He ended up getting pinned while trailing 10-4, but he got up and walked over to his coaches, asking what he could do better. Margrey (pictured with coaches Gene Mills and Paul Lyman) has been asking those questions since he began wrestling last summer, after previously spending his winters with basketball or drum line.
"I keep my head up and take it as a learning experience," he said after his match. Being on the mat with just his opponent in front of a crowd does not bother him: "I think, how could I beat him? You have to do whatever possible to beat him."
Teaching a high school sophomore, junior or senior to wrestle is a challenge that many coaches accept, in an effort to fill their lineups. When guys who began learning takedowns and escapes in pee wee are in short supply, find strong, mentally tough athletes who might try this sport. Many of Margrey's JV teammates at Phoenix are newcomers, Lyman said.
Where do you start?
Chuck Donovan, former Marcellus coach, said he would have a boy do a forward roll, to see his body awareness with the mat. Then the choice was whether to begin tutoring him from his feet or down.
Mike Conners, former Fulton coach, said he looked for tough guys who would battle, then choose how to begin teaching.
Lyman said he teaches proper stance first, then motion, then how to shoot for a takedown. He said the guys he seek need to have a lot of energy and, bottom line, heart. Phoenix seniors Tim Gandino and Eathan Harrington echoed that idea, saying newcomers should be hard-nosed competitors.
Margrey, who competes in soccer and track, knew his father Doug wrestled for Phoenix, and that his uncles Jeff and Steve had wrestled too. But he didn't think about it until last summer, when he played King of the Hill on a float at Cross Lake. Gripping other guys, testing his balance and strength, pushing guys into the water caused him to think of his father's sport.
"I thought, if this is a sport and I can do it any day, who not try it?" he said. He joined the Pin2Win academy and started his instruction, which began with hand fighting, how to move an opponent and what position is best.
Mike Schiedo had success with teaching older guys, when he coached Chittenango. He convinced football lineman Bill Spicer to try wrestling as a junior. Spicer ended up being sectional runner-up at 215 pounds as a senior in 1990. Schiedo recruited Rick Osborne, Spicer's classmate, as a senior and he ended up being varsity at 167 in 1989-90, right before 177-pounder Bruce Thomas and then Spicer.
Osborne had strength, aggressiveness, balance and excellent hips, said Schiedo, who also coached football, where Osborne started at running back and linebacker. Osborne was a basketball player but had decided not to play as a senior.
"I talked to Rick but his friends said he didn't want to wrestle," said Schiedo, now Chittenango superintendent of schools. "I said maybe he wasn't tough enough mentally. That weekend he saw me and said he would be at practice Monday."
Schiedo said he began with having Osborne on the bottom, trying to escape or avoid getting pinned, because it's frustrating and a great test.
"Rich had a rough start but kept improving," Schiedo said. "He began to win. He ended up with a .500 record and competing in the Section 3 meet. I think if he had begun as a junior, he could have been sectional champ."