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Muncy hires Vollman as new wrestling coach

This winter will be a new start for Muncy in multiple facets. For the first time, it has its own wrestling room in which it can practice whenever it would like. It will also have a new coach at the helm as Brian Vollman was hired at Monday’s school board meeting.

Vollman replaces Royce Eyer who compiled a 41-9 record as the Indians’ coach over the last two seasons. Eyer was recently hired as an assistant coach at Lycoming College.

“I’ve been interested in the past, but the cards just weren’t dealt at the right time,” Vollman said. “But I enjoy this sport too much to not have applied.”

Vollman has been coaching in the Muncy program, at the elementary, junior high and varsity levels for the last eight years. He’s been an assistant under both Eyer and previous Muncy coach Denny Harer.

He inherits a team which finished fourth at last year’s District 4 Duals and qualified four wrestlers for the state tournament. But he also inherits a team which has lost nearly 700 career wins worth wrestlers over the last two seasons ? Mario Barberio, Jacob Blair, Christian Good, Coleman Good, Mike Kustanbauter and Cael Hembury.

But the cupboard is far from bare for Vollman. His son, Bryce, returns and is a two-time state qualifier who picked up his 100th career win in Hershey in March. Scott Johnson returns for his sophomore season after posting 41 wins, winning a district title and qualifying for states as a freshman. And 2019 state qualifiers Ethan Gush and Ty Nixon return as well.

Nixon is returning after missing his sophomore season with a torn ACL which he suffered during football preseason. Nixon has been working out and said he is 100%.

Those four state qualifiers combined with district sixth-place finishers Tristen Ditzler and Bailey Hadzinikolov and district qualifier Chase Crawley give the Indians a strong core of wrestlers to work with.

“We definitely have some holes to fill that we lost from last year, but there’s still four guys coming back who have been to the state tournament,” Vollman said. “We’ll get Nixon back in the lineup and there’s some younger guys who I think will step up as they’re finally starting to mature.”

Vollman’s hiring brings some stability to the program. Although he’s the program’s third coach in the last four years, he’s been around the team’s wrestlers for nearly a decade.

His goal is to help the Indians find the podium in Hershey. Even though Muncy qualified five wrestlers for state in 2019 and four more in 2020, none of them reached the podium, ending Muncy’s run of 12 consecutive seasons with a state placewinner. That streak was tied with Benton for the longest active streak in District 4 with a state placewinner.

“Personally, I think we just kind of fell into a comfortability spot there,” Vollman said. “We gotta push a lot harder and be on each other a lot harder in the room. There’s a couple things I’ll change in the practice room to be on them a little more. They may not like it, but I’ve coached them all in junior high, so they have an idea of what’s coming.”

Vollman said he’s been working on putting together his coaching staff and has been in contact with longtime assistant Ron Hembury, but he doesn’t have his final staff put together yet. But knowing he has a new wrestling room, which was part of Muncy’s multi-million dollar upgrades to the school, is enough to get Vollman excited.

The Earl Poust Wrestling Room gives Muncy its first full-time wrestling facility.

“It’s a beautiful facility,” Vollman said. “In years past we’d have to wait until elementary was out of school and then we’d have to roll the mats out to start and roll them back up at the end. It’s hard to go in and just have an open room practice where anyone can come in when you have to do that. I know the kids are looking forward to it.”

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