below Page.
Another area sophomore who has experienced a good start to the year is Nick Jones of Dunkirk, who finished the weekend with a 2-0 record, earning a pair of pins against Ithaca and SUNY Oswego while wrestling at 285 pounds.
“He has opened up his arsenal more this year,” Schimek said. “He likes to win in overtime, which is good because that is the mental toughness thing that is hard to teach people to want to go to that point. Most people want to end in regulation, Nick wants to go to overtime and win in overtime.”
Rounding out Schimek’s roster are Ben Winkler (Jamestown/Jamestown HS), Josh Snyder (Jamestown/Jamestown HS), Joey Perry (Corry, Pa./ Corry HS), Nick Ewan (Jamestown/Jamestown HS) Caleb Palmatier (Franklinville/ Franklinville CS) and Matthew Jordan (Corry, Pa./ Corry HS).
The Jayhawks will now take a long break through the rest of December while preparing for the National Duals tournament in early January.