Mark Gillham is a first-year varsity head coach, but that simply is a technicality.
Gillham has been a part of the Newark Catholic program for more than a decade. It has been a seamless transition, taking over the reigns from Jason Boucher.
“It was perfect timing,” said Gillham, who has five freshmen out of his 11 total wrestlers.
“It is my dream job. I have always wanted to coach at Newark Catholic. It has given me so much, and I wanted to make sure I gave back to it.”
Gillham was a three-time district qualifier for the Green Wave during the early 2000s. He has been a junior high coach and varsity assistant at various points since.
The senior leadership he inherits is strong despite having only three. Caleb Ohl (126) — a two-time state qualifier — placed fifth at 113 pounds in March, and Evan Hansel (138) has one state appearance under his belt.
Cameron DeBevoise (220) could join them. He was undersized as a defensive end in football, but he is as strong as an ox.
“I have seen a great deal of ability, and I have seen (DeBevoise) improve consistently every year that he has been around the program,” Gillham said. “He has made leaps and bounds this year again.”
Getting a good test in practice each day from DeBevoise is sophomore Nate McNabb (195). McNabb suffered through the definition of growing pains in 2012-13, finishing at 0-22.
McNabb already has shown his perseverance. He worked hard in the offseason and placed third in a competitive invitational at Highland.
“It is a completely different atmosphere when you get into those higher weights,” Gillham said. “Freshmen and sophomores can struggle just because you run into guys that have a lot more experience and just physically are stronger, faster and more developed.”