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Penns Valley's Shunk looks to keep climbing after record-breaking season

by on January 11, 2018 12:18 PM

SPRING MILLS — During the last wrestling season, Penns Valley’s then-sophomore 106-pound wrestler, Baylor Shunk, broke the school’s single-season wins record by recording 41 victories. Shunk's phenomenal season resulted in him earning the rank of third in the district and seventh in the state — the youngest Ram to ever place at the PIAA tournament. 

Over the course of the 2016-17 season, Shunk went 41-9. Stats-wise, he went 18-0 in falls, 2-0 in tech falls, 3-0 in forfeits, 7-1 in major decisions and 8-7 in decisions.

Heading into last season, he knew how hard he had worked and held high expectations for himself.

“I went in with plenty of confidence in myself and I believed in myself because I knew I had put a lot of work into the sport,” said Shunk.

“Now that I was a full 106-pounder, I knew I could use those skills I learned to take control in the matches I did wrestle.”

Now a junior, he is still looking ever forward.

“(Coming off such a dominant season) I have to use it as motivation,” said Shunk. “I think about that and I think, ‘OK, I took seventh in the state and I had 41 wins, but my ultimate goal in my career is to win a Pennsylvania state title.’ I just keep that in mind and I make sure not to get overwhelmed by the past and focus on the future.”

Penns Valley wrestling head coach Joel Brinker is nothing but complimentary of Shunk.

“Baylor Shunk is a phenomenal wrestler, but he’s even a better person,” said Brinker. “He’s just such a great kid; he’s the kid you’d want your own child to grow up like. He represents himself very well, he’s an outstanding teammate, he’s very supportive of his teammates and a great human being in general.

“You want nothing but the best for the kid, and we’re proud that he represents Penns Valley wrestling.”

To maintain this level of competition at his weight class takes year-long commitment, something that Brinker sees in Shunk.

“When you’re hitting that many wins, it’s just a credit to what you’re putting in to your craft,” said Brinker. “He’s put it in since the time he’s been in elementary, and he goes to all the local training opportunity sites around the area and the region. He commits year-round to it."

Shunk also has complimentary feelings for his coach and the Penns Valley program. 

“Some people find wrestling to be hard, and I do believe it’s a tough sport,” said Shunk. “But when you have a coach that believes in you, and is confident in you, and can share all of his knowledge with you to make you the best wrestler you can be, it makes the sport a lot of fun.”

When he’s not wrestling himself, Shunk spends time volunteering and helping teach an elementary youth wrestling program.

“Whenever I don’t have a match or have to get weight off, I’m always in the room helping the younger guys,” said Shunk. “I’m always trying to share my knowledge and grow the world of wrestling and make it as enjoyable as I can for everybody else.”

Looking at the rest of the season, Shunk  has one main goal on his mind.

“I’m honestly just trying to do my best,” said Shunk. “If I get to 41 wins again or I surpass it, that’s great, but ultimately I’m just trying to improve from last year and get higher on that state podium. I want to win it this year, so I’m just focusing on all the little things that can help me achieve all my goals.”

As for the Penns Valley team, Shunk also has high expectations.

“Overall, as a team and as individuals, we’re working super hard,” said Shunk. “We have a lot of new guys this year and I think they’re all putting forth great effort. Our team is growing, that’s for sure. We’re definitely better than we were at the beginning of this season.
“I don’t think we have any limits. I think we can continue to improve and eventually prosper in the end.”


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