Lack of interest takes down McGann-Mercy’s wrestling program

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Matt Stetler, below, is one of three seniors who will not get to wrestle for Bishop McGann-Mercy this season.

The Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School wrestling program has been dumped.

The school’s athletic director, Paula Nickerson, recently informed the Monarchs’ longtime coach, Jeff Gatz, that the program has been dropped after only five wrestlers showed an interest in the program.

“This was not a monetary issue,” Nickerson said. “Section XI has a minimum number of wrestlers [six] you have to have on the team and we did not have enough interest.”

McGann-Mercy did not win a match last season, going 0-9 overall and in Suffolk County League VII.

Gatz, who has coached the Monarchs for the past 13 seasons, said he was “disappointed” with the decision.

McGann-Mercy has historically had a difficult time putting enough wrestlers on the mat to have a competitive team.

“We’ve always had between six and 12 wrestlers,” Gatz said. “I felt we could have fielded enough weight classes, but I have no say in this.”

Gatz said he is especially disappointed for his three seniors — Matt Stetler (125 pounds), Ryan Heimroth (152) and Matt Delandro (161).

“These are three kids that were supposed to place this year,” Gatz said. “The parents are upset.”

Nickerson said she took a survey and there was more interest in the newly added boys winter track program than in wrestling. She said, “We didn’t expect this.”

Gatz said it would be difficult to bring the wrestling program back in the future.

“It will be hard to get this reinstated,” he said. “With no program, it is hard to attract kids. If we do get reinstated, we start back at the junior varsity level for a year, then move up to varsity. Right now, we’re a little upset.”