There’s no denying the fact that championships are won behind the scenes, regardless of sport, but how much coaching affects an athlete is always a topic for debate.
Not if you ask Trent Curcie.
The Shamokin wrestler, now in his senior year, has failed to compile a winning record or advance past the sectional stage in his first three years of competition.
This year, the Indians’ 285-pounder topped tournaments at Jim Thorpe and South Williamsport and earned a 7th-place finish at the 44-team Panther Holiday Classic.
Curcie said the 30 pounds he has added on since last year has been a benefit, but he attributes the majority of his success to weightlifting guidance from Tony Scicchitano, who began working with Curcie on the football team after Henry Hynoski was announced as the successor to head football coach Jim Lichty.
“Mr. Scicchitano gave me workouts that worked really well for me,” Curcie said when asked how he has been able to maintain his mobility on the mat despite the increase in weight. “I’m putting about the same amount of time in each day, but it’s a smarter workout — there’s more focus on conditioning and building stamina.”
With a 14-3 record, Curcie’s newfound success has left him ranked fifth in the Class AA Northeast Region according to rankings released Thursday by d4wrestling.com. He is one spot behind Southern Columbia’s Conner Fulmer (12-3) and two behind Midd-West’s Owen Hosler at 285 pounds.
Indians wrestling coach Todd Hockenbroch said Curcie entered his senior season with an increase in confidence and a healthier knee, which had given him problems in the past.
“We didn’t know how much he was able to move,” Hockenbroch explained. “This year he’s healthy and he has managed the weight he put on really well. We have him working with Jake Carpenter (170 pounds) and he can move around the mat pretty well with him.”
Hockenbroch said that despite Curcie’s reserved demeanor, the senior holds a mentality that is required to be successful.
“You know, I want to call him a gentle giant, but if you would get out on the mat with him — he’s as strong as an ox — he’s a real tough kid and it’s nice to see everything coming together for him,” Hockenbroch said.
Curcie said his goal for the individual postseason is to advance beyond sectionals, but Hockenbroch said if he can continue to wrestle like he has during the first half of the season, there’s no telling where he could end up at the end of the year.