Longtime Wrestling, Football, Baseball Coach Lee Weber Named To Head Clarion Area Wrestling Program (Posted 11/30/20)

(Above photo submitted) The Weber family: Front ( L-R) Krista holding Gemma and Hayden. Back (L-R) Adrian, Frank and Lee.

Longtime Clarion Area Junior High Wrestling Coach was recently named to as the Bobcats head coach. Coach Weber has spent a number of years, developing young athletes, in not only wrestling, but as an assistant football coach as well as a varsity assistant and head baseball coach for Clarion Area. He has also been involved with coaching in the Clarion Little League.

When asked how it feels to become the head coach, Coach Weber said, “I am excited for the opportunity to be a Bobcat Head Coach but so much is up in the air right now.  If this were a normal non-covid19 year, I would be more prepared for the upcoming season. Many schools that we co-op with are not attending school physically, therefore, cannot attend practices.  I won’t have my full team until December 14th, if all goes well with Covid19. 

“I got hired a couple weeks ago so I will have to be creative with my training plans in the month of December.  Hopefully, things can be back to somewhat “normal” by the end of the year, so the kids don’t miss out on this opportunity to wrestle.” 

 Coach Weber stated, “I want to thank Dr. Carrico and the school board for having faith in me with leading the wrestling program.  It will take a lot of work with the co-ops since we have 4 other schools to work with but with the help of Mrs. Mills and Mrs. Miller-Martini, we can do it!”

Coach Weber will be working with an old friend again, Rob Sintobin, who was the varsity coach for a number of years. Coach Sintobin will be an assistant coach, this go-round.

About working with Coach Sintobin again, Coach Weber said, “I am looking forward to working with my friend again!  We were in the same coaching positions back in 2003-2006.  We had some of Clarion’s best years as far as number of wins and advancement into Regionals and States.  Rob brings in his vast experience as a college wrestler and he also has much success as an MMA fighter/trainer from Clarion MMA.” 

Another former Bobcat head coach, Randy Cathcart will be a volunteer assistant on Coach Weber’s staff. Coach Weber stated, “I’m glad to have Randy volunteer again!  He will help out at both the Junior High and Varsity levels. It’s great to have another experienced wrestling coach around and I’m looking forward to seeing many Cathcart grandkids moving up the ranks!” 

And another experienced assistant, Cameron Slike is back helping on both Varsity and Junior High. Coach Weber mentioned, “Cam also have been helping at both levels. He came down to help our Junior High heavyweight Brock Champluvier earn a 5th place finish at States!”

Coach Weber replaces Coach Brian Luton who resigned earlier this year.About his predecessor at the Bobcats’ helm, Coach Weber stated, “I am sorry to see Brian leave because he has so much to offer to Clarion wrestling. 

“He had to make a tough decision and his young family was first priority!  I just want to thank him for his dedication to the program and hopefully he can be back to the program soon.” 

There are some hurdles to overcome this wrestling season. “We only have six or seven wrestlers that finished the season from last season so it will be a rebuilding year for us. 

“The combination of Covid and me getting hired two weeks ago, has put us behind in recruiting.  We are having trouble retaining some wrestlers due to fear of the disease but I will remain optimistic.

“I am praying this disease will run its course and disappear soon, so our wrestlers can come back without fear of infection.”  

The program, that has been a four team co-op for the last several years, has included Clarion Area, North Clarion, Clarion-Limestone and Keystone. A fifth school, Union joins this season.

And though it is now a five team co-op, there are some obstacles, among them the lack of emphasis the schools place on the sport, as well as, the public needing to the many positives that wrestling delivers.

“Even though we have five schools in the co-op, wrestling is not a first tier sport for these schools. 

“One of my responsibilities, for this coming year is to educate the public about the benefits of wrestling. Wrestling builds character, teaches kids how to overcome obstacles, how to handle their emotions, respect authority, the importance of being a good teammate, and that success has to be earned through hard work and determination.

“Wrestling also helps boys and girls—and young men and women—develop off the mat, notably in social situations.  I would not be where I am today without wrestling in high school.”  

Because of Covid guidelines Coach Weber is able to work with a limited number of wrestlers. He said, “Right now I am only permitted to practice with Clarion wrestlers since our students are still going to school physically.”

Coach Weber did mention several, who have been able to see mat time. “Cutter Boggess will be the cornerstone of our wrestling program this year.  He has both the physical and mental toughness it takes to go to States. We need to find his go to moves and find a good pace of wrestling that fits him.  Also, I’m excited to have Breckin and Ashton Rex.  Both are physically gifted and can make some noise by the end of the year.”  

And as for those working with the Junior High wrestlers, Coach Weber stated, “Braun Gourley will be the head coach for our Junior High group. Brodi Zacherl and Alex Struble will be helping out at that level. Braun was a wrestler/graduate of Clarion Area and is one of the leaders for M and B Services / M and B Redi-Mix.  I feel very lucky to have Braun step up to take that role.  A good Junior High coach is vital to the success of your program.    

Coach Weber mentioned the support he gets at home. “I want to thank my wife Krista for allowing me to live my dreams as a high school coach.  She endured many years (26) of me coaching 4-5 different sports at all levels!  The rest of my family includes my three sons (Adrian, Frank, and Hayden) and my wife’s favorite, our dog, Gemma!”

Anyone interested in wrestling or have questions about it, are asked to please contact any of those listed below:

9th-12 grade – Lee Weber – 814-319-2926

7th-8th grade – Braun Gourley – 814-221-9614

2nd-6th grade – David Smail – 814-229-1268

(Congratulations to Coach Weber on becoming the new Bobcat Head Coach!!!!)