Chesney remembered as solid teammate
In a fabulous four-year wrestling career at Northern Bedford Area High School, Tyler Chesney won 119 matches, four District 5 championships, and took a third-place bronze medal as a senior in the PIAA Class 2A state tournament.
But Chesney, who passed away unexpectedly in his sleep recently at the age of 29, was known for so much more than his considerable accomplishments on the mat.
“The thing about Ty is that he was always trying to build his teammates’ spirits up,” said long-time Northern Bedford assistant wrestling coach Shawn Claar, who coached Chesney in each of his four varsity seasons. “It was never about beating somebody up in the (practice) room. It was always about making his teammates better.
“He was definitely a team leader,” Claar said of Chesney, who lost only 20 career matches and took third place at 125 pounds at states as a senior in the 2009 PIAA Class 2A tournament, after winning his fourth district title and finishing second in the Southwest AA Regional Tournament at that weight class. “Ty was always bringing other kids’ spirits up, building their (self) esteem. Everybody liked him.”
Both Claar and Northern Bedford head coach Brian Dutchcot recalled that Chesney, who was living and working in Ocean City, Md. at the time of his passing, made a much-appreciated stop in the Northern Bedford practice room about this time last year.
“I believe that it was around last Thanksgiving that Tyler actually came into one of our practices,” said Dutchcot, who was Chesney’s head coach at Northern Bedford from his sophomore through senior seasons. “He was back in the area and he stopped into our practice, worked out with the guys, gave them some pointers, and helped them out.
“I think it is great for one of our alumni to come back into the practice room like Tyler did and be inspirational to our younger kids,” Dutchcot added. “As a high school wrestler, he was always one of the last to leave our practice room. He was definitely a team leader.”
All the hard work paid off for Chesney in marked success at the high school level and an eventual collegiate wrestling career at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
“He definitely had a lot of talent, and he was very hard-working,” Dutchcot said. “You could tell that he loved the sport of wrestling and that he loved to compete against anybody from the local through state levels.”
Claar also applauded Chesney’s passion for wrestling, and his work ethic.
“He loved the sport,” Claar said. “Even after we had finished our practices, he’d always stay over, go over the things that he needed to clean up on, and then he would go to the Summit (Tennis and Athletic Club in Altoona) in the evening to get in that extra workout.”
Dutchcot pointed out that Chesney was technically sound in all facets of wrestling, but particularly strong on his feet.
“I would say thathis best position was probably neutral,” Dutchcot said. “He had a very nice low single (leg takedown maneuver), and he was great defensively. He could counter anybody’s shot, and he could score off his defense as well.
“On top, he did a nice job riding with a cross-wrist,” Dutchcot added. “He was just very technically sound in all three positions, but he was especially strong on his feet.”
Dutchcot, like Claar, was extremely saddened when he heard of Chesney’s unexpected passing.
“It was tough news to hear, sad news to hear,” Dutchcot said. “It’s difficult to hear of somebody so young passing like that.”
Claar said that the loss is being felt keenly throughout the Northern Bedford community.
“Ty was definitely one of the best I’ve ever coached, and he was not only a good wrestler, but a great guy all-around,” Claar said. “I know that he’s going to be missed. He was definitely a good person who would do anything for anybody. That’s just the type of guy that Ty was.”