Lazor keeps Chestnut Ridge on successful path

Mirror wrestling coach of the year

Photo for the Mirror by Tami Knopsnyder Greg Lazor is the Mirror Coach of the Year for the fourth time.

Chestnut Ridge’s Greg Lazor has only been coaching at Chestnut Ridge for nine years, but he’s led the Lions to 171 wins, six straight District 5 Tournament titles and five straight District 5 Duals crowns.

The coaching honors have started to pile up too.

Lazor has been voted the District 5 Coach of the Year six straight years and was the 2013 PIAA Coach of the Year. Lazor has been named the Mirror Coach of the Year for the fourth time in the last six years.

“It’s always an exciting time being recognized for all of the effort that the community, assistant coaches and wrestlers put into it,” Lazor said. “It’s a great honor to be recognized that the program is doing as well as it has.”

“He deserves it,” senior 160-pounder Morgan Deremer said. “Before, just beating Bedford or beating North Star was a big deal, but now if we’re not in Hershey winning matches (in the PIAA Duals), it’s a disappointment. So, he really flipped the program, and I’m thankful to have him as our head coach. He’s won a lot of awards since he’s been here, and he deserves every single one of them.”

Lazor has turned Ridge into a state power. And in the process, has created a dynasty in District 5, thus netting him the district’s top coach for the last six years. Where does he put all of the plaques?

“We have a little wrestling mat in the basement, a little workout facility, and we put them up in there,” Lazor said. “It’s kind of our little wrestling dungeon. Yeah, we’re getting quite a few of them on the wall, so it’s exciting. It’s a real privilege to be a part of a program that gets recognized in that caliber of success.”

Wait, he has a wrestling mat in his basement?

“Yeah, just a little one,” he said. “Just enough for two guys to work. The guys will come over to get some one-on-one to work on some mistakes. A lot of the younger guys come over to get help, and my kids use it.”

When 145-pounder Justin McCoy won his state title a couple weeks ago, he became Lazor’s first state champ in Pennsylvania. He had a state champ when he was coaching in North Carolina.

“Getting my first state champ in Pennsylvania as a head coach is very exciting,” Lazor said, “because it’s something that is very rare and hard to do. To become a state champ, it’s takes an extraordinary amount of work, and he obviously has done that over the years, continued to work and get better. I was extremely happy to be a small part of it.”

Lazor led the Lions to a 16-4 record, losing to state powers Reynolds and Brookville at the Ultimate Duals and then posting a 2-2 record at the PIAA Duals. While he had McCoy, state fourth-placer Jared McGill, Southwest Regional champ Dylan Williams and regional runner-up Deremer, his team wasn’t as experienced as his previous teams were.

“Going into the year, we knew we had some studs, but we also knew that we had some spots where we were very young,” Lazor said. “Some of those younger guys really progressed nicely and did some really good things.

“Having an experience level of such extremes makes it a little challenging in the room at times when you’re dealing with a small team. But they all worked well, helped each other out and continued to work. So, it worked out well. I’m excited to get those guys back with a little experience under their belt.”

Lazor will be losing Williams and Deremer to graduation, but all the rest of his starters are back. And Lazor is looking forward to seeing some of his current junior high wrestlers fill key spots next season.

“I’m really excited about our future,” Lazor said. “Next year, we’re going to have a nice bunch of guys coming up, a lot of really good wrestlers. They need to do some work to make that next step to be up into the great category, but they have that capability. I’m excited to see how much they’re willing to work and what they’re willing to sacrifice and dedicate themselves to.”

Lazor says his wrestlers will be doing offseason wrestling and going to wrestling camps. He will continue to coach, but he’ll branch out this summer.

“I used to do all of it, but my kids are getting old enough to be in Little League and softball, so I’m coaching a Little League team and a softball team,” he said. “And my little one is playing T-ball, so it makes it harder for me to go on the weekend trips like I used to, but we try to get someone there and do what we can.”