For a coach who puts as much time and effort into his team as anyone, West Chester Henderson's Rob Beighley finally got his proper reward this winter.
On the final Saturday of the season, Beighley, dressed in a shirt and tie, sat in his corner on the main mat at the Giant Center in Hershey to watch his star sophomore, Killian Delaney, compete in the 113-pound Class 3A state finals.
It was the culminating moment of the season that saw Henderson finish top six at the District 1 Duals, top five at the Southeast Regional tournament, and send a school record four Warriors to the state tournament.
"I'm proud of the effort the kids put in," Beighley said. "The key to our culture here is summer wrestling makes March champions. What you put into it determines who you will be in March."
In his fifth year as the head man for the Warriors, Beighley saw Delaney become his first state medalist with a second place finish. With junior Luke Phayre (138 pounds) and freshman Sammy McMonagle (106) back as well, Henderson should be a mainstay in Hershey.
Beighley, who wrestled for Kiski Area in the late eighties and early nineties, knows nothing is guaranteed, which means his offseasons are just as important. From April on, Beighley runs a wrestling club called Defiant, where wrestlers without the youth resumes, like senior state qualifier Ray Martin, become household names.
"The three qualifiers who are coming back, I just tell them not to listen to everyone saying you're going to be a state champ or you'll be back next year," Beighley said. "You can't think about that. Just get better. If everyone gets better, everything will take care of itself."
Henderson finished 15-4 as a team and reached the consolation semifinals at district duals.